This time of the year I counsel lots of baseball players. Usually, they come to
see me about problems with hitting or pitching. Occasionally, I do get calls from
baseball players who report “choking” when they have to make an accurate
throw. I have seen this problem with catchers and with infielders.
Recently, however, I discovered a rather interesting and very useful
statistic pertaining to hitting. Apparently, many fine hitters get a high numbers of
pitches when they come up to the plate. One fine American League hitter averages
more than nine pitches every time he steps into the batter’s box.
Why is this statistic important?
A hitter who is getting a lot of pitches is tenacious. In addition, he knows how
to bat in an intelligent manner when he is ahead or behind in the count. He works
the pitcher effectively, because he knows the strike zone very well. A hitter who
knows how to be patient and selective and who knows how to foul off a lot of
balls tends to be a very tough out.
Also, a batter who sees a lot of pitches from the same pitcher begins to
get familiar with pitchers stuff. They can start to read the pitches and
anticipate the break, action and movement of the ball with greater confidence.
Once he batter zones in the pitchers speed, tempo and ball movement, he can be
a very dangerous hitter.
Furthermore, a hitter who has these kinds of psychological and physical skills
is well-suited to batting in the leadoff position, since he is likely to get on base
often and tire a lot of pitches out.
I encourage a lot of the baseball hitters I work with to read Ted Williams’
book on hitting. Ted Williams recognized the importance of knowing the strike
zone very well.
In short, if you want to bat in the zone, you need to know strike zone.
You also need to know what kind of pitch and which pitch location are your
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D, is a Psychotherapist and the Founder of www.StayInTheZone.com
He can be reached at 888 580-ZONE