I get the question often from baseball parents, players and coaches who've just heard about the power of Quality At-Bats. What is a Quality At-Bat?
Before I answer that question, let's get one thing straight.
The Batting Average is EVIL. I call it Satan on my Quality At-Bats CD.
Because you can't have a goal where you do EVERYTHING right and still go 0-4.
You step in the batter's box and hit the ball right on the screws, but right at someone for an out.
You beat the pitcher.
The pitcher knows you beat him.
But since you didn't get a hit, you walk back to the dug-out with your head held down because you didn't get a hit...
...so your confidence goes down because your batting average went down and you start losing your confidence.
This is why I say the Mental Side of Hitting is so important.
It's also why I say we need to redefine our definition of success is from getting a hit to having Quality At-Bats.
What is a Quality At-Bat?
A Quality At-Bats is any plate appearance that results in a:
- Hard it ball
- 8 Pitch At-Bat
- Sac Bunt/Fly
- Move Runners Over w/ Less than 2 Outs
- Base Hit
The Quality At-Bats Principles
After 30+ years in baseball as a player, coach, and scout, I believe what causes hitters to underachieve is:
- Their goal is to get a hit instead of hitting the ball hard
- They make it about them instead of about helping their team win
- They try to hit the fastball, curveball, and changeup all at the same time. Swinging at everything instead of Hunting Pitches
- Go into Pout Mode when they don't get a hit instead of being a better competitor than they are a player
How good you are at competing with 100% confidence will dictate how far you make it in this game. Period.
There is a reason why you see a first-rounder who signs for $1,000,000 who never makes it out of single-A while a player who signed in the 50th round plays 10 years in the big leagues.
The first-rounder didn't have a mental game.
The 50th rounder was great at:
- Walking up to the plate with confidence
- Had an attainable goal to hit the ball hard
- Attacked the inner-half of the ball w/ a tall back-side
- Helped their team win
Two Quality At-Bats Principles
If you only remember two things, remember this.
1. 90% of hitting is how you feel when walking up to the plate.
2. There are two players in every hitter.
Confident player & Non-confident player.
Now I know why God stuck me in Triple-A for 13 years. To help young hitters get out of their own way by changing their definition of success at the plate from the batting average and getting hits...
...to Quality At-Bats and hitting the ball hard.
If you hit the ball hard, you win.
If you get a hit, it's a bonus. Believe it.
If you love your abilities but your abilities aren't showing up, it's not your abilities fault. It's your mind. Get it right!