Cues are often used when developing hitters. What we say to an athlete to teach
them how to hit can be beneficial or detrimental. Examples: be on time, stay
closed, use your legs.
Internal cues require the athlete to focus on their body movement. Many coaches
spend a lot of time using internal cues.
External cues require the athlete to focus more on the desired result of their
movement. These types of cues often help the hitter move better than an internal
Athletes who focus too much on the internal movement of their body often move
slower and have less power output. There is a time for both internal and external
cues, but most athletes will benefit from an external goal, such as trying to hit the
ball over the L screen or hitting the ball at a certain point of contact.
Using a constraints led approach will help the hitter move better internally while
focusing on an external goal or task. We create constraints for hitters based on
the training environment, their body, and giving them a specific task.
The goal is to create an environment that will “force” or encourage the athlete to
move properly and execute a task.
A hitter who keeps flying open and pulls off the ball with poor swing direction
could be put into an offset open position with the goal to hit the ball hard in the
middle of the field or cage. This will require the hitter “feel” how to stay in
posture throughout the swing and create the desired result.
A hitter who “steps in the bucket” could simply be put in a position where they
cannot do it, such as placing cones behind the hitter and creating a “lane” for the
hitter to move forward properly.
The practice environment should also have relevant constraints. Many hitters
perform well in batting practice but struggle in games because the training
environment is 100% easy while the game has a higher difficulty. A pitcher trying
to get the hitter out and mixing speeds is much more challenging than a full day
of batting practice where the pitcher is throwing fastballs down the middle.
Practice should incorporate varying degrees of difficulty and simulate a game-like
environment where hitters will struggle in their training.
Example: Hitting game-like breaking balls or faster velocity off of a good quality
pitching machine. Batting practice pitchers mixing up pitches or speeds during
Hope this helps,
See you on the diamond.