Just like the 2021 Virtual Pitching Summit – if you missed the 2021 Virtual Hitting Summit we’ve got you covered!
This year’s Hitting Summit was our 5th annual, and while it was virtual, it had three incredible speakers providing great information on three different hitting topics. Here’s my recap of what they shared, so let’s get right to it.
While there are too many highlights to cover in this article (that’s why you’ll want to order the 2021 Virtual Hitting Summit Package when it goes on sale soon), here are a couple of key take-aways from each speaker to give you an idea of the quality of GREAT information that was shared.
KENNY GAJEWSKI, OKLAHOMA STATE – “Developing Winning Hitters”
- Point: Build a relationship before you start making changes
- Application: Give each player time to show you what they do before you start making changes in their swing. Ask them to tell you what kind of hitter they are. Find out who influenced them as a hitter. Build a relationship with them before you ask them to change a bunch of things that they have confidence in, and have worked hard to develop.
- Point: The game field is for competition, not comfort.
- Application: Kenny has eliminated front toss unless it has a circle, and the feel-good hitting stuff takes place in the cages. The field is where his hitters compete, struggle and grind it out – just like how it is on the field during games. This has been his biggest change recently, and it’s helped his players be more comfortable and confident come gameday.
MATT MEUCHEL, UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS – “Analytics & Probability in Hitting to Help Individual & Team Performance”
- Point: 169 and 99.
- Application: Through the mind-blowing use of numbers, Matt showed that the typical college hitter will hit 13 times in a week over a 13 week season (169 at-bats). If that same hitter hits a mind-blowing career .400, they will get OUT over 99 times a season! We’ve got to help our players see the ebbs and flows of an “average” and be able to manage the outs. Many hitters think that if they’re a “good hitter,” they’re a good hitter in every game, every series and every season…otherwise, they think they’re suddenly a bad hitter. Coaches need to have the patience to realize that a good hitter is simply going through her red zone (outs), and keep her in the lineup instead of knee-jerk replacing her.
- Point: .259, .299, .397
- Application: The “average” D1 hitter (from 2016 to 2020) hit .259. The “75th Percentile” hitter hit .299, and the exceptional “97th Percentile” hitter hit .397. These numbers help our players, and us as coaches, re-calibrate the numbers that we’ve associated with good hitters. Seeing how many times hitters get out, and mentally helping them handle the outs, will go a LONG way in helping them successfully navigate a season and ultimately, a career. As Matt says, you’ve got to build a routine to get you through the red (outs).
JENNIFER HERZIG, James Madison University – “Hitting for Underdogs – How Our Approach Led Us to OKC.”
- Point: Swing the bat as hard as you can, EVERYTIME you can!
- Application: Everything Jennifer does with her JMU hitters is to get them to swing with their best effort, combining fearlessness and intensity on every swing – both in practice and in games. Her weighted ball/weighted bat routine is designed to create this swing intensity on a daily basis.
- Point: Whatever it is – run with it full speed but do it daily!
- Application: Jennifer noted that JMU could hit and play high level softball long before this year, but making it to the World Series simply let everyone see how hard they work and how good they’ve been. She learned long ago not to allow whether or not they made it to OKC determine her team’s success. Their journey over the last 8 years has taken them to many Regionals and Super Regionals. This year, they reached the pinnacle of success, yet Jennifer’s belief in her hitting program, the things she teaches and the way her players practice, hasn’t changed. Her main message being – believe in yourself, and put your head down and do the work to help your hitters believe in themselves!
Trust me, there were TONS more points from each of these three great coaches, so to hear it all for yourself, check out the 2021 Virtual Hitting Summit Package – on sale now!