Batting Slumps

I’d like to address this topic - batting slumps, from a pitching coach’s point of view.

Batting slumps are my job. It’s one of things I’m good at producing - I’d better be. No, make that a life long passion to ensure that you crash-n-burn at the plate. And I want you to remember that, each and every time that you face my guys.

So here’s what I got going for me:
1.) I have a special tool box that I roll around with me called a rotation. A selection of tools, carefully selected with very special talents. Some of these people have a two pitch inventory while others have a four pitch. Some I use only one or two innings while others can go longer. Some are so special that I’ll only use them for a special situation. I also make sure that everyone stays in line so they do the job that their expect them to do.
I have a “we do not have a conversation here” policy.
2.) I know you better than you know yourself. I bank on human nature to take it course, and I keep track of you and why-when-and-where you do most of what you do. I know the game schedule that you play, what pitchers you face, what their specialties are, how well do did - or didn’t, whether you played at night or in the sun, was it hot and humid or was it cold with a drizzle. I also keep track of what bat you use - length and weight. Is the model heavy at the head, thin neck, evenly turned or “turkey legged”. Do you have a stance that just begs for a certain pitch, or are you flexible? When you get to the park are you in a good mood or do you seem to have issues, like a baggage around your neck? If so - great, I’ll be sure to work on that for you and use it against you. Going that extra mile with that last one - do you have issues with your teammates and coaches? Even better.
3.) When you’re on the field do you get bothered by plays that don’t work out? Can you be “gotten to” by the fielding errors of others? Will that carry over once your at the plate? Mind not on your work? If so, I know just the setup pitch and put away combo that’ll get to you. Nothing personal here - just business.
4.) Are you recovering form an injury? Were you hit by a pitch recently in the hip, shoulders or ribs? How about a foul ball off your leg, ankle or foot? I want to know that because I’ll instruct my pitcher(s) not to hit you there. He’ll just deliver a pitch that you’ll swing at using that part(s) of your body. Again, nothing personal - just business.
5.) Are you less effective dealing with pitches that come out of the sun and into the shade? Or are you less effective dealing with pitches that come out of the shade and into the sun? If your standing in the shade and the pitcher is standing in the sun - how effective are you with certain pitches? What’s your pitch recognition skills for different types of pitches?
6.) What part of the batting order are you in? Tells me a few things about you even before I’ve seen you. The batting order has a certain logic to it. In fact, I bank on it. Oh, sometimes there are surprises, but I can usually deal with that also. It’s what I suppose to do.
7.) And finally - your no surprise son! I and everyone else as seen your work. We’ve seen you at the start of the season, we’ve seen when your hot and when your not. It’s that “not” part that guys like me sit up and take notice at. In fact, I’ll slice you up into so many little parts that causes that “not”, that it’s really no work for me at all to send a disappointing day your way. ( I really like that last sentence.)

So, what you and your teammates call a “batting slump”, I call just another day on the job. A job I can be very, very good at. A “batting slump” is just an excuse for not paying attention. Heck, even your batting coach will tell you that.

Want to disappoint a nice guy like me, study your craft and study the pitchers that you’re about to face. Observe and take notes of those that succeed more than they fail. Ask tons of questions and get into it. Sounds simple doesn’t it. Thought so.

See, I’m not such a bad guy after all…

Coach B.

And I guess the same idea could be used for pitchers who are getting crushed-
the hitters just say they are studying the pitchers,
and it’s just another day on the job for them.
The hitters who hit are obviously paying attention.

Cardswin … hit it on nail!

What use to get me worried was watching a player in the other dugout, stand on the steps, rest on the protective fence, and watch my guys like a hawk. Then they’d stare off into the clouds or something and start thinking - it was hard not to notice. Then they’d get into the on-deck area, and start swinging with every pitch, getting their timing down. Again, they’d keep looking at the pitcher without fail.

When this guy would get into the box, he wasn’t ready - he was beyond that! He wasn’t waiting for a pitch - he was “looking” for a pitch.

In fact, guys like that use to get an undertone going when I had to step in as pitching coach from the bullpen. I’d hear this lonely voice moan in the background, every single time one of those kind of hitters would get into the on-deck area … " aaa-boy… it’s him again…"

Coach B.

[quote=“Coach Baker”]Cardswin … hit it on nail!
[/quote]

Actually, any baseball player (pitcher, hitter, and defensive fielder)
has to pay attention to succeed in baseball.
I’ve heard many people say “keep your eye on the baseball”.

Especially outfielders! Have you ever seen that classic blooper reel lnvolving Jose Canseco when he lost track of the ball for a second and it hit him on the head and bounced off his head and over the fence for a home run? It was very funny, and at the same time it wasn’t funny at all, because it illustrated the problem very well.
Getting back to batting slumps, here’s a situation that’s often overlooked—the batter’s problem is between his ears. A few years ago I wrote an article for SABR’s Baseball Research Journal—about “killer” pitchers—and I discussed the psychology of the hitting slump. I cited the case of Paul Lehner, a very good outfielder with the old St. Louis Browns and a few other teams. Here was a guy who suddenly got the idea that he couldn’t hit the ball out of the infield on Sundays. It had nothing to do with religious or other scruples; he just became convinced that he could not hit the ball out of the infield on Sundays—a real problem, because so many crucial games are, and were, played on Sundays. One day the Browns’ trainer engaged him in conversation and got him to talk about this “Sunday jinx”, and then he told him something he’d heard about—something a famous doctor had discovered, pills that were supposed to help hitters. The trainer had ordered a supply of those pills, and he said that when they arrived Lehner should quietly give them a tryout.
The pills arrived, just in time for a Sunday doubleheader. Before the game Lehner went behind the dugout and swallowed two of them. the first game started, and in his first three at-bats he went hitless, and he was starting to wonder if the pills were any good—then, his fourth time up, he blasted a screaming line drive into the seats for a home run. In the second game he went 4-for-4, including another home run and a double. So much for the Sunday jinx.
Ed Lopat told me this in the course of a discussion of pitchers’ difficulties on the mound that have nothing to do with mechanics or repertoire, and he said this was a beautiful example of the placebo at work. :slight_smile: 8)

[quote=“Zita Carno”]Especially outfielders! Have you ever seen that classic blooper reel lnvolving Jose Canseco when he lost track of the ball for a second and it hit him on the head and bounced off his head and over the fence for a home run? It was very funny, and at the same time it wasn’t funny at all, because it illustrated the problem very well.
Getting back to batting slumps, here’s a situation that’s often overlooked—the batter’s problem is between his ears. A few years ago I wrote an article for SABR’s Baseball Research Journal—about “killer” pitchers—and I discussed the psychology of the hitting slump. I cited the case of Paul Lehner, a very good outfielder with the old St. Louis Browns and a few other teams. Here was a guy who suddenly got the idea that he couldn’t hit the ball out of the infield on Sundays. It had nothing to do with religious or other scruples; he just became convinced that he could not hit the ball out of the infield on Sundays—a real problem, because so many crucial games are, and were, played on Sundays. One day the Browns’ trainer engaged him in conversation and got him to talk about this “Sunday jinx”, and then he told him something he’d heard about—something a famous doctor had discovered, pills that were supposed to help hitters. The trainer had ordered a supply of those pills, and he said that when they arrived Lehner should quietly give them a tryout.
The pills arrived, just in time for a Sunday doubleheader. Before the game Lehner went behind the dugout and swallowed two of them. the first game started, and in his first three at-bats he went hitless, and he was starting to wonder if the pills were any good—then, his fourth time up, he blasted a screaming line drive into the seats for a home run. In the second game he went 4-for-4, including another home run and a double. So much for the Sunday jinx.
Ed Lopat told me this in the course of a discussion of pitchers’ difficulties on the mound that have nothing to do with mechanics or repertoire, and he said this was a beautiful example of the placebo at work. :slight_smile: 8)[/quote]

I have seen a clip of Jose Canseco’s blooper.
Pretty amazing.
Your story reminded me about Steve Sax.
He was the shortstop who suddenly lost his accuracy
and couldn’t throw to first.
I don’t really remember the details of the story,
but I think Sax led the league with (30?) errors that season (1983).

And unfortunately, the same thing happened to Chuck Knoblauch, and he lost his effectiveness as a second baseman and eventually dropped out of the game.

It’s actually too bad.
After Chuck Knoblauch left baseball,
his life fell to shambles.
He was charged with misdemeanor assualt,
and was included in the Mitchell Report for taking HGH.