You can teach someone about hitting mechanics all day long and may even see them improve tremendously while hitting the ball off a tee or while hitting pitches from a hitting machine. But there is one problem, when faced with uncertain sources, like pitchers, the fear of getting hit by the ball increases significantly. So how do you get rid of this fear? It certainly isn’t the easiest thing to get over. But it’s possible.
- The first thing which you are going to have to work on is the batting stance.
The stance isn’t just important for being able to hit the ball long distances but is also important in shielding oneself if a pitch comes at their body. You will not be able to swing well at a pitch if you step in the bucket. This will result in reduced power and will not allow you to create good contact.
- Opening out the front foot outwards, away from the plate will expose face and stomach to the chance of getting hit.
This is the first thing the player should be taught. Being hit in these locations is going to hurt much more than if their foot just stayed in place. In order to shield themselves, they simply need to tuck their shoulder & head in and twist backward so that the pitch hits their helmet, butt, shoulder, arm or back. This will reduce the sting quite a bit.
Basically, maintaining the proper stance is a far more productive and safe way of batting. Training players to move out of the way correctly or at least shield their vulnerable areas is a great way to increase their confidence when they step up to bat. This confidence is going to automatically reduce their worries until they stop thinking about it eventually.
Fear is the biggest enemy
Helping the players understand the fear of being hit is far worse than actually getting hit is very important. The fact of the matter is that adrenaline is running high usually while batting in practice or during a game. This adrenaline can be quite an effective barrier to pain. Getting hit by a fastball on the hip or the leg or even on the back doesn’t hurt as bad as you may think it would. You need to help the players understand this.
You could try to make the players catch balls pitched at them. When they are catching the ball instead of trying to hit it out of the park, their perspective will change and they will realize that the ball isn’t really coming that fast at them. This is when they will realize that the ball hitting them won’t really be that bad. Once they realize this, their fear of being hit will vanish.
Teasing isn’t the way to go
You should never belittle a player because they are afraid of the ball. This is only going to push them to fear the ball even more or worse, make them quit the sport altogether. If a player does get hit by a ball during practice or during a game, it is important to give them a tap on the back and let them know that everything is alright.
This is going to go a long way in strengthening their resolve and will also help the rest of the players realize that getting hit is not as bad as they think it will be. With the right words, you may even be able to convince the team that getting hit by a baseball is the ultimate sign of toughness and a mark of honor.
Building confidence is something that should occur at all times, not just during a game. Even during hitting drills or batting practice, never stop feeding their confidence. After all, confidence is the most important tool when it comes to getting rid of this fear. Boosting confidence through verbal encouragement can have an alarmingly positive impact on players. It will help them forget about their fears and think about success while walking up to the plate. As the desire to hit a pitch grows, the fear of being hit by a pitch will automatically recede. So get to work.