How to hit vs How to swing
With organized baseball the way it is today – AAU, baseball academies, private instructors, showcases, etc. – there are now tons of kids who can provide a thorough explanation of how to swing a bat. Unfortunately, knowing how to swing is not the same as knowing how to hit.
Knowing how to swing basically means knowing the correct mechanics – where the hands go, how to stride, the bat path, and so forth. Knowing how to hit means understanding things like how the pitcher is trying to get you out, knowing what type of hitter you are and what type you are not, knowing the situation (maybe a runner on third with less than two outs) and waiting for the right pitch (a pitch up in the zone that you can drive to the outfield for at least a sac fly), attacking the baseball, etc.
If I had to pick one or the other, I’d always take the player who can hit. An unorthodox swing can be very successful (ever watch Hunter Pence swing?) if the guy knows how to hit. On the other hand, a beautiful swing means nothing if the player cannot hit.
My concern for kids in America today is that the explosion of organized ball is producing lots of players with pretty swings but not nearly enough hitters.
Tomorrow’s post: Teach the wall how to play baseball