Becoming great at any difficult skill takes desire, commitment, and discipline. How many thousands of swings in the batting cage have all college and professional baseball players taken? Although I don't have actual numbers for different players, the point is that players who make it to the highest levels of the game are not only gifted athletes but are dedicated to preparing themselves to play at the highest levels. For you to improve and become a great hitter on your curent team and to prepare yourself for higher levels of competition, you have to have DESIRE, COMMITMENT, and DISCIPLINE. Each is powerful on its own but individually these traits will not help you reach your goals, but having all three working for you will help you exceed them.
Before we get into the big three that I want to talk about, I first want to mention that the best way to improve is to enjoy what you are practicing. If practice feels like work, then you are taking the wrong approach! There are many things to work on and we can't work on them all at once, but we can move through the lessons at a good pace and then review the lessons multiple times to make sure you are not forgetting something or doing something incorrectly. When learning any new skill there is the desire to jump right to the end and have mastery of the skill. I could tell you to spend a certain amount of time on each lesson and make sure you have it down before moving on, but we all learn in different ways and I believe you have to move through the lessons at your own pace in order to enjoy the lessons and have the best chance of success.
So you have my permission to move through the lessons as quick as you want, but make sure to come back and go over them again and again if necessary so you are certain you understand the key elements from each lesson and have incorporated those elements into your hitting.
Do your really want to become great or are you happy when you do okay? If you enjoy playing baseball and aren't disappointed or bothered if you don't play well, then you may not have the desire necessary to become a great hitter. Now don't despair if this is the case. We tend to like the things we are good at and as you improve in your hitting, you may find your desire to improve also increases.
Are you willing to spend the time needed to practice and work on hitting? If you're not willing to spend the time and put in the effort, you'll see limited results. Come up with a plan that will work for you. Becoming a better hitter doesn't mean you need to swing the bat for two hours a day. I would rather see a player take 50 great swings a day than have him take 500 bad swings. More swings doesn't translate into better hitting. More quality swings translate into better hitting. If you're swinging the bat incorrectly, more is actually worse as you continue to build and reinforce bad habits.
Although more isn't better, don't fool yourself into thinking that you'll be successful if you don't put in the effort. Don't use what I'm saying here as an excuse to take 15 swings and call it good!
Many people are great starters, but few are great finishers. Discipline is putting the desire and commitment into action on a daily basis. When Derek Jeter was in high school he had a goal of taking 500 swings a day on a swing-a-way (Similar to a hitting tee). Now many people have the desire and commitment to say they are going to take 500 swings a day, but Jeter also had the discipline to follow through and do it. He made it a priority and got it done every day. That doesn't mean you need to take 500 swings a day, that worked for him but you need to figure out what kind of commitment you can make to becoming a great hitter and then follow through with disciplined practice.
Now it's time to set your own goal for moving through these lessons. The first part of any goal is that is should be achievable. We will talk about game goals in a future lesson, for now I just want you to write down one goal on a piece of paper and adjust it as necessary as you move through the lessons.
1. How often are you going to practice?
example: I'm going to watch a lesson every day and practice for at least 20 minutes a day.
Now that you have a practice goal written down, it's time to get started moving through the lessons.
Next: Bat Selection