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Hitter on Schedule for Greatness
How do you know your on schedule for greatness as a hitter?
This is quite the question that only a ball player who looks forward to a bright future would ask and I would ask all of you who read this article to really contemplate this question. Obviously a natural ball player who is super gifted has a better chance than the rest; but even the super gifted hit cross roads that put their career to a screeching halt. So in this article I am going to give you the ultimate guide to give you a clue if you are on track from 10 years old on up.
I know there are many parents who think that there kid is going to have the chance to make it far in baseball. If you do think that I have to give you a reality check and then a plan how to get past the roadblocks if you really believe your son is good enough.
First you have to be one of the better hitters in your team as soon as you start your travel baseball career. Hitting between .400-550 would be a good number to start with as far as batting average is concerned. You should be able to hold that number from 10-12 years old for the most part. Once you begin 13-14 years old it gets tricky because most hitters batting and slugging percentages fall by about at least 50 points because off speed pitches are introduced and the field gets bigger.
So if you are the good travel ball kid and this is happening to you then you are in the middle of a downward decline and you should be concerned. The hitter who can maintain dominance and still slug at this age has the real gifts or learned immaculate hitting mechanics and it is holding.
Then you move up to your varsity high school career where the average hitter hits about .270 with the BB Core bats. If you are one of those guys then most likely your career is headed for a end after high school.
I am one to think though that if you can play varsity high school than you can find a college to play at, so there is still hope. The point is the downward decline as a hitter keeps declining as you move up and most high school hitters need to be able to hit the 85 mph fastball and be able to at least deal with the off speed pitches. The hitter who slugs near .500-600 and hits near .400 at the high school level and did it at the travel ball level as well has a real potential career.
College is almost the same as high school to tell the truth. The average batting average is .270 with under a .370 slug. The division 3 and junior college levels actually hit a bit better because the pitching is about the same as high school baseball. Good hitters at these levels should be around .350 at least with a near .500-600 slug if they want a shot at the minors or a division 1 teams.
Division 1 and 2 hitters hit around .270 like the high school kids with a low slugging average. The pitching is better and whatever swing they used in high school either no longer works or the college coaches messed with it too much. Either way, most D-1 hitters go from all state or all area in high school to just a regular Joe on a D-1 team.
Any weakness in a swing gets exploited as you go up levels and that includes things you may learn that is deemed as misinformation.
Great college hitters are far and few between. The difference between them and everybody else is they have a powerful swing that is under control and they do not waste their time changing their swing on 2 strike approaches or situational hitting. If your a D-1 hitter and your not hitting close .330 with a .500-600 slugging percentage than if you get drafted your more than likely be the .250 hitter in the minors.
The key is, from travel to high school to college ball your batting and slugging should not fluctuate so much. Maybe you can get away with a 50 -75 point differential if you have always been a .400-450 hitter in travel and high school. Most hitters lose near 100 points as they climb the ladder and their career ends sooner than they want because of it.
Then there is the Minor Leagues where the league average is .250
with 2-3 homeruns. College hitters who get drafted usually hit a solid .290 - .350 with a high slug. Those numbers are down another 50 points in average in the Minors. Again, what is being taught in the Minors is worst than what is being taught at the college level and weaknesses again get exploited. The pitching is a bit better and the wood bat is even harder to hit with. You either have to be super athletic and man-strong to hit with a wood bat or your technique has to be unusually good.
This same pattern exist with Minor Leaguers who get a shot in the Majors. They usually hit around .270-330 in the Minors with 15-25 homeruns ( unless a speed guy) and when they get their shot they hit about .220-.250 in the bigs. Realistically. less than 10 percent of the Minor Leaguers that get their shot capitalize.
The point is there is a downward spiral from one level to the next. There is always going to be a negative differential in stats from one level to the next; but if you are a hitter that goes from the best hitter to just the average hitter at whatever next level your going to, it is cause for concern.
So what really is the problem?
The problem is not so much with the speed of the pitching at each level. Hitters can primarily get accustomed to the speed. It is the breaking and off speed pitches. Like we said the big hitting differential starts at 13 or 14 years old when the breaking ball is introduced and the field gets bigger. The contact hitters usually are the first ones to become average to below average because they cannot put the ball in the outfield consistently anymore. The guys who simply cannot hit off speed pitches start to get flushed out.
Most hitters change their swing when an off speed pitch is thrown and if they make contact it is usually not a hard hit ball. The question is, 'Can hitters overcome this problem with the the inability to hit off speed pitches?
Most of them cannot and their ability to become a good hitter is pretty much done at 13 or 14 years old because the off speed pitch really messes with the hitters balance and timing. This messing with the hitters confidence sometimes 3 times over. The secrets to learn how to hit a breaking ball are not known by 99 percent of the hitting coaches out there including professional instructors. As a matter of fact, most kids see professional instructors before the age of 13 or after and they still have problems dealing with off speed pitches. If it gets worse the higher you go, than you can conclude that the right information about hitting the off speed pitch is just not being delivered at any level including the pros.
The real conclusion is you have to hit the curve ball as well as you can hit the fastball as you move up the ladder. This is the sign of a great hitter because the off speed pitch is thrown between 40-60 percent of the time from high school to the pros.
The good news is that it can be learned and the curse of the downward spiral of the good travel ball hitter to the below average higher level hitter can be broken by learning this secret. The secrets contain exact sciences of how to stay back and keep your upper body relaxed as your bigger muscles in the lower body learn to do all the work.
If you learn how to keep your power swing on off-speed pitches without flinching, than that is a sign of total confidence in your swing. Hitters that can do this increase the quality of the swings per at bat over a whole season by more than 40-50 percent than the regular hitter. When this happens this means bigger numbers in slugging and batting average. It is that simple.
We call this ability for a hitter to do this a Moneyball Hitter. As a matter of fact, only about 1-2 percent of the hitters from high school on up have this ability. Moreover, 85 percent of hitters than do not have this ability, fall into the severe downward spiral of hitting after 13 or 14 and then get lost even worse as they move to another level.
Again the point is, if you are noticing that you are one of the 85-95 percent of hitters who are falling fast as you go up a level; or you go from a good hitter to an average or below average hitter as you move forward, than your missing out on the right information more than supersedes the thought of not having the ability or skill level.
The type of information is called the Moneyball Training Formula. This formula is time tested and is designed to help hitters raise their batting and slugging by 50 points on average because of the formulas ability to help hitters increase the quality of the power swings even with off speed pitches. Literally it has helped hitters who learn to not fall from grace as they move up the ladder. It also has has helped the hitters who recognized the fall off, and they have saved them self and their career by quickly learning it.
If you have made it this far in the article we know you are scratching your head with curiosity and wonder. Ask yourself as a hitter, "Where am I now and what direction do I seem to be going?"
If you do not like your answer, now you have a solution to your problem! Unless of course the little voice in your head tells you not to believe what you just read! We are all smarter than that though.