I've been struggling mightily with hitting. My guys have been hitting roughly .100 points lower than they should be. Puig at .189, Dozier at .177, Kiermaier barely scratching .220... it's happening with every batter, and I know it has nothing to do with my ability to hit. I knew it was just a matter of ditching my anxiety and feeling comfortable.
Actually, it was a matter of something else. What I discovered was one simple trick that I'm about to share with you. But before I do that... just kidding. I'll tell you now.
What I realized is that my defensiveness has been throwing off my timing. Until now, I've perceived the pitcher as my enemy, and he's trying to fool me however possible. This almost always resulted in me approaching at-bats in a stressed, timid manner.
Instead, try perceiving the pitcher as being on your team, as if he's trying to help you hit a home run. Imagine he's always trying to throw BP, tossing the ball to the heart of the plate. Often times, he fails and throws the ball somewhere else. Move on and focus on the next meatball. That's right, imagine every pitch is meant to be a BP meatball to be crushed into the stands. Expect the pitcher to help you, and express mild disappointment when they "fail" to throw a strike. Notice how your timing window greatly expands? Watch your anxiety go away, the sweat from your fingers vanish, and your timing become impeccable.
It's been 5 games, and I've tallied 42 hits compared to 8 in my previous 10 games. I'm smashing gappers, taking more walks, and making solid contact on outs rather than embarrassing myself with swings that get Vasgersian's nauseating jabs going.
Seeing the pitcher as my friend has completely revolutionized hitting for me. I strike out gracefully now. I tip my cap to the pitcher when I swing horribly at a changeup because now I feel like I was legitimately fooled. You know how in tennis they have unforced errors? Those are what drive me nuts in The Show. I hate being "very early" on a fastball. That's just stupid.
This isn't just affecting The Show. I view hitting as a form of meditation - a way for me to relax and train my brain to focus better. It's meant to help relieve stress and keep my mind sharp, but what's the point when all I'm getting is more stress and frustration? Fortunately, all of that is in the past.
I wonder - how would life be different if we viewed other situations as friendly as opposed to combative? When arguing, maybe we should view the other person as our friend instead of someone to prove wrong? When playing sports, maybe it would help to view the opposing team as having our best interests in mind?
Give it a try, and let me know how this approach to hitting works for you.