In order for you to be a great hitter, I think it is extremely important for you to understand what your main goal should be at the plate.
What’s the most important thing you need to do in order to see hitting success on a consistent basis? Think about it for a minute.
Is it always having perfect swing mechanics? Is it understanding different counts and guessing what pitch will come out of the hand? Mental approach? What about having a plan? Hand-eye coordination?
None of those answers are really incorrect, because they all contribute to being a hitter. But none of them can even compare with the most important aspect of hitting: arriving on time and on plane with the pitch.
This should be a hitter’s main goal, from batting practice all the way to the bottom of the 9th in the World Series. If you can consistently arrive on time and on plane, I guarantee you’ll be a great hitter.
So what exactly is “on time and on plane?”
Timing is critical when you talk about hitting a baseball. The goal of all hitters is to hit the ball hard on the barrel of the bat, and hopefully be able to do it consistently. You need to understand that mechanics are not everything.
Sure, they’re important and I recommend that every player grooves his swing until he can be fundamentally sound with each swing, but they’re not everything. If you arrive on time with the pitch, you can fix many mechanical issues. However, if you are not on time, you can cause mechanical issues to occur.
Arriving “on plane” is a pretty straightforward term. It means that you must have your bat on the same angle as the ball being thrown. The plane of the pitch is different with each pitcher and type of pitch he is throwing.
Location of the pitch also changes the plane of the ball, thus it should change your swing path as well. A left-handed pitcher will have a different release point than a right-handed pitcher and so on. It changes every game, every at-bat, and every pitch. You better be able to adjust.
This all sounds easy enough, but being able to arrive consistently on plane and on time is what separates decent hitters from great ones. It’s also what makes hitting so difficult to do!
Always remember that each element of the swing is very important for your success. I’m not suggesting that arriving on time, on plane is the only thing that’s important, but I do believe it is the MOST important.
Think of your swing as the human body. Isn’t it weird how if you break a bone, even something small like a finger, your entire body feels different? You’re completely out of whack because all of your body isn’t functioning together like it normally does.
It’s the same with hitting and your swing. If you don’t have any hand-eye coordination, you can’t hit. If your plan and mental approach sucks, you won’t be able to hit. Each element works together, and they must all come together for you to see results at the plate.
Keep working on grooving your swing and always remember that your main goal as a hitter should be to arrive on time with the pitch and on plane with it!