Baseball Hitting Coach
Coaches in baseball are specifically assigned to training and directing players on individual components of the game to divide labor amongst the staff, give excellent one-on-one instruction, and allow experts in each discipline to help players with what they know best. Read on to learn more about one of the many types of coaches on a baseball team, the hitting coach.
Hitting Coach Definition
Hitting coaches are responsible for helping batters on the team reach their full potential, thus strengthening the entire team’s offense. These coaches practice batting form and mechanics with their players and are constantly striving to improve each of their players’ swings.
Hitting coaches also teach their players how to be smart at the plate. For example, players learn when to watch a pitch, where to aim the ball in certain situations, when to bunt, etc., from hitting coaches. Finally, hitting coaches often watch pitching films with their players, scouting out their opponents and developing hitting strategies before games.
After reading the definition of a hitting coach, it might be easy to assume that only less developed teams need hitting coaches. This would be a false assumption, however, as every Major League Baseball team employs a hitting coach, some even employing an additional assistant hitting coach. Batting in baseball is a complicated venture that even professional players need to constantly hone and improve.
Hitting Coach Roles and Responsibilities
Rather than their instruction happening out on the field, like a first-base or third-base coach, hitting coaches support their players from the dugout during the game. The main role of the hitting coach during the game is to carefully observe his players while they are at the plate.
The game, for a hitting coach, is a time to collect as much data as possible that he can later analyze and share with his players. How does each individual player react to different types of pitches? What is missing in each player’s swing? Why does this specific player always hit to the left? These are the types of questions a hitting coach will be asking themselves while watching the game.
Additionally, the hitting coach will prep batters before they step up to the plate and debrief with them after their plate appearances. However, much of the working relationship between hitting coach and player occurs before and after games, watching film of opposing pitchers, reviewing analysis of their own plate appearances, and running drills to improve what needs to be practiced.
Hitting Coach Skills
- Attention to detail
- Creating drills
Successful hitting coaches have eyes trained to attend to details. Baseball swings are a science; even the smallest drop of an elbow or unevenness of a toe can throw a player's whole form off. Hitting coaches are skilled at first noticing when these details are amiss and then diagnosing or analyzing how they can be remedied.
To perfect minuscule changes in swing, a large amount of repetition is often required. A good hitting coach knows what type of hitting drills to practice with a player and is willing to do those drills over and over and over until the swing is just right.
Best MLB Hitting Coaches
Some of the best hitting coaches in MLB history are:
- Kevin Long
- Milt Thompson
- Charlie Manuel
- Rudy Jaramillo
What is a hitting coach in baseball?
A hitting coach is a member of a baseball team’s coaching staff specifically assigned to help players improve their batting performances. The majority of a hitting coach’s work with their players occurs before and after baseball games. During the game, they are instead laser-focused on recording everything they can about each batting appearance. Hitting coaches must collect a lot of data to analyze later with their players. Still, hitting coaches will often provide batters with advice before they go up to bat and debrief with players after they leave the field.
What does a hitting coach do in baseball?
Hitting coaches are responsible for improving a baseball team’s offense by improving each individual batter on the team. These coaches often work with players individually, analyzing their swing with them, completing drills to help improve weaknesses in swings, and studying film and opposing pitchers to prepare hitting strategies.