Hitting a baseball hard is an extremely difficult task. To fully maximize our potential as ballplayers we first need to understand this fact. Even in batting practice or short work you will not hit every ball perfectly, that is a promise! The most important thing to realize is managing personal expectations as to not let the frustration of such a difficult task take over the objective. If these emotions continue to dominate it will only hinder any progress you are trying to make. Remember, the key to productive practice is that we need to be able to draw on those same relaxed concentration levels displayed in practice during game situations. It will be very important that you continue to work on developing the proper disciplines in a relaxed, yet extremely focused state.
Hitters that continually have success in game situations develop trust through their preparation. Practicing the mental focus and discipline required to sustain success must be done in all hitting drill work. Remember, it can be difficult to take more than 8-10 swings in a row without losing focus. It is important to give yourself the proper rest both mentally and physically to repeat the swing in a relaxed yet efficient manor. If you are a player that feels the need to take longer rounds of 20 or more swings you have to ask the question: When in a game will I ever take that many swings in a row? You do not have to take 200 swings per hitting session to make it effective.
Practicing with a purpose means practicing with intent, a similar intent that you will have during a game. Ask yourself, “What am I trying to accomplish?” Put yourself in those situations during your batting practice and cage work. If you are trying to become a better hitter with two strikes, moving runners or hitting with runners in scoring position, create situations in your work to practice those tasks. Practice becoming relaxed and see the situation. If you can create this type of imagery in your work, you can prepare to perform during games. And it’s not just during your batting practice but can be applied to all areas of your short work so that when you approach the game you have already “been there” hundreds of times before. Remember, “clutch” players are not players who play better in crucial situations, rather they’re players who play the same in all situations. They don’t let the moment become too large and are consistently “locked in”. Imagine the intense focus you would have playing in front of dozens of coaches and scouts.
A truly great player practices with that same concentration and effort when no one is watching.
Productive practice comes with purpose. If you do get to a point where you feel that you are losing concentration during a particular drill, stop, gather yourself or take a break. If you happen to feel run down on a particular day, reduce the number of swings you take on that day. Always remember quality over quantity. You have to remember that you will not feel 100% each and every day but the consistent player has the ability to be mentally tough and competitive to still succeed and be competitive under those conditions.