Not all days are your best training days but if you can leverage some tools in your back pocket to shift your focus, you can still find progress in the struggle.
3 Steps to Calming Down Your Cage Work
In my opinion the most frustrating and yet most beautiful skill in our sport is the swing. If I were to look at one full year of my training, 10% of those days I feel like my swing is PERFECT. Only 10%. The other 90% is me tweaking, feeling, and adapting my swing, trying to get it as close to “perfect’’ as I can. The reason I believe the swing is so beautiful is ultimately because it can also be SO frustrating. You will never reach perfection, you will never have the same swing every time, and you won't feel 100% every single day. When it comes to hitting we FAIL more times than we SUCCEED. That’s what makes success feel so good.
As the years go by and the level of play rises, I’ve continued to use these three tools consistently when I feel like things aren’t clicking. These three approaches have allowed me to slow things down, not get overwhelmed, and stop the problems I’ve created about my swing from becoming bigger than what they really are.
1) Breathe. Many times we get into our hitting practice and we just go, go, go. Swing after swing after swing; like robots. We forget that the biggest part of our swing is our rhythm & making our swing feel smooth and in control. So remember to breathe. Take a minute to step out of the box, regroup, take a deep breath and then get back to it. You’ll feel the difference right away when you allow yourself to slow things down.
2) Going back to the basics. This step is a big one and it's the one that I constantly have to remind myself of. A lot of the time we get frustrated with ourselves and our swings because we are trying to do and fix too many things at once. There have been so many BP sessions where I feel off with my swing and the first thing I think to do is to change something mechanically. Sometimes all you need to do is go back to the basics. For me, it's always focusing on “watching the ball”. That simple step is the one step I lose focus on the most. When I remember to watch the ball all the way through, half of the mechanical problems I thought were wrong with my swing are resolved.
3) Pick One. One day you may feel like EVERYTHING is going wrong with your swing. Your lower half, your timing, your barrel lagging, your pitch selection… You get the point. The type of day where it feels like nothing is working for you. Actually I’ll go as far as to say that it feels like everything is working AGAINST you. When you’re going through a training day like that, pick one. Pick one thing to focus on all day so that you don’t overwhelm yourself with the whole list. Then in your next hitting session, you pick something else to focus on, and so on. Break down your training until you start to feel like everything is coming back together, then you can go out there and let loose.
These three tools have helped me so much throughout my career. Like I said before, hitting is the most beautiful yet frustrating skill in our sport. We fail more times than we succeed. When you can take a minute to breathe, go back to the basics, and pick one, you’ll realize exactly what it is you need to do.