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Number #1 Reason Hitters Struggle - Athletic Mission Tulsa Baseball Academy

The Number One Reason Hitters Struggle


How many of you hitters have struggled?

We all have, right?……hitting is hard.

But, what does this mean? How many of you think that because you are struggling that it means you need to:

    • get extra reps off the batting tee
    • get extra hitting sessions with your hitting coach
    • break down your video frame by frame

Be honest……

So what do you do when that doesn’t work?

Now, you are laying in bed :

    • thinking why can’t I get a hit?
    • thinking am I ever going to be able to hit like I know I am capable of?
    • thinking you are a total failure and letting your teammates and coaches down.

If you are having those thoughts, and these thoughts are keeping you up at night, remember this:

The #1 reason why hitters struggle on game day, is because you do not understand how to read the pitcher.

Getting a hit is hard, and when you level up and start facing pitchers that are just as good, if not better than you…. getting a hit gets even harder, and now hitters struggle,

Every pitcher is different, they all have different:

    • Setups
    • Deliveries
    • Tempo
    • Arm Slot
    • Pitches

So let’s break this down further:


There are three different setups the pitcher can choose from:

    • Left side of the rubber
    • Center of the rubber
    • Right side of the rubber

The setup gives us an idea of how we are going to perceive the ball, depending on his arm slot and pitches….

……how his pitches are going to play and where I choose to set up in preparation to give myself a chance to see the baseball.

If I am a righty hitter and the pitcher is a righty that sets up on the right side of the rubber…

….this is going to create an angle, a deception in which the ball will come across the plate.

This is going to create different movements if the righty pitcher sets up on the left side of the rubber.

Every pitcher is different and where he sets up gives you a better idea of how you need to approach him.


The pitcher’s delivery is the pitcher coming to the set position and proceeding to throw the pitch.

There are several ideas of different deliveries:

    • Full windup – raising their hands over their head moving into the leg lift
    • Semi windup – the hands stay in place
    • No windup – stretch position

The pitcher’s’ delivery tells us when we need to start our process as hitters. So, it’s important to read what he is doing and how that affects what you do in preparation to hit.

Something else we are taking into consideration is whether he has a:

    • methodological delivery
    • funky delivery

A pitcher with a hitch or funky movement in their delivery can be very distracting for a hitter…..

…..so reading this helps us understand how to best approach him and maintain focus through the pitch.

Every pitcher is different and his delivery gives you a better idea of how you need to approach him.


A pitcher’s tempo is the speed of which they go through their pitching motion.

There are several different ideas of tempo:

    • Slow
    • Fast

The pitcher that works fast and moves fast, requires a different approach….

…..than the pitcher who works slow.

This also gives us an idea of their ability to throw strikes and create velocity.

Every pitcher is different and his tempo gives you a better idea of how you need to approach him. 

Arm Slots

Reading the pitcher’s arm slot is very important as it tells us what pitches are potentially thrown and the movement in which pitches plays.

There are 4 different arm slot:

    • Overhead
    • High 3/4
    • Side Arm
    • Submariner

The more on top the pitcher is, the less movement their pitches tends to have…..

…the lower they drop their arm slot, the more their pitches tend to tail, cut, and drop.

This helps us understand what pitches or locations we are able to eliminate, and give ourselves a chance to have success.

Every pitcher is different and his arm slot gives you a better idea of how you need to approach him.


When it’s all said and done, everything that was discussed earlier in this post is to set us up to read the pitcher’s pitches.

Hitters are reading the following:

    • pitches
    • velocity
    • movement
    • location


There are three categories of pitches:

    • Fastballs – Four Seam Fastballs, Two Seam Fastballs, Cutter, Sinker
    • Breaking Balls – Curveballs, Knuckle Curveballs, Forkballs, Slider, Splitter
    • Off-Speed Pitches – Change Up

When you look at all the pitches, you also understand that every pitcher’s pitches are different….

….a fastball is not a fastball. There is pitcher A’s fastball, pitcher B’s fastball and then pitcher C’s fastball, etc….

Each pitcher has a different setup, delivery, tempo, and arm slot. So, a hitters approach against each of these pitchers is individualized to them.


An issue hitters have a problem with, is seeing speed. If your perceived image of a pitch is off, 5,6,7,8,9,10 mph, that is a lot.

But, most hitters are off that much and wonder why they are not able to have success against certain pitchers.

Hitters need to master the skill of being able to see velocity and position themselves to have success. 


Every pitcher’s pitches move, and they are forever trying to figure out how to make their pitches move more.

They are trying to miss the barrel and get weak hits, so the more their pitches move the better, for them….

…sucks for us as hitters. But, with clarity and understanding we can position ourselves to have some success.

There are four different trains of thought with pitch movement:

    • in and in the zone
    • in to out of the zone
    • out to in the zone
    • out to in to out of the zone (larger sweeping  slider)

Our ability to read the pitcher’s pitches and get a feel for how his pitches move, gives us an idea of how we need to approach them.


Location is what pitching is all about. Everything they do prior to throwing the pitch is about what is the best pitch, velocity, and movement to get into the location in which they can get us out.

Most pitchers are trying to master one or two different locations with their pitches.

This helps us understand where we need to focus in terms of where they are trying to throw their pitches, so we can develop an approach to give us a chance. 

The best hitters are sitting location more than they are pitch…..

……so this understanding now helps to figure out what pitch we should expect in this location.

If you don’t like the location, then we need to adjust our setup in the box to make this location our location.


Hitters need to understand how to read the pitcher, and I hope I was able to convey that through this article that this is the number one reason why hitters struggle. 

We cannot have a generic approach for every pitcher, which is what most hitters do and they wonder why they are struggling.

There are many videos of pitchers online, whether that is PBR, Perfect Game, YouTube, Twitter….

…….whatever it is there is so much access to video to study and get an idea of how you see the game.

Athletic Mission Tulsa Baseball Academy take an in-depth approach to teaching hitters to overcome this number 1 reason why hitters struggle. We are currently have 5 openings to help 5 hitters this off-season. If you want to make this the best off-season you ever had reach out at www.athletic-mission.com/contact-us

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