*Guest Blogger* Al Becker talks about his approach at the plate.
Al Becker has been playing in local amateur leagues for the last 10 years. He was most recently a member of the Yawkey Baseball League 2008 Champion Bluefish Baseball Club, for which he hit .402 and won the Silver Slugger in right field. Becker finished the 2008 YBL season in the top 10 in almost all offensive categories.
What is your approach at the plate?
While I do focus on hitting up the middle, I think as I’ve gotten older, 37 now, and a veteran of more than 10 seasons in the MABL and YBL, my offensive game has improved with an increase in pulling the ball.
Of course we are all taught to hit the ball back from where it came, which is up the middle — at the pitcher. That theory often worked for me, especially when I’ve got the count to a point where I think a breaking ball might be coming. I’ve never tried to pull the breaking ball. But early in counts, especially last year, when I felt confident and strong, I was looking to pull the fastball….just reacting.
How do you practice your hitting?
I am a big fan of the Iron Mike machine during the season, especially when I have a few days off between games. Even before games it’s helpful. Success to me in the Iron Mike cage is hearing the loud bang when I hit a liner off the machine.
I see guys in the cage taking violent rips and pulling everything into the screen. Instead, in the cage I focus on shortening my swing, waiting as long as I can on every pitch, and going back up the middle. I also like to move my feet around and focus on hitting pitches from the middle out, the opposite way.
What are the keys to hitting the ball up the middle?
- Waiting on the ball as long as you can.
- Keeping your head (your body follows) on the ball and staying back.
- Getting the correct pitch. I can’t hit an inside fastball back at the pitcher, my hands aren’t quick enough to wait and do that. Look middle out.