13 Reasons Why Pro Baseball Can't TeachHitting
Coach Rob Ellis
Why Hitting Prospects Fail
This article will explain how a talented hitter fails in professional baseball, and why the systemis inadequate to help him.
Joe Linedrive leads the SEC in home runs, RBI, and is second in batting average. Joe is a topdraft choice. He signs a bonus contract. The club has indicated that he is their third baseman of the future.Joe's first year in pro ball is not a disappointment, but it isn't all the club thought it would be. Itwas good enough to get his feet wet, good enough to build upon. His next season would be better.Two months into the next season, Joe settles down in the .260 range. His college power is downas well. Strikeouts have become a problem. It's too soon for "Wait until next season." That phraseis already a year old.Joe's agent naturally counted on having a solid big league third baseman in his stable. Heconsults Joe to find out what is going on. Joe is vague. His agent asks about the hitting instructor since Joe is a priority. Joe says they are trying some things, but he's a bit vague about that too.Joe has a hard time putting the remedies into words, something that shouldn't be hard if heunderstands them. The agent wonders about the instruction he is getting. He can't conceive thatJoe is more or less on his own, not after a six figure bonus.Joe's season ends in mediocrity. Sure he hit 10 home runs, and he finished at .266, but those arehardly the numbers he is capable of compiling.In the off-season, Joe has a long talk with his agent. His agent wants to know what can be doneto realize his potential, particularly how he can hit more home runs. Joe isn't sure. In fact, hecan't even state his hitting problems clearly, let alone solutions. What, asks his agent, has thehitting coach suggested? Joe explains in a couple buzz-word phrases. Asked to elaborate, Joecan't. He can't state problems, solution, goals, or even something to work on in the off-season. Itis like he has gotten no instruction at all.Joe has a universal hitting problem. His style began when his dad threw him underhand tosseswhen he was five. The ball came in like it was falling off the house roof. So he swung up to hit it.The first little league tosses came in the same way, and up he swung to hit them. The high school pitching straightened out a bit, but the featherweight metal bat was there to cover up thedeficient, low-to-high, uphill swing plane he had grooved. And Joe was a man among boys; hisstrength made that metal bat hum. The combination of his strength and the featherweight bateven fooled the scouts into thinking he had bat speed that would convert to wood.