Standing In for Success
For so many hitters at all sorts of levels, timing and recognition are always towards the top for the things hitters want to be able to do better. Let’s face it those are 2 things that really make a difference in your at bat. If your timing is off, so is your swing. If you are not able to recognize pitches out of a pitchers hand, this will put you on the defensive and a defensive natured mind leads to more failure than success.
It is a place where you can try different things and never have to worry about getting out.
Outside of game at bats, the next best place for working on timing and pitch recognition is standing in during a pitcher’s bullpen. This is one place I rarely see hitters and in my opinion there should always be a line waiting to stand in. It is a place where you can try different things and never have to worry about getting out. You can really hone in on the differences between pitches from a pitcher. You can help manage your strike zone judgement better. And especially for guys who don’t play every day, you can train your eyes and body at game speeds. In this picture, you can see Paul Goldschmidt with the Arizona Diamondbacks standing in during a bullpen session.
Now before you go jumping in, make sure the pitcher has worked through enough of his bullpen to where he is ready for a hitter. Remember, a pitcher has to get loose also. But you will find more pitchers than not love to have a hitter stand in because now they can really see what their pitches look like when a hitter is standing in.
So if you are really struggling with timing and when you should start your load or having issues with pitch recognition, head down the foul line and visit your nearby bullpen to stand in against a pitcher!