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…