KEY TO A LEVEL APPROACH|
I define a quality at bat as:
1. The batter goes to the plate with a plan. He should know what
pitch he can hit with expectation of having the highest degree of success. Ted
Williams knew that he hit .135 on back door sliders down and away but over .500
on fast balls belt high, down the middle. We would never have heard of Ted
Williams if he swung at many down and away sliders!
2. The batter swings only at high success expectation pitches
early in the count. For most young hitters that means not swinging at breaking
balls early in the count. With no strikes he will swing at fast balls "zoned"
say middle- in and thigh to waist high. The batter's hitting zone as opposed to
strike zone is not static but changes with each count. Great "hitter's counts"
are 2-0 and 3-1. The pitcher must challenge the batter and the odds of him
getting a pitch that he can expect to hit with a high degree of success are much
higher. Undisciplined hitters often never get to 3-1 because they won't lay off
that pitch that is in the strike zone but not a quality hitter's pitch. They all
ready made an out not because they aren't a good hitter but because they weren't
disciplined enough to wait for a good pitch.
3. Several other good thing occur because a hitter is
disciplined. The pitcher must throw more pitches. The batter "sees" more of the
pitcher's stuff. The pitcher will tire sooner and when he tires he will make
more mistakes and then he is more hittable.
4. The batter must take pitches to ever draw a walk. All walks
are "quality at bats".
5. A strike out can be a quality at bat! If the batter makes the
pitcher throw an inordinate number of pitches, he has helped his team much more
than the hitter that swung at the first pitch and made an out.
It is vital that a hitter learn that the only thing he has
control of at the plate is at which particular pitch he chooses to swing.!!! If
he swings at a quality pitch, hits the ball sharply, and it is caught by a
fielder, he has had a quality at bat!!!! If he can at the end of a game know he
had 3 of 4 quality AB's, even if he was 0 fer, he must realize he had a good
game at the plate. A byproduct of this emphasis on quality AB's will be that he
will find not only his BA rising but his slugging pct. as he gets more ball he
can drive His mental well being will improve and if the whole team adopts this
approach, they will WIN more games.