Ugh! Situational Hitting!!! It’s the one aspect of hitting that most coaches work on more than anything and I have to say it destroys swings like you wouldn’t believe. Now don’t get me wrong I completely understand that winning teams are able to successfully hit and execute in the different situations that present themselves. Unfortunately, more often than not, it causes athletes to alter their mechanics, change their focus at the plate, and ultimately develop inconsistencies in performance.
At the same time when hitters “try” to produce certain results (be it getting hits or simply moving a runner over) they are complicating the task at hand. Making it more unlikely that the hitter will be able to accomplish the intended goal.
In order to give yourself the best opportunity to succeed you must maintain the same mindset, the same focus regardless of what the external situation might be. What do I mean by this? Well, if you’ve read any of my other posts then you know that I believe a hitter’s job at the plate isn’t to produce results but rather focus on the 2 things that he can control and that give him the best opportunity to allow the results he intends to create to happen. In order to do that the hitter must focus on 1) tracking the ball into the hitting zone and 2) executing a good swing. Anything outside of that inhibits the hitter’s ability to create the intended result.
Let me give you an example: In the situation of a runner on second and no body out most hitters alter their swing trying to push the ball (if you’re a right-handed hitter) to the right side of the field. In doing so the bat head lengthens out making it less likely that the hitter will drive that run in and making it less likely they’ll be able to move the runner over. The only thing that should change here is the location of the hitting zone. If that hitter intends to drive the ball to the opposite field then the hitting zone should be on the outer half of the plate. Once the ball passes through that hitting zone the hitter’s swing should remain the same allowing to ball to go where ever it decides to go. This not only increases the likelihood that the hitter will accomplish their job but it also increases the likelihood that the hitter will drive the ball into the gap driving the run in putting his team in a better situation.
My point in all this is simple. Regardless of what situation might present on the field your job as a hitter remains the same. The hitting zone might change but once that zone is established your job is to track the ball into that zone and simply execute a quality swing.