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Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Novel Idea in the Majors: Using Batting Practice to Get Better

The staid tradition of batting practice — with its center-cut pitches thrown at speeds in the low 50s — is documented as far back as the late 1880s and has largely remained untouched in major league diamonds. Such game preparation, however, is in direct opposition to various principles of motor learning and vision sciences that suggest traditional batting practice is not only unhelpful but detrimental. So teams are searching for ways to make their B.P. more game-like.

The Reds assistant hitting coach Donnie Ecker summed up the approach: “If you want to sprint faster, you should practice sprinting faster.”

Much of this innovation is happening out of public view — in the minors or in the indoor batting cages at big league ballparks — making an exact accounting of adopters an impossible task. The Astros have implemented competitive batting practice throughout their organization, and have been joined in varying degrees by at least the Blue Jays, Phillies and Reds. The Cardinals and Orioles are among the clubs exploring similar plans.

“If your results are too good in practice, the practice is probably too easy, and you’re not learning something new,” said Albert, who joined the Cardinals as hitting coach last winter. “You’re just performing something you’re already good at it. And there’s certain value for that, especially in the big leagues.

“But on the development side, when you need to improve a couple things, there probably needs to be a little bit more challenge and a little bit more failure in practice to learn from.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 23, 2019 at 10:32 AM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: batting practice

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