I'm sure a golf expert would give me a lot of reasons why I'm a bad golfer. But there's one reason in particular that's also a reason why baseball players struggle. The reason I'm so bad at golf is because I look to see where I hit the ball before I actually hit it. As a result of trying to look where the ball goes, I pull my head off the ball causing me to mis-hit it. This concept is the same concept that affects young hitters, but it goes way past just pulling off the ball; it's a mental adjustment that needs to be made rather than a physical adjustment.
Although my poor golf game is frustrating, it's allowed me to understand how I need to think as a hitter. When hitting the golf ball, I try controlling where the ball goes instead of controlling how to get my club to the ball. No golfer or hitter can control the ball after it's hit, so there's no reason to worry about it. You're job as a hitter is to control what you can control, which is getting your body in a position that gives you the best chance to hit the ball hard. Your focus should be "what can I do to square up the baseball?" and not "where I can hit it?" This is the reason I prefer hitting batting practice in a cage rather than on the field. Too many kids get hung up on how far they can hit a baseball and they don't focus on things that can make them better. The advantage to hitting in a cage is that the only result you get is where the ball hits the bat. Which in a game is the only result you should worry about.
Hitting a baseball is known as one of the hardest things to do in sports. There are so many factors that affect if you're going to get a hit or not, like defence, weather, umpires, field dimensions and many more. The one thing all these factors have in common is that you have no control over any of them. What you do have control of is the split second you have from when the ball is released from the pitchers hand until it hits your bat. This means that you need to make the most out of that split second you have where the game is in your control and leave the rest to the game of baseball.
What you can take from my bad golf game is that you should never worry about your results during the game. Don't let your technique suffer because you're worried about what's going to come from it. Your mentality as a hitter should be to get to the baseball as efficiently as possible and to let the results take care of themselves.
I hope this might help a hitter or two out there when they're hitting a similar rough patch. Good luck!
Kevin Hussey BSc, MSc
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