Here are some thoughts on the above topic from a buddy of mine. The guy’s name is Steve Springer.

“If baseball is 90% mental, why do we work on it less than 10% of the time?”
“You cannot control getting a hit, but you can control hitting the ball hard!”

Who Is This Guy?
Springer isn’t just another “dry jock” (a not-so-flattering term given to many broadcasters who never played the game).

No, this guy logged over 7,000 pro AB’s with 11 years in AAA ball alone! He is now a very successful agent for some future Big League Impact Players!

Ok, Lets Get To The Point!
Spring also said, and I paraphrase, “The majority of hitters think fastball, curve, slider, change-up on 0-0 counts.”

In My Opinion… This Is Plain Crazy!
Maybe some younger athletes can get by on raw ability with this mindset, but sooner than later the game eliminates us all. Some of the biggest reasons are that they can no longer hit quality pitching in their age group.

NOTE: For more information on this last statement, you may want to read an article I wrote on the topic entitled, “The Game Eliminates Us All.”

Personally, I think much of this is avoidable… it just takes having a plan!
Spring went on to say that “when you are facing Dwight Gooden in his prime, you saw 95 mph followed by the hammer (the curveball), YOU BETTER PICK ONE BECAUSE YOU AREN’T ADJUSTING TO ANYTHING! Doesn’t this make sense?

Ok, Lets Get To Some Real Solutions!
We Must Have A Simplified Plan!
Ok, how?

Well for starters, Watch The Pitcher!
He’s going to show you and tell you what you are going to get… if you will really watch him!

It’s not about what you want!
(which at best is about the only plan most youth hitters seem to have.)

It’s about what am I going to get!
And how do you know if you don’t watch the game?

From the dugout, when the pitcher warms up, whenever and wherever you can! The pitcher is going to tell you what you are going to get. They live on patterns. Pitchers like to be comfortable and hate it when they are not!

Now, your job is what Ted Williams (perhaps the greatest hitting coach of all time) says is of greatest importance…FIND A PITCH TO HIT!

And How Do You Find A Pitch To Hit?
You Watch The Game!

1- Consider that pitchers are taught to get ahead. This means strike one is their aim. What is the number one pitch that a batter is likely to see 0-0? Yep, a fastball. In much of youth baseball, chances are that if it is a strike, it will pierce the fat of the plate.

You walk into the box looking to drive this pitch… swinging hard but controlled! If you can’t drive it and hit it hard somewhere, you will leave it! They give you three strikes anyway, right?

2A- When and if you are struggling and/or experimenting under fire Let’s make things simple; the hitter is to sit on fastball-only! Repeat: fastball only until 2 strikes… THEN YOU BATTLE!

The more pitches you make him throw, the more likely he throws the mistake. And you will crush the mistake, right?

No matter how the curve or off-speed hangs, you will sit fastball… until 2 strikes!
No matter who yells from the dugout or the stands “What are you waiting for?” you stick with your plan! You have your plan and YOU ARE A REAL & DANGEROUS HITTER! They are fans.

2B- When and if you are going great (and if breaking balls or off-speed is a reality for your age group) you will go to the plate looking (PICK ONE) fastball or off-speed (either his breaking ball or his change).

And how do you know which to sit on (look for?)

Ok, you are watching the pitcher, he is telling you what he is going to throw you. We have established that all pitchers throw fastballs and let’s face it, at youth levels I doubt you will find guys who can throw 3 hooks for strikes in a row anyway… so let’s strongly consider sitting on the fastball until 2 strikes, no matter how well you are presently playing… then we will battle!


The curveball, off-speed note – I am absolutely not advising that you do not sit off-speed and only attack fastballs. If you are watching the game, you can and will make a correct decision!

So what did we just do?
1- You now have a plan!
2- You now have a simple plan requiring little thinking!
3- You now know to swing controlled and hard… at fastballs (your plan)!

Consider investing in your future hitting successes!
Purchase a simple 35 minute audio CD called Quality At Bats, by Steve Springer. Of course it is available on our site.
Listen to it 3 times within 10 days and you will understand even further. I know players who have had an immediate and profound impact on how they approach hitting!

Remember, as my buddy Spring says, and I paraphrase…
“You cannot control getting a hit, but you can control hitting the ball hard!”

Now sting something, will ya!

Coach John PeterCoach John Peter, presently aged 50 something, is the publisher of Baseball and a lifelong student of the greatest game on earth. After being asked to find a more suitable occupation at age 26, many seasons after donning his first uni at age 7, he has transcended his skills into the much more important role of coach and especially as an instructor. He prides himself as never having charged any player or coach for a single lesson! “This game has been wonderful to my family and has afforded me a lifestyle to instruct any local player or coach who seeks my knowledge without charge!”