How to Rate Your Hitting Without Using Batting Average

hitting production chart hitter measure production
rate hitting batting average hitting production chart hitter

For years, batting average was the gold standard we used to measure a hitter’s worth – the higher the average the better the hitter, right?!

Well, no. Read on to find out why.

There’s no question that hitting is the toughest skill in softball. Never mind trying to decipher your way through all the over-instruction that probably goes on every time you pick up a bat, but what I’m talking about is when you actually stand in there against a pitcher. Trying to hit a ball coming at you as fast as the pitcher can throw it, and putting it on a part of the field where the 7 fielders miraculously aren’t standing is ridiculously hard! And yet, everyone expects you to do it do it, well, and do it often. No doubt your hitting is judged by your Batting Average – the higher your average the better hitter you are, and the opposite is true as well – or is it?

A batting average only measures how many times you actually got a basehit (single, double, triple or homerun) compared to how many times you came to bat that game. So, if you happen to have 3 at-bats, hit the ball REALLY hard each time up, but unfortunately managed to face an all-world defense that grabbed your shots out of the air, then your batting average for that game would have been a big, fat ZERO. Even though you hit the ball REALLY well!

That doesn’t seem fair, does it? I agree, and that’s why I think we need to start using a much better method for figuring out whether batters had a productive or unproductive day, a good or a bad day, a successful or an unsuccessful game day at the plate.

Remember, that you can only control how hard you hit a ball (and that’s iffy based on the quality of pitcher), you can’t control whether the defense makes a play on it or not. You can be hitting the ball really well, but unless all those shots fall in for basehits, your batting average won’t show how well you’re doing. But what if we could actually measure how well we were doing things we’re supposed to be doing when we’re up-to-bat, even if that meant we didn’t actually get a base hit?

hitting production chart hitter measure production

Well, I’ve come up with such a chart and I call it the Hitting Production Chart, and it measures just how well you do the things you’re trying to do when you’re up-to-bat.

Here’s how it works – Every time you do something that either helps your team (like moving over a runner) or that you’re supposed to do (like hitting the ball hard) you get a Plus. The following picture shows how simple the chart looks.

The positive, helpful things you’re trying to do up-to-bat would be:

  • + = GOB (Getting On Base). It doesn’t really matter how you do this. Whether it’s by getting a hit, getting a walk, getting Hit By a Pitch, or the defense makes an Error. It doesn’t really matter how you get on base, only that you get on!
  • + = HH (Hard Hit). This means ANY time you hit a fair ball HARD you get a +, whether it was a hit or an out, doesn’t matter. What matters is that you hit the ball hard so give yourself a point each time that happens.
  • + = HR (Home Run). A Home Run definitely counts as a plus point.
  • + = MOR (Move Over Runner or Runners). Even though this might result in you getting out, every time you’re up and you move over one of your teammates you get a + since that’s a productive at-bat.
  • NOTE: next to each + on your chart you can list the initials of what you did to earn that point

On the other hand, there are things that you can do with your at-bat that don’t help your team, and for those things you’ll get a Minus. Those things are:

  • – = K (Looking). A strikeout looking hurts your team so it’s a minus while a strike out swinging doesn’t, and that’s because you were actually trying to hit by swinging versus standing there and watching your 3rd strike go by.
  • – = Popup. While a flyball isn’t harmful, a popup will kill a rally by your team so that’s why it’s a minus point.

One thing that’s cool about this chart is that right away you see there are more positive things you can do up-to-bat than negative. That’s important to remember when you’re hitting. Be aggressive and work to do things each at-bat that help your team!

To use this chart during a game simply put a + down each time you do one of the things in the PLUS POINTS column and a MINUS down if your at-bat resulted in any of these things. When the game’s over add up all your points and you’ll end up with a Total score. In our example above this hitter had 2 + points and 1 – point (which means she was up 3 times) so she ended up with a +1 Total Score – even though she actually went 0 for 3! You’ll see next to each + and – sign I put in ( ) exactly what it was she did to get these scores. So its + (HH – hard hit), + (MOR – move over runner) = +2, followed by – (PU – popup) for a total game score of +1.

This chart actually helps you see a much clearer picture of your day at the plate instead of relying on your Batting Average, which doesn’t tell a very accurate story at all.

You can download your own copy of this Hitting Production Chart here.

For more help with this topic check out the following:

eClinicHow to Hit in Games Like You Do in Practice

Training Aid: Tee Stackers – Hitting Tool

Manual: Softball Hitting Drills for a Great Swing

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