Effective Two-Strike Hitting
Coach Sam Piraro - San Jose State University
One of the most important areas of offensive baseball is the
ability to make good contact with two strikes.
The most successful pitchers have the ability to "turn it up a
notch" when they have the hitter in a two-strike situation.
Unfortunately, many hitters do not raise their level of
competitiveness accordingly. Not only does a hitter need to make
physical adjustments, but he must also turn up his mental focus
to prepare for the upcoming confrontation. It should be
"personal!" Here are some ideas in dealing with the two-strike
I. MENTAL OUTLOOK
Imagine yourself backed into a corner of an alley. Someone
confronts you and wants your last five dollars. You can either:
A. Submit and give up
B. Try and negotiate a settlement
C. Fight your way out of it
We would like players to have the "C" mentality.
II. PHYSICAL ADJUSTMENTS
A. Choke up on the bat slightly. Bat control is important
B. Move slightly closer to the plate. Take away the outside
C. Spread out slightly to insure balance
D. Slightly crouch to shorten the strike zone. This adjustment
helps in identifying and laying off the high pitch
III. MENTAL ADJUSTMENTS
Make it clear to the team that taking a third-called strike is
unacceptable. There is no doubt that sometimes a hitter is fooled
by a great pitch, and he cannot pull the trigger. However, this
situation requires a feisty, competitive mode.
A. Look fastball and adjust
B. Look to go up the middle and opposite field. Protect outside
C. Foul off any borderline strikes
D. Fight off or block off inside strikes
IV. ULTIMATE OBJECTIVE
Putting the ball in play has so many possibilities. Keep the
strikeouts down to find a correlation with run production. The
difference between ten strikeouts and six strikeouts in a contest
is huge! The difference with those four contacts can result in
any of the following:
A. Advanced runners
B. Forced errors
C. Bloop hits
D. Bad hops/lost in the sun
E. Frustrated pitcher
Effective two-strike hitting can be enhanced in practice
Establish count settings in the cages or in front toss drills.
Also include this package in a batting practice scenario live on
Players must understand the concepts and see the fruits of their
As a coach, be very positive and complimentary when players
compete in two-strike situations.
Sam Piraro has established himself as San Jose State
University's most successful baseball coach. In his 16 seasons as
head coach, the Spartans have compiled a .570 winning percentage
and on February 24, 2002 he recorded his 500th career victory.
Perhaps his biggest accomplishment came in 2000 when he piloted
San Jose State to its first College World Series in Omaha,
Nebraska. For his efforts, Piraro was named the 2000 Western
Athletic Conference "Coach of the Year." More than 65 of his
players have gone on to sign professional baseball contracts.
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