If you are going to be a hitter, a good hitter, one your teammates and coaches can depend on… then you need to know this: Learn how to “Shrink the Box”. OK.. you are probably saying “What the heck does that mean?” Well, this is a fundamental skill that all good hitters possess, and you should too.
Shrinking the Batter’s Box is having the ability to know when you are in the driver’s seat against the pitcher. You may be in that position because of the pitch count (elementary my dear friend – see Hit Chart) or some other factor, like the pitcher walking a couple of players in the inning. Or, you may simply see the pitcher very well and “own him” so to speak.
Whatever the reason, once you are in a position of command over the pitcher you simply have to “Shrink the Box”. The Box.. is the imaginary strike zone that the pitcher is trying to nip the edges of.
When you “shrink it” you are making a decision in your head that you want the ball right… there! Where you can pound it. Make the pitcher pay.
Be aggressive when you get it in your small little box and confident that this is “your turf… Don’t go there!” That is the mindset of “Shrinking the Box”.
Typically, a hitter gets into this mindset when the count is greatly in his favor.. like 2-0 or 3-1. This is why you see professional hitters take a pitch right down the middle on a 2-0 count. I know.. it makes me crazy too : )
But, the truth is he may have been looking for the pitcher’s off-speed pitch.. or he may have wanted it down.. or “in” just a bit. The hitter made a small box to look for a pitch and the pitch either didn’t get there.. or he was fooled by the speed. Which brings me to the next point about “Shrinking the Box”.
Hitting is Timing. There is no disputing this fact. It is as true now as it was when Ty Cobb played. So, with that in mind.. when you “shrink your box” .. pick a speed! If you have the luxury of deciding “where you want the pitch” you have the luxury of choosing a speed!
I hope this helps you to Be A Better Hitter!
by Buz Brundage