There is nothing more frustrating than watching your child, or one of your players go through a hitting slump. They always seem to come on at just the wrong time, like when you are playing in a championship game or when you are behind by one stinking run with bases loaded and two outs in the last inning.
The problem is that fastpitch hitting slumps can last for weeks or even months at a time. It is a hard problem to fix because it often exists in the mind of the athelete rather than in the way they are holding their hands. While most coaches are equipped to fix positional errors, or bad habits at the plate – fixing the mind is more difficult.
One of our players, facing a hitting slump that had lasted 4-5 weeks was pretty much at the end of her rope. After being moved from the #5 spot to the #9 spot, and then to the #1 spot in the batting order in the hopes that it would get her mind off of striking out, spending hours in the batting cages and meeting for personal practices without the pressure of the team, she figured out the hitting slump herself.
“All I can think about is striking out!” She exclaimed as she threw down her softball bat.
And that is precisely the problem. A hitter in a slump goes from thinking about hitting the ball to the fence to thinking about striking out. You have to find a way to get them out of their own head when they walk to the plate. You also have to take their mind of the hitting slump as much as possible.
For younger players, its easier. Have them pull up their socks, put their shirt in their mouth or say something stupid and random before they go out to bat, and it will normally distract them long enough to get that fundamental first “I’m BACK,” hit. Older girls, are much more stubborn however, and you will have to teach them about the powers of positive thinking.
Bottom line. If a girl is up at the plate worried about striking out, she will strike out. Every time. The hitting slump exists in the mind. And like writers block or any other debilitating mental hang-up, it can RUIN a player if she doesnt learn to get it under control.
Teach your kids to think about hitting when they go up to plate. Go through group drills of creative visualization where they imagine hitting home runs, or laying down the perfect slap or bunt. In other words, keep the focus on hitting and making contact, rather than the slump.
Works every time!
What are your tricks for getting a girl out of a slump?