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Friday, February 19, 2010

Baseball Tips on Hitting - How You Can Get to Know the Opposing Pitcher Very Quickly!

By Larry Cicchiello

If you don't know anything about an opposing pitcher, watch him closely and you may possibly get to know a lot about him very quickly. Beating the pitcher is plain and simply, a battle. Pay attention to what he does well and what he does not do well. You may know this before he takes the mound that day and if not, you can certainly learn a lot about him by watching him for an inning or so. Sometimes you can learn a lot after only one batter.

Good pitchers will stay awake at night trying to figure out how to get good hitters out. Just like the pitcher is looking for your strengths and weaknesses as a hitter, you too better be looking for his strengths and weaknesses! Pitchers at higher levels of play use pitching charts to get to know tendencies that hitters have. Why can't you, as a hitter, at least keep a mental chart of the pitcher's tendencies?

Some Very Important Things You Should Be Looking For

1. Look for where his release point is. Quite often pitchers have different release points for different pitches and you may know what pitch he's throwing just before he actually releases the ball.

2. Time his pitches with your swing when waiting to hit. You should have a very good idea as to how fast the pitcher is before you face him.

3. Is the pitcher always throwing a first pitch fast ball all the time?

4. Does he lean back more toward second base to get some extra speed on his fast ball?

5. Does he slow down his windup at the last second when he's throwing a change up?

6. On the other hand, does he speed up his windup too much when throwing a change up because he is trying too hard to disguise it?

7. Does he always throw the curve ball with 2 strikes?

8. Is the first pitch to each batter too "fat" and an easy pitch to hit?

9. Is the pitcher always throwing a breaking ball after he shakes off his catcher's signal? (This tells you the catcher is not ever putting down the breaking ball as his first signal and then when the pitcher shakes off the catcher, you know the pitch will be his breaking ball)

10. Does the pitcher raise his front shoulder higher when throwing the fastball to try to throw it faster?

11. Is he always pitching low and away and not using both sides of the plate by occasionally coming inside?

12. Does he drop his arm slot down a little to get more lateral movement on his breaking ball?

If you're serious about being a successful baseball hitter, you have to be thinking all the time. While on the bench, sit next to a very good hitter and talk about the opposing pitcher throughout the game. Baseball hitting is tough so try to get every possible advantage. Remember, the pitcher is thinking of anything he can do to get you out. As a baseball hitter, you should be thinking of anything and everything you can do to have a successful at bat. You will be very pleased with yourself if you have observed that the pitcher has started five straight hitters off with a first pitch fast ball. Then you get up, see a first pitch fast ball, and hit a seed into one of the gaps!

Even if you don't know anything at all about a pitcher, you can learn his strengths, weaknesses and overall tendencies very quickly! Beating the pitcher requires clever use of your mind as well as your body. The pitcher is using both his brain and his arm to beat you and you must do the same if you truly want to be a successful baseball hitter.

Larry Cicchiello is the author of "Excellent Baseball Coaching: 30 Seconds Away." His very user friendly eBooks cover 320 topics on playing or coaching excellent baseball. ANY players, coaches or parents who want to help their child improve will be fully equipped! Some FREE tips are available at

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick