The strike zone is an important part of the game for batters to understand. Knowing it can help you extend at-bats, force walks and improve your on-base percentage. However, not knowing it can leave you at the mercy of the pitcher, waiting for something you think you can drive.
Understanding when and what to swing at can help keep your team in the hunt for more runs. Baseball pro Bryce Harper walks through his hitting approach when it comes to selecting and waiting for the right pitch.
KNOWING THE ZONE
A successful at-bat doesn’t always have to result in a hit. Taking a walk can be a good outcome for offenses, placing a runner on first and lengthening a pitcher’s outing. In order to earn that base on balls, though, you need to have a good understanding of the strike zone. “When I’m walking, I’m at my best. And when I’m not walking, I’m struggling,” Harper says.
Deciphering balls and strikes can also help you predict what the pitcher will throw next. Working a count and being selective can force a pitcher to throw strikes within the zone. Not chasing balls takes that advantage away from the pitcher and can give you the edge at the plate.
KNOWING YOUR PITCH
Having strong plate discipline can also help you stay patient in waiting for your pitch. Every batter has one location or pitch they can hit with confidence. Naturally, not every pitch will be your favorite. Understanding the strike zone can keep you ready to work a count in your favor. Situations like these warrant more hittable pitches, regardless of who is on the mound.
“Every single time a guy comes in, you don’t want to chase what they’re doing,” Harper says. “Just try to stay with your approach, stick to your approach and just have what you want to do and stick with that mindset.”
Keeping your approach can help you get on base and give your team a chance to score. Remember, baseball is a team sport, and you need everyone to contribute for a victory. “You want to get on base for the guys behind you,” Harper says. Doing so helps you put your team one step closer to lighting up the scoreboard.
Knowing the strike zone can help improve your batting from an individual and team perspective. Take these tips from Bryce Harper and command the batter’s box with a keen eye this year.
Now that you know the zone, what will you do once you get your pitch? Use these hitting tips from Bryce Harper and learn how to drive the ball.