Several weeks ago, a reporter from The Wall Street Journal contacted me about the causes and cures for major league hitting slumps. This interview caused me to think a bit more about the cases of hitting slumps that I have seen over the years.
The baseball season is underway now and some of the races are getting interesting. During every baseball season, some players will fall into protracted hitting slumps.
This year is no different.
Mark Teixeira, of The New York Yankees, a great hitter with lots of runs batted in and a fine batting average is in a slump right now. David Wright, of the New York Mets recently got out of his hitting slump.
Over the years, baseball players of all levels struggling with hitting slumps have come to talk to me. Slumps can frustrate and impact major league players, college players, high school players and little league players.
Batting slumps can also create stress for parents, owners, athletic directors and
owners of teams. They can shatter a player’s confidence, especially if they last for a long period of time.
The causes of hitting slumps are not always mechanical. In fact, many players with fine swings go through bad periods of hitting. Some of these players are great in the cage but terrible when they face live pitching in game situations.
Last year, I gave a lecture to The New Jersey Pilots Baseball Team. I outlined the
causes of most slumps in that talk. It is very important for players, coaches and parents to understand the issues which can contribute to poor hitting by talented baseball players.
With younger players, interpersonal conflicts with coaches, parents or teammates frequently contribute to hitting slumps.
Here is a list of some of the major causes of batting downturns that I have seen over the years.
1. Being hit by a pitch
2. A physical injury
3. Choking or performing poorly in a big game or in series of key situations
4. Loss of confidence
5. Loss of focus
6. Failure to keep good records on pitchers
7. A breakdown in mechanics
8. An unwarranted change in mechanics
9. Feeling criticized by a coach
10. Feeling criticized by a parent
12. Swinging at pitches out of the strike zone
13. Loss of patience
14. Alcohol abuse or substance abuse
15. Failure to recognize and understand your strengths and limitations
16. Inability to relax at the plate
17. Little or no training in the mental aspects of hitting
18. Lack of a clear approach when a batter steps up to the plate
19. Anxiety in the dugout, on deck circle or batter’s box
20. A vision problem which needs correction
21. An abundance of self-criticism
22. Perfectionism and unwillingness to try a new approach
23. Conflicting advice from coaches
24. Difficulty adjusting to play at a higher level
25. Stress, conflicts, family problems and personal problems off the field
Solutions to hitting slumps are sometimes simple. Sometimes, I work closely with hitting coaches and the player to solve the problem. Many solutions are available at
www.StayInTheZone.com and in my baseball hitting program.
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is the author of 101 Ways To Break Out Of A Hitting Slump.
He is also the Founder of www.StayInTheZone.com. He can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org and at 888 580 ZONE.