Theres no feeling quite right to describe getting in the box. Its filled with emotions: nerves, jitters, excitement, frustration, determination, sometimes, fear. But, one thing to remember despite all the adrenaline rushing through your veins is the preparation you've put in.
You've prepared for this moment. You're ready for this. You've got this.
Now, that doesn't go without saying that the best hitters don't get nervous. They just learn how to channel it.
There's 5 ways to be your best at the plate:
Ever heard that saying "You get what you give?" Well it describes softball - to a tee. (No pun intended). You only get what you put into this sport. The hours you practice and the reps you take all go into making you your absolute best. You are able to work out your kinks. It's just like practicing the piano, long division, or studying a new language - they all take time and dedication to see results. Put in the hours. Put in the work. They will pay off when you get to the game.
2. Positive Self-Talk.
We are our worst enemies. We blame ourselves for failing, especially when it comes to hitting. The solution: DON'T be your worst enemy! If only it was that simple, right? You can develop positive self-talk to help minimize self-blame. Think about the things you should be doing instead of the things you shouldn't. There's hundreds of things that can go wrong when you hit, all you need is ONE thing to go right...putting the bat on the ball! Be positive. Compliment yourself. Think about the ways you can succeed instead of the ways you can get defeated. Tell yourself to "Let the rise ball go" instead of "Don't Swing at the rise ball." Talk yourself up. "I own this pitcher," "I've got her number." Be your biggest cheerleader.
The best hitters make adjustments - not just from at bat to at bat, but PITCH TO PITCH. If you whiff at a change up in the dirt you can expect another change up, maybe in the dirt. She caught you swinging at the rise ball? Guess what pitch she's throwing with two strikes on you. You HAVE TO adjust. You have to find a way to hit the pitches that give you difficulties. Don't get beat twice on the same pitch. Find a way. Foul off the fastball inside until she gives you something better to hit. Swing under the drop ball instead of swinging over it. Be super late on the outside pitch instead of super early. Hit a ground ball if you popped that last three up in the air. Make an adjustment! You won't win the at bat if you don't.
4. Keep it Simple - GET A GOOD PITCH.
That old saying "Keep it simple, Stupid," has a good point or two. There's something to be said for not
overthinking things. If you worry too much at the plate, how are you suppose to remember to hit the ball? When you start overthinking and questioning your ability, you've already lost. Keep it simple, Stupid... GET A GOOD PITCH. All you need in that box is one good pitch to hit. One that's in the zone. One that you know you can hit well. One that leaves you feeling, "I didn't get cheated. I got all of it." It doesn't have to be a home run or triple off the wall, but you should be able to walk away from that at bat knowing you made solid contact.
One thing you will learn as you continue your career is that there's more than one way to have a good at bat - and it doesn't include getting a hit, sometimes not even getting on base. You might be thinking - you're crazy what are you even talking about, but hear us out here! Not all at bats end in a hit! Sometimes you hit a screaming line drive and the left fielder makes an amazing play to get you out. Don't discount that at bat. That's what we call a quality at bat! To be your best at the plate you should always be looking for QUALITY. That means battling off pitches with two strikes before you go down swinging, being disciplined with pitches out of the zone, making solid contact, and executing bunts, sacrifice fly balls, and steals with coverage. **THE SECRET: Being mentality prepared when you step in that box, showing determination, and not going down without a fight.
If you watch players at the higher levels they take an extra second before they get in the box. Why? TO BREATHE. Taking a deep breathe before every pitch can help calm your nerves and relax your muscles before getting ready to hit. It can also help slow down your breathing to focus your mind. Take a breathe or two - the pitcher has to wait for you anyways!
“All you need in that box is ONE good pitch to hit.”