Should you hit ground balls?
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Speaker 1: Start making it look more like that.
Speaker 2: As a player, when I was being coached on the swing, because I was kind of small in stature, irregardless of what kind of athletic ability I had or what kind of power my body could produce, my coaches were always telling me to hit the ball on the ground and use my God-given speed, which worked fine when you’re playing against inferior competition, or lower level competition. What you have at that point in time is you have guys who can’t get the ball as quickly as you can run, and technique-wise, can’t grab it and throw it across the diamond fast enough to get you out.
As a player, when you’re an amateur, you get fooled into thinking that you’re really, really good because you simply outrun balls. As I started to move up, what we started to happen, at each level you move up and the more ground balls you hit, the best players on the field on the opponents team usually are the guys that play in the middle of the field, the second baseman, the shortstop, the catcher, the pitcher, and the center fields. Hitting balls on the ground to those people were definitely career suicides. Once I got to pro ball, it was even worse, but you would think that the instruction in the late 80’s, early 90’s, would have been … The technology and the resources have definitely been out there to understand what the body needs to do to hit the ball. Even then, people were telling us that we need to swing down on the ball because that would help us hit more line drives and outrun them. Simply, when you’ve got guys over there who are hall of famers, the Derek Jeters of the world, that you’re hitting ground balls to then throwing the ball across the diamond at 100 miles per hour, it really didn’t lead up, or a recipe up, for me to be successful as a hitter.
Consequently, that type of philosophy actually got me out of the game. Two bad things had happened at that point in time. As you get older, you do get slower. The fielders get faster and the game quickens up. The second thing is it just produces bad swing mechanics. You end up pulling off balls, slicing them off, and just making a lot of weak contact. As I’ve moved on through this, we’ve found out that that’s really not what really good players do. They learn how to attack the ball and hit it in the right order.