Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Best Way to Stop Your Fear of Being Hit by a Pitch

By Thomas E Wilson

For some young baseball players one of the leading troubles to overcome in baseball is the fear of being hit by a pitch while batting. This fear is the reason behind many technical problems at the plate, the most significant being "stepping in the bucket" where you step away from the plate as you swing. It is basically impossible to be a good hitter if you're afraid of the ball. As former Boston Red Sox player Carl Yastrzemski stated, "If you're afraid of being hit, you might as well not bother going up to the plate at all. You can't hit the ball if you're afraid it will hit you." While this may be a big fear to overcome, with a little hard work and effort it can be done.

The very first thing you should do for you to overcome your fear of being hit by a pitch would be to realize why you are scared of it. You're likely scared of being hit by a pitch because you don't want to be harmed or in pain. Well, if you master how to avoid getting injured when a pitch is coming at you, you will most certainly be less scared of the ball hitting you. If you are going to get hit by a pitch, the ideal spot to get hit is on the back or side of your body. So rather than bailing out and exposing the front of your body you should turn towards the backstop in a clockwise direction (if you are right-handed) so that your back is what gets hit. If you get hit in the back or side you will not be in as much pain as you would be in if you got hit in other places.

Now that you realize what to do if a pitch is coming at you, you should repair your confidence in acknowledging that if the pitch does hit you, it's not going to hurt significantly because it will hit your back or side. A terrific drill to perform will be to have somebody kneel ten feet from the hitter and throw rolled up socks for the player to swing at (only if they're strikes). Once in a while throw a rolled up sock at the batter and have him turn away from the pitch the proper way rather than step away from the pitch.

As soon as the player gets the hang of it using socks, progress to tennis balls, and after that soft tee-balls. As soon as the hitter feels safe knowing it does not hurt very much when the ball hits his back and he is not stepping in the bucket even with soft tee-balls, start using normal baseballs. Throw some batting practice as you would normally, but throw a couple of pitches directly at him. If he uses the right technique of turning away from the pitch, he'll soon recognize that it doesn't hurt very much to get hit in the back or side even using a normal baseball. His overall confidence while hitting will improve and he will have the ability to hit the ball better than ever as he will be striding towards the pitch instead of away from it.

It is really depressing that a lot of young baseball players with a lot of potential never succeed and often quit playing just because they're afraid of being hit by a pitch. We all have fears and it's important, whether we are referring to baseball or life in general, to conquer those fears. By working hard and digging deep, you'll be able to get over this fear with no problems and get back to your baseball workouts and doing your best at the game.

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