Thursday, October 8, 2009

WE TALKIN' BOUT PRACTICE

Time is starting to fly by, with only one week left in the Fall Ball season. This week we had four games, two away games against the Reds and Indians, and the Royals and Rangers, and two home games against the Dodgers and White Sox, and the Reds and Indians again. In the first game I played five innings at 2nd base and went 0-2 with a fly out to center and a line drive out to left field. I decided after that game that I wanted to try a new pre-game routine to see if I would have any different results come game time. Starting early in the morning I would hit balls off of the tee, only using the opposite field. For some reason when I think opposite field I do a really good job of staying short and inside the ball, but when I think pull I get around the ball and roll over way to much. When batting practice started I did the same thing, not trying to pull anything, but instead hit hard ground balls and line drives to right field. Later that day I took the same approach into the game and ended up hitting four balls hard, going 2 for 4 on the day. I repeated the same process the next day throughout practice and went 2 for 2 with a walk. Again, today I kept my same routine and went 2 for 2 with two doubles in our game. I don't know if my pregame work had anything to do with it or it was just a coincidence, but I would be stupid to get away from what has gotten positive results. I think every hitter needs to have a routine that is working for them and stick to it. You should have a goal everyday you show up to practice, something you want to work on to get better. Baseball is a game of repetition, and sometimes that repetition can be very monotonous. If you pick a specific thing you want to work on before practice it keeps things fresh and exciting, instead of the same thing everyday. For me, someone that tends to get "pull happy" every now and then, it's good to let the ball get deep in practice and work on staying through and inside balls to right-center field. You need to look at what you do well and, more importantly, what you do not do well and find different ways to make your weaknesses your strengths, while making your strengths even stronger. Give it a shot and see what happens.
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