How Do I Approach The Batter’s Box?

We practice our swing thousands of times each season for those precious few cuts that we get while we actually playing a competitive game (those are the ones that really matter right?).

As youth coaches, we sometimes get caught up in teaching technique and drilling our kids to hopefully develop the proper muscle memory so he can perform in the batter’s box. But how much time do you spend teaching the mental and physical approach to the overall at-bat?

Probably very little…let’s give our players the best chance possible to be productive with their at-bat.

So When Does The At-Bat Actually Start?

In my mind it starts while we are on the bench on double or triple deck.


Batting gloves go on, helmet and bat in hand…watching, studying the pitcher and understanding the current situation in the game at that point. You want to ask yourself, what kind of pitches does this pitcher throw…fastball, change, slider, 12-6 deuce, plitty…where is his arm slot?…what’s his “out pitch”?…does he have a pattern?

Attention On-Deck!

Next, we find ourselves in the “On-Deck” circle. We should be warming up with our bat a bit. At this point it’s really important to take some “dry cuts” to time the pitcher.
Our goal is to find out when we should start our load (which is really the start of our swing). After all, the goal of the pitcher is to mess up the hitter’s timing and the goal of the hitter is to time the pitch right? Every pitcher is different…on some, you may have to start your load when he separates his hands from his glove (if he is quick to home) and some you may have to start right when he releases the ball. You figure all of this out when you are in the on-deck circle instead of talking with your teammates through the fence in the dugout.

Approaching The Plate

Next, we find ourselves walking up to the plate. You only have a few seconds to digest what is going on with the game because the hitter in front of you just hit a double with 0 outs, or grounded out and now there is a man on third with 1 out, etc.

Getting into the box:derek-jeter-getting-into-the-box

Before stepping into the box, look at your third base coach for the signs. Once you get your sign (and understand what you are being asked to do) then you put your hand up to the umpire to signal for time as you set your back foot.

CBI-With-Batter-150x66-rounded-cornerNext, set your front foot. I generally like to set up so that my front foot is in line with the front of the plate.

Depending on the speed of the pitcher, or it’s a 2 strike count, adjust further up or further back in the box. You are now in your stance with two hands on the bat and the umpire is signaling to the pitcher to throw.

At this point, your head should be clear. Do not think about your coach telling you to “squash the bug” or “don’t upper cut” or “keep the front foot closed”.

You should have your own rhythm or pre-swing movement to stay loose and athletic. It’s now time to react! Let all of those hours of hitting practice pay off and just time the pitch.

Stay on plane…

About CoachK

Owner and head instructor at Colonial Baseball Instruction. CBI serves Southern VA with baseball camps and private lessons. CBI also developed My Coach: Baseball App and sells a variety of baseball training aids.

Brian says:

I agree with this post. You have to have a routine which will make you feel more comfortable in the box …just look at Derek Jeter. Or any other hi profile pro.