Your Guide To Being a Patient Hitter
"Like the Chinese Yin and Yang, patient and aggressive baseball hitting works hand in hand. They are two opposite principles in nature, however, to be a pure baseball hitter you must combine both elements."
WHAT IS PATIENT HITTING?
"Patience is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances."
A patient hitter, is one that is able to take pitches in difficult situations for the greater purpose of putting him and his team in an advantageous position.
HOW DOES PATIENT HITTING HELP YOUR TEAM?
A patient hitter increases the opposing pitcher's pitch count (the amount of pitches a pitcher has thrown), which increases the likelihood he will make a mistake due to fatigue.
Patient hitters get more walks, thus increasing the team's overall On Base Percentage (OBP). The more hitters that reach base, the more chances a team has of scoring.
Patient hitters help your own starting pitcher with recovery time, especially after a long inning out on the field.
Patient hitters allow the on deck hitter enough time to both prepare mentally and physically, especially when it comes to timing and load. Everyone loves hitting behind a patient hitter, and it can be argued that a patient hitter will help to raise the batting average of the player that bats behind him in the order.
HOW DOES PATIENT HITTING HELP YOUR BATTING AVERAGE?
Oftentimes patient hitters get themselves into good hitting counts because they are able take tough pitches that are out of the strike zone. This will put a hitter in more 3 ball -1 strike and 2 ball - 0 strike counts, which are commonly known as good "hitting counts".
In many instances, patient hitters get good pitches to hit. Until a hitter stops swinging at pitches out of the zone, the opposing team will continue to fish with off-speed pitches outside of the strike zone. Being patient and laying off tough change ups, curve-balls and sliders will set a hitter up to get a juicy fastball on the next pitch. Ask yourself, what pitch comes 90% of the time after a pitcher misses with an off-speed pitch? You guessed it, a fat juicy fastball!
Ordinarily patient hitters get more walks. More walks correlate to a higher batting average.
Very often patient hitters get to see the full range of pitches. This is especially important for later in the game as the hitter may see the same pitch that was thrown to him earlier in the game.
7 SCENARIOS WHEN A HITTER SHOULD BE PATIENT
Scenario 1 - First time through the line up
Take time to see the pitcher's release point, velocity and full repertoire of pitches.
Makes the starting pitcher work harder by throwing more pitches.
Scenario 2 - Leading off the inning
Coaches do not like "one pitch, one out" scenarios.
Especially important if your own starting pitcher has just had a big inning and needs a breather.
Scenario 3 - The lead off hitter gets out on the first pitch of the inning
What's worse that "one pitch, one out"? 2 pitches 2 outs
Scenario 4 - The opposing pitcher is wild
This is a good time to zone in on one pitch, one location, you do not want to help a wild pitcher out by swinging at bad pitches.
Scenario 5 - Go ahead or tying run on second base with first base open
Generally in this scenario a hitter should not get a good pitch to hit as first base is open and the opposing team may decide to pitch around the hitter.
Scenario 6 - Go ahead or tying run in scoring position with a weak hitter hitting behind you
You may get pitched around as the opposing team will probably take a chance pitching to the weakest hitter.
Scenario 7 - Hitting lower down the order
Your job is to get on base and let the big boys drive you in, so it is especially important to be a patient hitter.
HOW TO PRACTICE BEING A PATIENT HITTER?
A hitter can practice being patient with hitting drills such as front toss and disciplined Batting Practice (BP). Any hitting drill that allows a hitter to take pitches that are out of the strike zone will assist with teaching the art of patient hitting. Especially with front toss, the hitting coach can deliberately toss the ball out of the strike zone to test the hitter's patience. The hitting coach can create scenarios (such as the 8 discussed above) to help the hitter understand situational hitting.
WARNING! PATIENT HITTING MUST BE BALANCED WITH AGGRESSIVE HITTING
There are many situations that warrant patient hitting, however, it is fruitless to practice patient hitting unless a hitter understands when he is required to be aggressive.
Part 2 - Aggressive Hitting