Failure is a big part of baseball, especially hitting. Its unavaoidable, actually. The sooner a hitter realizes this the better. We should never be okay with failing, but we should be prepared when we do find ourselves in a slump. Here are five things to consider the next time you find yourself falling into the dreaded hitting slump.
VISUALIZE YOURSELF SUCCEEDING
Grab a pen, paper and a timer. I want you to spend 10 minutes every day on visualization. First, write down on a piece of paper the last few times you've been successful. Set the timer for 5 minutes and find somewhere quiet. Spend 5 minutes replaying those previous times you were successful over and over and over in your mind. When the timer rings, set it for another 5 minutes. Spend the next five minutes playing out the tape in your mind of you being successful during your next game. Visualize your at bats. Visualize yourself recognizing your pitch and hitting the ball hard over and over.
KEEP THINGS SIMPLE
There are two causes for hitting slumps. There is either something wrong with a hitter's mechanics, or there's something wrong with the hitter's mindset. The vast majority of the time it's mental. If there is something mechanically wrong, its generally very minor. So, there's no need to overhaul your mechanics and completely change your swing. Keep it simple. Double down on your hitting drills and get back to the basics.
POSITIVE SELF TALK 24-7-365
When you're struggling you've still got to be your own biggest cheerleader between your ears. It's easy to have negative thoughts creep in. When negative thoughts find their way in your mind, you have to immediately smash them and replace them with positive ones (ex: picture above). Taking responsibility and being constantly vigilant over your own self talk isn't easy and can be mentally tiring. But it's neccessary, and will pay dividends right away. You've got to be committed to this on and off the field.
DISCIPLINE AND CONCENTRATION IN PRACTICE
Put in the work. Take practice seriously and use it to replicate game situations. Instead of going through the motions during BP, visualize that you're in a game situation. Concentrate on every pitch you see. You've got to put a premium on every rep. Every quality swing, every off-speed pitch recognized, every quality take you experience in practice the closer you are to turning the tides in your favor during the actual game.
DON'T RUSH PROGRESS
You didn't find yourself in a slump after one at bat. So don't expect to climb out of it after one at bat either. Don't rush things. Don't worry about your average. Don't start doing the math either, to find out how many hits you need in so many at bats to get back to .300. Breathe. Relax. Take it one at bat at a time. Your average today doesn't matter. It's where you finish the season. Trust the process.
I hope this helps. Good luck. Please share this with someone who needs to read this.