The On Deck Circle
The on deck circle is where most hitters get themselves out before they even step in the box. I always hear so many excuses why someone can’t hit a pitcher and I just simply ask, “What did you do in the on deck circle?” I usually get a weird looking face back at me…
With the exception of standing in on bullpens, the on deck circle is the closest you can get without actually being able to hit. Most players don’t take advantage of the opportunity. During your A.V.E. Process (Analyze, Visualize, Execute), the on deck circle plays a key role in enabling the execution process to take part. You need to be ready on the first pitch to execute. And the on deck circle is key in getting that timing down for the first pitch. Let’s not forget you can also pick up pitchers tipping pitches in the on deck circle if you watch carefully. That will help you even more when it comes to determining what pitch he is going to throw.
In this short video clip, you can see Jose Bautista working his timing and load with the pitcher’s delivery. This gives him a much better chance at being closer to on time with the pitcher, ESPECIALLY if this is the first time ever facing that pitcher.
So don’t be lazy getting out to the on deck circle. You should have been all ready anyway since the A.V.E. Process takes place when you are in the hole. Get out and go through your warm up routine to get loose to hit. Once you have done that, get in a position to where you can see the plate and the pitcher. As the pitcher goes through his wind up, and depending on the size of your load, start your load and work on being on time with the pitch.
One other key that rarely gets mentioned because it doesn’t involve hitting but helps the base runner and really needs to be addressed. When there is a play at home after a base hit, drop your bat and sprint to behind home plate so you act as a base coach and help let the base runner know if he has to slide or stay up for a potential play at home. You can always go back and get your bat after the play is over. Just because you are not in the play doesn’t mean you can’t have an impact on the play.
So utilize that on deck circle to really improve your chances for success!