How To Get Out Of A Hitting Slump

Today we have a guest post from Larry Cicchiello, who is the successful author of “Excellent Baseball Coaching: 30 Seconds Away.”

(Craig, the Mental Toughness Trainer added some mental training tips on this topic below Larry’s article)

Hitting SlumpVery simply, a baseball hitting slump occurs because of something that you are now doing that is mechanically incorrect when swinging the bat or it can be something that you were doing correctly and now you are not doing it. In other words, either you have developed a bad habit or have gotten away from a good habit.

One of the reasons we have hitting coaches is because even the great hitters, some who are professionals, occasionally get off track. No matter how good a hitter you are, it can be a very common problem to fall into the much dreaded drought of hits. That’s one of the reasons a very good hitting coach is extremely valuable.

Rather than focus on the entire swing, focus on specific areas to narrow it down as to where the problem is. It’s very helpful to divide a player into two sections, his lower half of the body and his upper half. Use a clip board and block your view of the player’s upper body and focus solely on the lower part, to make sure the hitter’s “foundation” is okay. If all seems okay with the lower half, block the lower half with the clip board and focuses on the upper half. Sometimes changing the angle that you are watching the batter will help also. When advising the hitter, always remember that visual is better than verbal.

Hard work, practice and several repetitions are the best remedies for curing a mechanical problem. Some hitters try different methods to end their problem as quickly as possible. Some try to hit the ball the opposite way. The theory is that they will have to wait on the ball and let it come to them, instead of being too anxious and not “staying back” on the pitch. Some try to hit the ball right up the middle of the field. The theory here is that usually, if you hit the ball up the middle, a lot of things have to be done properly, such as your timing.

Common Causes For Poor Hitting:

1. Check your swing from Point “A” to Point “B.” Point “A” is where you load up, cocking the wrists and the hips. Point “B” is where you make contact with the ball. Make sure that you are going A to B in a straight line. You must swing directly to the baseball! The slightest loop in your swing causes you to lose a fraction of a second. A fraction of a second is an eternity when it comes to hitting a baseball. The very start of the baseball swing is a downward movement and is not level at all. The back of your bottom hand faces the pitcher at the start of the swing and only at contact should you have one palm up and the other palm facing down.

2. Make sure that your front hip is staying closed and not opening up too early.

3. Make sure that your front shoulder stays closed until the pivot foot and hips open the front shoulder.

4. Make sure that your back shoulder is not collapsing and going lower than your front shoulder.

5. Make sure you are getting good pitches to hit. When in a slump, it is a very common problem to swing at bad pitches. The very natural tendency is to get a hit and have your slump be a thing of the past. Looking for that all important hit can easily cause you to be too anxious and chase bad pitches.

When you have figured out what the mechanical problem is, you can make good use of the “soft toss drill” so you can repeat the rediscovered proper way many, many times. You can get many repetitions without even being at the ball park and making good use of the “soft toss” will speed up the time it takes to get back on the right track. You can hit a hundred balls in no time at all.

One of the better baseball coaching tips to remember is that all players deal with this issue, even the best in the world. Hang in there, get to work and you will get back on the right track.

To get more great tips go to:


Hitting SlumpCraig, the Mental Toughness Trainer:

A whole host of mental problems arise out of a prolonged period of not getting hits.  My first piece of advice is to not use the word “slump” to yourself or to anyone else. That word alone has a lot of negative meaning behind it that probably has nothing to do with the hitter’s problem, but we take on all of that meaning when we start using negative self talk.

Getting back to hitting well starts with the idea that you are the same person no matter what’s going on with your game.  Aren’t you always working on improving your hitting? Don’t you always want to learn more about the pitchers in your league? You should be giving yourself pep talks about your hitting whether the hits are falling or not.  Emotional mastery is the key to getting out of those down times. Without it, you’re likely to re-create the conditions that got your swing off track in the first place.

Secondly, your goal should not be to get hits, to get on base, or to get out of your problem. Your goal should be simply to hit the ball solid and hard. You want to get back to fundamentals – your swing and your mental game.

1. Make sure you are following your planned pre-batting routine at the plate.

2. Pre-live how you will think when you are in the batter’s box and following your game plan for this pitcher.

3. Adopt the attitude that you are a machine up there. Focused on the ball leaving the pitchers hand. Period.

4. Get your reps in at practice using the tools above and commit to using them in the game. You can’t think one way during practice and another way in the game and expect the results to be the same.

And that’s just the beginning of learning of mental toughness and self talk. If you want that competitive advantage for your young athlete, go to: Perform Under Pressure for free video training to turbo-charge confidence, build resiliency, and learn life skills through participation in sports.

Hitting Slump


Welcome to the Winner’s Circle!

Craig, the Mental Toughness Trainer

I’ve got a few more tips on the mental side of the game, check out these videos and articles:

6 thoughts on “How To Get Out Of A Hitting Slump

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    1. Joseph Moccia, MD

      Wendy, I was still much interested in slumps after my baseball and softball career ended when I entered med school, so rather than return home to my parents and sisters during the summers, I decided to do extra work to learn more about slumps. When I was performing an autopsy once our assistant prof spotted a baseball book of mine on a chair and asked me: “tell me, did you come to med school to learn medicine or baseball? I answered: “Can’t I do both?” This satisfied him. So I had an obsession to learn the anatomy and physiology involved. After graduation, while practicing medicine I was fortunate enough to borrow for two whole years from the U of Utah School of Medicine an integrating neurovoltmeter which measures tiny tension states of mental activities down to one ten millionth of a volt! I used it not only on patients to diagnose Tension Disorders (erroneously called stress disorders even by many doctors!), but also on slumping ballplayers. It is recognized that the brain is composed of two segments, the outer segment referred to as the cerebral cortex whose function is the conscious mind and the inner segment, part of the autonomic nervous system, whose function is the unconscious mind. Trouble arises from the existence of motor nerve cells (which initiate muscle contraction and thus movement in BOTH the external and internal segments). Initially, when learning through practice without pressure, movements are initiated by the motor n cells in the cortex, but at the same time, impulses are also being sent to the motor n cells in the inner segment of the brain, which thus is being programmed for automatic movements, so that eventually the pitcher uses his external segment not to move the muscles but to merely concentrate on the target, while the inner segment is used to direct the muscles automatically in a coordinated manner to deliver the pitch. Thus each segment of the brain performs its own separate function, rather than the outer segment attempting to concentrate on the target AND direct the muscles at the same time, which is conscious interference with the automatic delivery of the pitch, although not recognized by the player! So the goal is to develop to the point where the player allows each segment tp perform its own function WHILE UNDER THE PRESSURE OF COMPETITION. Practice (in which there is no penalty for failure) is necessary for programming the inner segment. For competition, where there IS a penalty for failure, the player must learn how not to consciously interfere with the automatic delivery of the pitch (or swing of the bat) directed by the unconscious mind. Well, Wendy, I must get ready to see a few patients who certainly need my help so this is all the time I can give you right now. Are you a player or a coach? I hope this helps at least as an introduction and allows you to see that attempting to cure a slump by changing mechanics is starting at the wrong end: the motor nerve cells in the brain send impulses down the spinal cord or the autonomic nervous system cords to the muscles. Finally, the muscles are stimulated to contract. What surprises me so greatly is that coaches who know absolutely nothing about slumps talk and write so much about them. Science must replace speculation!!!. Joseph Moccia, MD

      1. Wendy Lynne Post author

        Joseph, I am neither a coach or a player any longer, but a student of the mental side of the game and the unconscious mind. We also are big believers of training you mind verses focusing your time and attention solely on the physical drills. Sounds like you are incredibly busy but if you ever had the time we would love you to write an article we can share with our audience. Explaining the science behind this is fascinating! Are you an athlete or have kids in sports?

        1. Joseph Moccia, MD

          Wendy, my dear, I would love to write an article as you suggested but, among other things, must presently effect the cure of two young men whose parents contacted me re their sons’ very disturbing obsessions. One of these young men’s parents actually contacted me several years ago and at that time I promised a complete cure but their son refused to meet with me. I myself, of course, do NOT cure anyone, but merely educate and then train a person to cure him or herself, which can only be achieved by programming the sc mind to effect the cure. The sc is such a poor master but an excellent servant! I of course could write about the experiments and exercises themselves, which, once learned, ensure acceptance of any desired ideas by the sc mind, in turn bringing about their realization. But I learned decades ago that these training exercises must be done under close supervision, because, when attempted alone, as soon as the pupil goes off the track so to speak, he loses faith in the procedure and casts it aside, whereas when supervised, it’s such a simple thing to point out to the pupil his error and put him on the right track again. It once took me a full 45 minutes to train a patient, but on the first day all her previous thoughts of suicide (she had lost her husband) vanished and then she became happy again on the second day. She told me that her two adult children could not believe the sudden radical change and kept asking: “Mom, what happened to you?” If I can help in any way I certainly will. Best Wishes, Dr. Joe Moccia

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