Many coaches still teach players to protect the plate at all costs when behind in the count.
This means that rather than using their usual pitch selection criteria, players are asked to widen out their strike zone.
The reasoning is that pitchers rarely throw a hitter’s pitch on 0-2, 1-2, and sometimes 2-2 counts anyway; therefore, it’s better to put the ball in play on a pitcher’s pitch outside the zone than to strike out looking.
🧢 Pro Tip: When this strategy of protecting the plate is applied, it often results in players chasing after pitches well outside the strike zone, especially because some pitchers try to never even throw a strike when so far ahead in the count.
And, as most hitters are not great “bad-ball hitters” who can consistently square up balls far outside the zone, any contact that does come from this approach is usually weak.
Many modern coaches prefer that hitters not expand their zone to protect the plate when behind in the count.
Their logic is if the pitcher throws an obvious ball, why swing?
Coaches of this mindset advise their players to exercise the same pitch selection on an 0-2 count as any other count.
Stepping into the batter’s box means entering into mental warfare with a pitcher, so adjusting your mindset when losing the battle and behind in the count shouldn’t be much of a stretch.
As you know now, there are differing opinions on the physical techniques in a two-strike approach, but most coaches will agree that a batter should fortify their mindset when they have two strikes on them.
Some possible mental shifts batters can make include focusing on hitting the ball up the middle, seeing the ball for as long as possible, or mentally trying to put the ball on the barrel of the bat.
Players should, of course, just stick to one mental cue at a time, though.
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#Best Tips for Hitting Behind in the Count: Real Recommendations
Advice on how to hit with two strikes differs, but most everyone agrees that you should have some sort of strategy for this situation.
We’ve already tipped our hand a bit and given a stamp of approval on moving closer to the plate and shifting your mindset when behind in the count. These are both actually effective things worth trying.
Now here are a few more tips to supplement these approaches.
Good hitting posture can help you be more efficient with your swings, generate more power, and make more consistent contact.
Again, don’t make profound changes just because you have two strikes.
Just know that if you have to lunge or reach for a pitch, then it’s not a strike, and it’s certainly not your pitch. And when you chase after pitches and abandon your posture, you’re not going to make hard, solid contact with the ball.
#Two Strike Hitting Drills for Baseball and Softball
To work on your performance in two-strike situations, here are three drills you can practice.
Nothing prepares you better for game situations than simulating the pressures of a game.
For this drill, take regular batting practice, but treat each and every swing as a 0-2 count.
Even if you don’t drastically change your stance and swing for two-strike hitting – and we recommend that you don’t – this drill helps you train your mindset for hitting behind in the count.
Coaches can raise the stakes on this drill whenever they like to turn up the pressure and more closely simulate negative consequences.
For example, you can give the ballplayer ten strikes and keep track of how many of these pitches would have resulted in an out. Then, you can have the ballplayer run pole to pole or do a set of ten pushups for each out they make.