Mets third baseman David Wright once said “When you’re in a slump, you go to bed at night and you lie there and your mind is racing and you think about everything imaginable: your bat model … your bat size … your pitch selection … how you are wearing your pants, but when you’re going good, you sleep very well.”
Hall of Famer Frank Robinson had one of the greatest rookie seasons in baseball history, but in his second season, he had an 0-for-20 slump, and 35 years later acknowledged, “I didn’t think I was ever going to get another hit.” In the middle of what would be seven straight terrific seasons with the Rockies, outfielder Dante Bichette said, “Every day I come to the ballpark, I wonder if this is the last day that I’ll be able to hit in the major leagues.”
Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt said “When I was really going bad, even in the prime of my career, if you had told me that I would have a better chance of hitting with my back to the pitcher, I would have tried it. You’ll do anything to get out of a slump.”
So if slumps are inevitable, what can you do or say to a help your young player get through it?
If there is a flaw in the mechanics of the swing, you can record your player’s swing (I like the App ubersense) and seek out a hitting instructor. Send the video or go in person. Often, a qualified hitting instructor will be able to identify the flaw and get your young player focused on the correct approach. (Looking for a hitting instructor? Go Here)
Also, being a fan of the mental side of the game, I really like these two suggestions from Baseball Slump Busting; Stop Thinking And Start Humming! Posted on theoleballgame.com
- Stop Thinking And Start Humming. Many times slumps are caused by too much thinking and not enough trusting and reacting. Too much thinking gets in the way of execution. To clear your mind, try humming a tune to yourself. Everyone has a song that they can relate to relaxing them, or getting them jump started. It will help you relax and will occupy your mind on the song and away from the critical and analytical thinking.
- Trying Smarter Often Works Better Than Trying Harder. Too often players think that trying harder will get them out of a slump. If a key does not fit in a lock, trying harder to force it in is not going to help. Usually, it is better to take a step back, assess the situation properly, and then come up with a smarter strategy.