Thursday, December 31, 2009

Baseball is Not a Game of Perfection

By Andy Pohl

A good batting average in the major leagues is 300 or above. What does it mean to hit 300? To hit 300, a hitter gets a hit 3 out of every 10 at bats. That also means a 300 hitter makes 7 outs for every 10 at bats. In other words, a 300 hitter fails more than twice the amount he is successful.

In what other sport can we consider 30 percent successful? If a quarterback completes 30 percent of his passes, he will not be starting. A basketball player shooting 30 percent from the foul line may not make it in the NBA. A goalie who stops only 30 percent of the goals will be looking for a new position. A coach who wins only 30 percent of his games will be fired. However, in hitting, 30 percent, or.300, is considered successful.

Successful hitting coaches need to understand that every hitter will fail more than they succeed, and they need to consistently relay this message to their players. Once a player realizes this reality, hitting will become much easier for them.

Good hitting coaches make sure that their players do not become agitated from making outs. Often times, we see players have a bad at bat, a strikeout with the bases loaded or a pop up in the infield, followed with a few errors in the field because they were still upset about their poor performance at the plate. As a coach, you cannot let your hitters compound one mistake with another. After a bad at bat, calmly sit down and analyze the previous at bat with your players. What did the pitcher throw in certain counts? Do your players feel weak today in a certain location? What is the plan next time? Coaches who ask these questions are now taking a proactive approach towards helping their players become successful the next time around.

Instead of analyzing hits and batting average, focus on Quality at Bats instead. A quality at bat could be ground ball to the right side that moves a runner over, a sacrifice bunt, a walk, a hard hit line drive to the shortstop, or even a strikeout in which the hitter fouled off numerous pitches just to stay alive. Focusing on quality at bat instead of batting average conveys a more positive message - that is, just because an out was made does not necessarily it was an unsuccessful at bat.

Andy Pohl - Co-Founder, DNA Sports

DNA Sports specializes in personalized baseball and softball skill programs, college recruiting education and preparation, and coaching clinics. Learn more:

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick