Hitting with two strikes is much more difficult that hitting with 0 or 1 strike. When hitting with 0 or 1 strike, you are guaranteed another pitch if you take a strike, swing through a pitch or foul one off. With two strikes, the batter must be aware that two of the three scenarios mentioned above would result in an embarrassing out! With the increase in difficulty and pressure when hitting with two strikes, batters may want to consider a few of the following adjustments…
- Widen your stance - When you widen your stance, there is less of a need or NO need to stride with your front foot. No or little stride helps you get in position to hit immediately and enhances your timing with the pitcher.
- Turn your back foot in - When you turn your back foot in (toe pointing more towards the front of home plate), you are much quicker to get to the “L” position. All that is left to do when you swing is to simply move your back knee forward to the pitcher. There may be a little less power since there’s less momentum, but your quickness and accuracy will increase.
- Choke up on the bat - Moving your hands away from the handle a little shortens the length of the bat and decreases the weight you feel when swinging. This allows for a quicker bat, so you can wait longer during the pitch to make your decision to swing or not.
- Move closer to the plate - Not only have you choked up on the bat which shortens your reach, but you now have to cover the outside corner of home plate. You will still be able to turn on an inside pitch due to the adjustments you have already made. Pitchers tend to focus on the outside corner with two strikes because it can be a very difficult pitch to hit in any count.
- Load early - With two strikes you have to be ready for every pitch in the book. Loading early allows you to take your focus off of having the exact timing with the pitcher and focus much more on the pitch being thrown. You can still react quickly to fast balls, plus you are much more likely to hit the off speed pitches.
It is important to practice your two strike hitting approach off the tee and during live batting practice. It is a slightly different swing, so don’t make the mistake that the adjustments are small and you can just wing it during a live game. Get to know your two strike swing very well so that you are extremely confident when hitting with two strikes. With these adjustments, you will strike out much less and put the ball in play much more.