Take To A Strike

January 3, 2022
Ever have a coach tell you...
Take to a strike?
Take the first pitch?
Is taking the first pitch a good strategy?

Too often players have been constricted
to the concept of taking the first pitch
or worse, taking to a strike.

Players just love when they hear
a coach tell them they need to take
to a strike, or take a pitch.  Laughing

Of course they don't like it.

That's NOT the Fastball USA way.

Taking pitches seems like tremendous strategy for those looking
to win todays game. Frown They make sure the weaker
hitters are NOT encouraged to swing, in order
to let the better hitters drive them home.

Brilliant strategy.
Congrats on your wins
and all the trophies.

Nobody cares.

In the bigger picture of hitting development,
players need to be aggressive first, and take pitches
second.  If you have the big picture in mind.

Even if we look at the averages, you have to wonder
why hitters take pitches for strikes at all.

Here is a 3 Year period in MLB the averages 
that point out the obvious.   Also, D1 college
baseball numbers are nearly the exact same.

Fact # 1.     Swing 3-0. 

The Highest batting average
on any count?

3-0.   Over a 3 year period MLB players
batted .407 on a 3 ball no strike count.

How many youth, high school, and even
college players are allowed to ever swing 3-0?

At very least consider a 3-0 count with runners
in scoring position is an opportunity to drive in runs.

What is the second highest batting average
based on the counts? 


Fact # 2.      Swing at the first pitch!


On a 0-0 count, MLB players batted .345 over
a 3 year period.  This is the second highest average
on all counts.  Even in Division 1 college baseball
last year the numbers were nearly the exact same.

How many players are discouraged at swinging

at the first pitch?   We see this all the time at
all levels of baseball.   Taking pitches lead to walks
and winning.   Wow.  Great job.  Win, win, win.

The Coach That Says.....A walk is as good as hit
probably couldn't hit himself.

Many coaches believe
a walk is as good as a hit.
My least favorite saying is when I hear a coach
yell out "ball four-base hit".

All of this sounds like great strategy
to win todays
game.   Then we wonder why so few players actually
hit really, really well.

The short term winning philosophy takes the bat out
of hitters hands but hoping, and praying for walks,
and discourages aggressiveness.   Of course they only
do this with the average and weak hitters.

Once again, brilliant stuff.
Congrats on your trophy.


Fact # 3 

Every count with less than two strikes MLB hitters
batted over .300.

Every count with two strikes MLB hitters batted
under .200 with the exception of a 3-2 count which
is barely over .200.

The last player to hit over .300 with 2 strikes was
Tony Gwynn.   The next highest ever was .263 by
Wade Boggs.




Knowing what this data tells us about
chances of success based on counts
why on earth would any hitter ever 
want to hit with 2 strikes on them?


* Taking pitches for strikes early in
the count is a problem.

* Fouling pitches off in early in the count
is a problem.

* Swinging and missing at pitches early
in the count is a problem.

Sniper Approach

You are likely to get one good pitch
to hit any one at a bat.   You can't
miss.  You have to train for this concept.


Remember this next time you take
batting practice.   You get 1 shot not 10.

Batting practice is set up to figure it out
over a period of swings.  In a game you
get one shot.  One swing to make it count.

Train to make one swing count.
Train to become a sniper at the plate.
Train to commit to a plan and stick with it.

At Fastball USA, our priority is practicing with 
purpose.  We are relentless about purpose
behind our practice.

We believe everyone practices.  Practice
does not make you special.

The purpose, the intent behind your work,
is what can make you special.

Fastball USA | © 2023 | 1261 Wiley Rd. • Suite G • Schaumburg, IL 60173