What should you do if you’re not getting enough at-bats this spring? There’s an old saying that there is no need to cry over spilled milk. I agree. But before I give you the four-step advice you’re looking for to help you get more at-bats, you must acknowledge there are eight questions you must ask your coach on the front end:
- Why did you select me to be on this team?
- What do you feel are my strengths and weaknesses as a person?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses as a hitter?
- What type of hitter do you think I am now?
- What is your hitting philosophy?
- What is your hitting development methodology?
- What is the best way for me to approach you when I’m struggling at the plate?
- How will you help me as a hitter when I struggle?
You may say that I’m asking you to ask too much of your coach on the front end, while on the backend, you’re trying to figure out how to get more at-bats this spring.
There are four things you should start doing as soon as possible to get more at-bats this spring:
- Ask questions
- Start training
- Make guarantees
- Keep grinding
One of the ways my players show they care about their development while showing me respect as a coach is to ask questions. Most players are intimidated to have conversations with their coach because many coaches are unapproachable. At least I was in my early years. Why? Ignorance, arrogance and intolerance.
Here’s a four-pack of questions you can ask your coach that will start the process for you getting more at-bats this spring:
- What is my role on the team as a hitter?
- What do you feel is the highest level that I can compete as a hitter with your help?
- What do I need to start doing in order to fulfill my role as a hitter on the team?
- What do I need to stop doing in order to fulfill my role as a hitter on the team?
Practice and training aren’t the same. If you want to get more at-bats this spring, you need to start training and stop practicing. Practice involves three S’s:
Whatever you’re doing as a hitter when you’re practicing, you must be systematic, sequential and simple.
Systematic means you’re aware of all of the stuff to do. I teach that there are seven parts to the swing, and that it takes 3,000 reps to develop a skill. That’s 21,000 reps.
The swing parts must be developed in sequence in order for you to notice improvement, while the drills must be simple enough to do.
That’s practice. Training begins when you add the fourth S (Specific).
When you’re working on specific stuff along with it being systematic, sequential and simple to do, you are training.
You’ve asked your coach the four-pack of questions above and you’ve started training with him. Now its time to make some guarantees.
Trust must be earned – lots of time in many cases. In my experience, the best way to shorten the time of earning trust is when guarantees are made.
You can make guarantees when you’re being trained by a good coach.
Back in the day, the word coach was used as a means of transportation (before it was used for sports). A coachman steered a horse and the coach was the compartment, where passengers sat and rested until they reached their destination. A coach was considered good based on its ability to get people to and from.
Here are three T’s a coach should get you to perform at a high level, so that you can get more at-bats this spring.
If you can be on time and on tempo 90 percent of the time and track pitches successfully 80 percent, you can guarantee your coach you’ll hit the ball hard 50 percent of the time and get a hit 30-40 percent of the time also allowing you to hit for power 10-20 percent of the time.
To grind is to train and remain focused on the task of getting more at-bats this spring. You will have to keep grinding to continue to earn at-bats.
There are seven parts to the swing and it takes 3,000 reps per part to develop a skill. That’s 21,000 reps.
You can’t get good without grinding (remember, skills pay the bills).
You aren’t getting enough at-bats this spring and you want more. You know what you want. You also need to know what you are willing to give in order to get it.
Want more at-bats this spring? Ask questions. Start training. Make guarantees. Keep grinding
Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.
C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, C.J. has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.