“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” – Zig Ziglar
It seems that more amateur players than ever are scaling back on their summer baseball commitments. Some are even choosing not to play at all. But here’s the thing: Baseball is a year-round commitment. You don’t have to play in actual games during the summer, but you need to keep honing your skill development.
If you choose to limit the number of games you play this summer, here are several alternatives to help aid in your development as a hitter.
Go see coach – Use the summer to develop your swing mechanics with a professional swing coach. Sound information and quality reps will give you a functional swing. Remember – 3,000 reps build a habit, so it’s crucial that you stay in the groove. Shoot for 200 swings per day for 15 days. You’ll still have time to enjoy the summer.
Be instinctive – You develop good hitting instincts by facing live pitching either in an indoor facility or on the field. Most of your pitcher teammates would love to do a 50-pitch bullpen session with you. This will give you an opportunity to focus on making adjustments to your swing without the pressure of getting a hit. If you have three separate pitchers throw 50 pitches, three days a week, for 4 weeks during the summer, it’ll get you ready for game action.
Watch the pros – Nothing beats watching your favorite Major Leaguers play the game. Study their swings. Watch how they load. Absorb their approaches to the plate. You can learn so much by watching batting practice at a Major League game. Every player has a routine he sticks to during the games. If not, he won’t be around long. Watching the game in the stands allows you to anticipate pitches and develop instincts that your in-game experiences don’t always allow.
Play video games – That’s right, the players’ batting techniques in your video games are the real deal. When I was in spring training with the Cubs, we all had PlayStations. It helped me hone my instincts, and gave me the ability to make quick adjustments as a hitter.
The bottom line: Don’t sit on the couch too much. In the end, you learn the game on the field as much as you can. And while cutting back the number of games you play is alright, just be careful. You don’t want to lose your feel for the game.
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, CJ 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.