There are dozens of things that can go wrong when trying to teach timing and it takes a mentor and a diagnostician who can analyze, diagnose and create action steps
It’s not a linear progression as you grow and mature as a hitter. You don’t improve 1-2% a week, no matter how hard you work at it. If your mechanics are even slightly sloppy, you’re gonna have a hard time getting to the ball consistently, even if you get your timing right. Having good timing isn’t some cliche concept to describe someone who’s a gifted hitter by some freak genetic accident. Take it a step further and there’s nothing natural about hitting a baseball. Ted Williams hated the idea of being called a natural hitter because he knew it wasn’t about aerobic batting practice, or hitting till your hands bleed. He was clear about his perspective on hitting, that it was an art and science.
Timing isn’t isn’t a random skill set you inherit, the swing has a timeline, the pitch has a timeline, and you gotta match your swing time with the pitch time. That’s how you do it soft toss, but soft toss is only from 12 feet away. So what do you do when you multiply the 12 feet by 5 and now the pitchers throwing from a mound 60 feet away. The variables you were managing automatically in soft toss, from 60 feet those same variables suddenly become unmanageable unless you know what the variables are. You can’t cope with a situation like a pitchers delivery when you don’t know what’s important to pay attention to and what you need to filter out.Swing has a timeline, the pitch has a timeline. Match your swing time with the pitch time. That's how you do it in soft toss. Click To Tweet
If you have efficient mechanics that you can repeat to give you a short, efficient timeline, a swing that can be replicated over and over regardless of how you feel from day to day.
Good hitters learn to access the feel for their best swing today, even if the feel varies a little from day to day. Mechanics you can trust to be short and accurate, on plane with the pitch at the right time – not to early and not too late.
When you understand your mechanics in a way that makes timing the top priority, the best hitters find a way to rehearse with a flow, making sure all their movements are natural and powerful, short and quick…this puts you in position to automate your mechanics and focus on the number 1 most important ingredient to hitting…and that’s timing.
Without knowing it, without even being aware of it, we’re all able to do a version of what I just explained when we’re hot or when we’re hitting soft toss. You see…good timing isn’t just for the freaks, it’s not just for the natural hitters, Ted Williams emphatically said there’s nothing natural at all about hitting a baseball.
It’s about developing a swing with natural movements and being ok with the fact that your swing might feel a little different from day to day, but as long your swing is repeatable today, then you can go to work matching up your swing time with the pitch time.
1. Your swing has a timeline, from day to day it’s not always the same…
2. The pitch has a timeline, it’s not always the same from pitcher to pitcher and day to day.
3. You gotta match the swing time with the pitch time…that’s the bottom line and we find a way to do that in soft toss fairly easy.
4. Our timing is so good in soft toss that we can take a short swing, medium length swing, even a longer swing and make it work as long as we can replicate the time it takes to get to the ball.
5. To give you time to get on the right swing plane then on plane in time so you can react fast, you’re able to deliver a significant percentage of your available energy through the barrel into the ball in the direction the depth of the pitch de
As a Timing specialist, some have you may have heard me mention “The Timing Project”.
This has been in the works for 20 years.
“If what you’re doing in your training, BP, drills, even who you’re listening to…if the central focus is NOT timing…then you’re leaving out the single most important ingredient to hitting.”
These days you barely find coaches willing to talk about timing in a meaningful way.
The subject of timing has become almost become taboo.
Taboo for fear if you talk about how you feel when you’re timing is perfect…
that you’ll lose the feel as soon as you open your mouth.
Mostly, the idea that timing is forbidden subject, and that it’s just something you need to “DO” and not talk about, and do the best you can. The problem is – by not talking about timing, the hitters who experience good timing on a regular basis aren’t hearing their coaches talk about where timing comes from in the first place.
The issue is a good 95% of hitters simply don’t think about it. From day to day, they either have it or they don’t. Since such little is verbalized about timing, the vast majority of opinions sway towards “having a fast reaction
time and a short swing.”
When thinking about timing in this way [that it’s mostly reaction time], hitters become intentionally defensive, and the actual experience of perfect timing bears no resemblance.
When you’re in the zone, it’s like you already know what’s coming, and you can feel exactly when it’s coming. Becoming a great hitter is not about the counter punch.
It’s about becoming a sniper who sets up ahead of time, knows the target and never misses.
I’ll further describe the BIG problem, and give you what I know to be the obvious solution in a minute.
It’s rare to find a coach these days who will dare to claim to know anything more about timing than “SEE BALL HIT BALL”!
• Try and react on time!
• Be short and Quick.
• A to B.
• Dance with the pitcher.
• Be on time…
• Find the rhythm
…and my personal favorite
• “Wait back”
◦ I always figured, exactly how long are we going to wait?
◦ Till it’s time?
◦ Then if we’re gonna “wait back” till it’s time, then let’s skip the waiting back part, and just figure out how to be on time.
For generations, the best hitters just figured it out.
I was good at it but I wanted to know why it would come and go.
You don’t hear many hitting coaches talking about timing, because most don’t truly believe it can be taught; And so, if you don’t think timing can be taught, and that it’s somehow natural [coming from some mysterious place inside us], they inadvertently pass along their negative experience to their students [to the next generation].
Here are some basic beliefs about timing we can all agree on.
Hitting is timing!
Your swing has a time!
The pitch has a time!
You gotta learn how to match the two together.
You gotta match your swing time with the pitch time.
After 18 years playing professionally, and 20 years as a professional coach searching for answers, I’ve cracked the code.
I’ve figured out a no-brainer way to teach timing to hitters, even though most players and coaches have resigned to the fact that it’s a mystery.
Guess what? It’s not a mystery anymore!
I’ve done the work.
It’s research I’ve been accumulating for over 50 years, through trial and error, competing, coaching, testing, and refining the process of timing mastery, finding the easiest way to communicate timing, with several explanations that have work 99 out of 100 times.
So most people think timing has to do with reaction time.
1. Reacting quicker.
2. Reacting faster.
3. Reacting more consistent.
4. Recognizing the pitch earlier
5. The mainstream has generally come to the conclusion that timing is more or less being a great “counter puncher”.
6. Seeing the ball.
7. Letting the ball travel.
8. Having the perfect short swing.
They figure if they try all these tactics, they might end up quick enough to hit their pitch when it comes.
Here’s the thing though, and this is what every good hitter knows…
All the tactics and the experiences I’ve just described, are the favorite anecdotes the mainstream will give you about timing.
The fact of the matter is, most of what you hear, feels nothing like what the best hitters experience when they get hot.Most of what you hear, feels nothing like what the best hitters experience when they get hot. Click To Tweet
When you’re in the zone, it’s like you already know what’s coming.
Becoming a great hitter is not about the counter punch.
It’s about becoming a sniper who sets up ahead of time, knows the target and never misses.
I’ve been compelled to solve this puzzle, and I knew there had to be a way to teach timing. So ask yourself these questions:
• Do you want to learn to be a fierce competitive hitter?
• Do you want to be more consistent?
• Do you want to stand out?
• Do you want to be seen as the guy when he hits’ the ball, everyone stops to watch because you hit the ball so hard?
• Do you want your teammates see you as the one who always hits your pitch when it’s in your zone…and I mean you really crush it!
Hitting is probably the most difficult skill set in sports master. And yet it’s not natural to be good at something so difficult. Young players are thrust into competition before they know what they’re doing.
In all the other sports like gymnastics, martial arts, tennis, golf…shoot, every sport if you think about it is 90% preparation and 10% performance.
Yet baseball it’s 90% performance and 10% preparation.
No wonder the community is silent on how to really get better at timing.
How to improve the one thing that will make the most difference in their performance.
I’m going to say this statement again because it’s worth hearing it again.
It’s important you’re hearing it from me that this is paramount! “If what you’re doing in your training, BP, drills, even who you’re listening to…if the central focus is NOT timing…then you’re leaving out the single most important ingredient to hitting.”
There’s nothing natural about timing the pitch and hitting the baseball.
Ted Williams [the greatest hitter to ever live], hated it when people, fans, and reporters called him “The Natural Hitter”.
He always claimed there was nothing natural about his success.
He insisted it was hard work, preparation, endless rehearsing…BUT only when he figured out how to how to practice perfectly. Only when he learned to rehearse exactly how he wanted to repeat his performance in the game.
Meanwhile, if you’d like to get a head start on adding 75 feet of power through timing, I have added a new suite of courses.
Or if you want to talk, you can schedule a call ( be sure to put in the notes what topic you need help with).
All the best,