When they say be on time…
We talk about it all the time. It’s probably the most important thing we have to do as hitters. It’s what gives us the best chance to do damage, no matter how good or bad our mechanics are.
Getting on time…
What does that mean to you?
Simple question really. Tons of answers that probably make sense. As a matter of fact, a lot of the best hitters of all time would more than likely have their own version of what it means.
If you’re sitting there reading this and wondering:
“How do I get on time when every pitcher is trying to mess my timing up by throwing all kinds of different pitches, at all kinds of different speeds, in all kinds of different locations?” Then you’re not alone.
I used to think the same thing.
“How can I be on time to everything?” I would think. “That’s impossible.”
It actually is. And guess what? That’s ok. Actually, it’s normal. The best hitters on the planet get fooled by certain pitches, so it really is ok if you do too.
The reality of it is, you don’t have to be on time to every pitch.
Yeah, I said it. You don’t.
One of my favorite coaches I’ve ever had (yeah Chip, I’m talking about you!) gave me one of the most insightful pieces of information I’ve ever gotten as a hitter. He wasn’t even a hitter himself, but smart nonetheless. He asked me one day:
“How many pitches do you have to be on time to in any given game, to have a great day?”
My naive answer was “all of them.”
But then, he started shaking his head and smirking. “Two, maybe three. Four or five, means you probably had the best game of your life.”
Wait — whaaaaaaaaattttttttt? I thought he was crazy.
But then I thought about it. If I’m on time to one pitch every at bat, I have a chance. Scratch that — more than a chance — a chance to do some serious damage.
The other pitches in the at bat don’t matter. That doesn’t mean I’m actively trying to not be on time, but let’s face it — I only need one!
And the reality of it is, there are plenty of times hitters aren’t on time and they can still find a way to scratch out a hit. As a matter of fact, most of the hits you’ve gotten in your career, you probably weren’t perfectly on time.
Being perfect is impossible. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to be, it just means that if you’re not, you’ll be just fine. Trust me!
You might see fifteen, twenty, even twenty five pitches in a game. It seems like a pretty daunting task to get on time to all of them. Pretty easy to get defeated and lose confidence in yourself if your expectation is to be on every one of them.
There might be days that are better than others, or you’re seeing a particular pitcher’s stuff better than you are someone else’s. In the same regard, there will be pitchers you face who have stuff that may be harder to pick up, or even more so, have mechanics that are tougher to get on time to.
Point of the story is, you shouldn’t let one pitch affect the next. If you can be right once per at bat, then you’re doing something right. You’re putting yourself in a position to make hard contact, and in turn, to get the results you want.
So get on time. But if you’re not, remember that it’s ok. There’s another pitch coming and you need to be working toward that one!