Shut Up and Hit!

Talking Is Hard

My cousin Joe’s son, Nick Petricca, is the lead singer for the popular group Walk The Moon. Their smash hit, Shut Up and Dance, can be heard frequently on the radio, streaming online, on television, in night clubs, and even in ballparks around the country. Frequently, the Wheaton College Softball Team would practice this past season with this energetic tune in the background, or we would hear it during pregame warm-ups in almost all the stadiums we visited. During one game, they played Shut Up and Dance between innings, as Wheaton was coming to bat.  When the team broke their huddle, I playfully yelled, “Shut Up and Get Some Hits!”  

nick petricca

During a long season, hitters go through hot streaks and slumps.  As the hitting coach, I am the first person hitters seek out when they are struggling at the plate. They want the magic answer that will turn their slump into a hitting streak.  Sometimes, I can pinpoint what they are doing or not doing that could help break the temporary bad streak.  However, as the season goes on, slumps are less technical and more mental. I frequently encourage hitters to enter the batter’s box with confidence and simply trust the hitting mechanics they worked so hard to perfect. Or, I will challenge them to turn their brain off and use one of the mental techniques I have written about.  Here are links to some of them:

The Mental Side of Hitting (A Must Read)

Just Breathe…

Take a Ride on the Ball

Stop Trying For More Power

Hummmmmm While You Hit

I was recently watching the University of Tennessee Softball team play an SEC game on television. Every time Lady Vol slugger Annie Aldrete came up to bat, the camera would zoom into her face before each pitch.  Annie has a habit of muttering to herself in the batter’s box.  I’m not exactly sure what she says before each pitch, but she is clearly trying to relax and focus on something other than her hitting mechanics. This mental technique clearly works, because Annie hit .365 with 19 home runs and 65 RBI during her freshman year in 2014, and she is having another outstanding year at the plate this season.

KNOXVILLE, TN - MARCH 22, 2014: Catcher/Infielder Annie Aldrete #24 of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers during the conference match between the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers and the South Carolina Gamecockss at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium in Knoxville, TN.  Photo By Andrew Bruckse/Tennessee Athletics

Sometimes, when the mental techniques don’t seem to be helping, I usually instruct hitters to just “See the ball and hit it hard!” I have modified this advice recently to coincide with the popularity of Walk The Moon’s monster hit. With a smile on my face, I now tell my hitters to quit thinking too much, stop asking me what they are doing wrong, avoid worrying about the bad calls from the umpires, and just “Shut Up and Hit!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s