How One College Hitter Knocks Them Out of Sight

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el-vaquero-staff-writer/" class="creditline">AREN ALLAYARIAN
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Preparation

Before Daniel Lee steps up to the plate, he goes on deck, where a batter takes practice swings. The main purpose of being on deck is getting the timing of a swing just right and practicing following through the swing. The batter needs to have different timings for different kinds of pitches. For example timing for a fastball and a knuckleball need to be totally different.

Batting

Unlike the Major Leagues, college players have a choice of a wooden bat and an aluminum bat. Most players including Lee, pick the aluminum bat for obvious reasons, mainly because it’s lighter and balls are hit much farther than with a wooden bat. The most popular and expensive brands of bats are Easton, Miken and Louisville Slugger. Lee doesn’t care for expensive bats; if he feels comfortable with the grip of the bat, that’s all that matters to him.

Stance

Comfort, confidence and balance. You need all three of these characteristics when you step into the box to hit. Confidence begins when you step into the box. The first priority when getting into your stance is to make sure you have good plate coverage. Once in your stance, your weight should be slightly back, but not completely on the back leg. Have your hands near the top of the strike zone.

Stride

One of the most common mistakes made by hitters at all levels is having the stride be part of the swing. In fact, hitters should perform the stride before the swing. During the stride, you shouldn’t transfer your weight from your back leg to the front. Hitters who transfer their weight have a difficult time handling off-speed pitches. The key is to stride out with the inside portion of your front foot. One way to think of it is to act like you’re striding onto a dozen eggs and you don’t want to break those eggs.

Swing

The first thing to realize is that your swing should not be driven by your arms, but by your legs and hips. Lee likes to have both hands on the bat with a nice firm grip all the way through his swing. An important part of the swing is your head; start your chin near your front shoulder. After you swing, your chin should end up on your back shoulder. If it doesn’t, then you’re leaving your head out in front of the plate and not watching the ball all the way in.

Concentrate

Great players don’t only think about their batting average but also about what’s best for the team in a situation. This may entail laying down a sacrifice bunt or moving a runner forward by hitting behind him or taking a strike so a base runner can try to get into scoring position by stealing second. A great player will be willing to do what it takes to get a teammate a run.