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On-deck circle


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11 replies to this topic

#1
pinchrunner

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What kind of mental and physical routine do you recommend for the on-deck circle?

#2
sneekyfeet

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i recomend something that will not only prepare you for the pitcher but something that "pumps you up!"

i always used to take a few swings while looking at the pitcher for speed. Then i would do some jumps while pulling my knees real high to get my blood pumping!

i've also tried using a "donut" so that the swing is harder when you're practicing. when you step into the batter's box without the donut, your swing seems much faster & easier!

#3
SpartanIlliniCub

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Sneekyfeet makes some great points! The most important thing to do is develop a routine that you do exactly the same every time you are in the on-deck circle. You want your hitting to be consistent, so you should prepare for consistency at the plate by developing a consistent routine while on-deck. Another important thing to do is use a donut before going to the plate. The extra weight the donut adds makes your muscles adjust, and after you take it off the bat will feel light as a feather.

Make a consistent on-deck routine, and make a donut part of that routine.

#4
CatOsterFan

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My softball number is 6. So I always take six swings with the donut on, then I take the donut off and swing the bat lightly to tap the inside of each of my cleats, left then right. I tap left-right, left-right, left-right, until it adds up to 6, then i take 6 swings with the donut off. I do this every time i go up to bat. If the batter in front of me fouls a couple off and their at-bat takes a long time, i will put the donut on and start my routine over again.

#5
CASoftballPlayer

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When I am in the circle, timing is my first thought in mind. I pretend I am in the batters box and time the pitch. When the pitcher releases the ball, I swing. First though, I do a few swings while the batter that is up gets ready, and then after the first pitch is when I do the timing. Then once I am in the batters box, I am ready to go to work.

#6
Hackster10

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I agree with CASoftballPlayer! I time the pitcher while I'm in the on deck circle. Timing is a key part of being an effective hitter, and the best time to practice is when you can actually swing to the motion of the pitcher. One additional thing—when I'm on deck is I look at what kind of pitches the pitcher is throwing and how effective they are. If I notice she is throwing a great rise ball that day, I know to try and lay off anything that is starting high. If she has a dynamite change up, I know to look out for that when I am behind in the count. The on deck circle is a great place to get mentally and physically ready for your at-bat!

#7
ecd2

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Tests have shown using weights or heavy bats to increase bat speed actually slow it down. Training with light bats actually will increase your bat speed. Weights, or weighted bats, should be used for warming the muscles and preparing them for swinging the bat. This all comes down to fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers. This can get complicated; however, if you remember,"Train fast to be fast" this information will help you. As for when you are in the box, think every pitch is a strike so you are ready to hit it. If it's not, you just stop. Fastpitch players do not have time to make decisions the other way.

#8
Titan09

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Wow, I had no idea that using a heavy bat in the on-deck circle actually has a slowing effect on my swing. Good to know though—thanks ecd2. Also, I agree that initially thinking every pitch is a strike and then adjusting if it is not is a great way to be thinking and acting aggressively in the box.

As for the on-deck circle, I briefly work to physically prepare myself by taking a few swings to get my timing down, but I do not do too much because I figure I am already very physically prepared from the hours of practice prior to the season. I mostly use my time in the on-deck circle to mentally prepare myself. I tend to do a lot of "self-talk" in the circle. I try my best to keep it as positive as possible and push any negative thoughts out of my head. I go over the game situation in my head so I can figure out if I need to be hitting behind the runners, if I should make the pitcher throw me a strike because she is struggling, or if I can go out and be very aggressive. Pretty much, I think about how I should be thinking once I get into the box. I also do other things that keep my mentally prepared. Anybody who has superstitions with their routines knows that if these routines are not performed correctly you will not feel prepared stepping into the box. I fiddle around with my batting gloves, tap the toes of my cleats on the ground and hold the bat a certain way while I am waiting for my turn.

So, while I agree that the on-deck circle is important for physical and mental preparation, for me, the mental preparation is most vital.

#9
ecd2

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This "slowing" effect is caused by fatigue in the muscles. Using a weight, or weighted bat to warm the muscles up and preparing them for the swing is fine as long as the muscles have enough time time to return to the normal state. Swinging a bat is an anerobic excercise, just like a sprinter, so there is no oxygen used in the swing.

Like I stated previously, the skeletal muscles have fast-twitch Type 2B, slow-twitch Type 1 and Type 2A. Type 2A is an "in between" type. Type 2A can act like a slow-twitch and a fast-twich. No one can change the amount of fiber types they have; however, if you train fast you can make the Type 2A act like a fast-twitch, which results in becoming faster. Or if you run a lot of long distance, or swing the bat slow, they will act like a slow-twitch. Whatever you do more of, that is what type 2A will act like. This is why you never see sprinters training by doing 10K runs or the opposite.

#10
jlurban

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You are so right, ecd2. In a landmark 1991 study on bat speed, Dr. Coop Derenne of the University of Hawaii-Hilo determined that warming up with a heavy batting donut in the on-deck circle is just plain wrong. Dr. Derenne used a photo-sensitive timer to measure how fast college players could swing a standard 30 oz bat following a warm-up with bats of various weights. Here are the results, ranked fastest to slowest:

1) 34 oz (overloaded) bat
2) 27 oz (underloaded) bat
3) 30 oz (standard) bat
4) 25 oz (underloaded) bat
5) 62 oz (power swing) bat
6) 23 oz (underloaded) bat
7) 58 oz (donut ring) bat

Although the results were somewhat mixed—a slightly overloaded (34 oz) bat was best, but an underloaded (27 oz) bat was almost as good—the heavily weighted batting donut (58 oz) was at the bottom of the list, and the heaviest bat (62 oz power swing) was near the bottom. As ecd2 has pointed out, one possible explanation is that warming up with these extremely heavy bats fatigues your fast-twitch muscle fibers.

As a former sprinter, I can attest to the fact that I would often exhaust myself before a race by doing too many practice starts. I was very worried about “pulling a muscle” during the event, and was also very nervous about getting out of the gate quickly, so I would run multiple short sprints out of the blocks to warm-up. When the starting pistol finally went off, I felt very relaxed and loose, but couldn’t find that “second gear” when I needed it. I had tired myself out!

#11
SpartanIlliniCub

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I know one thing. Babe Ruth would warm up with as many as 3 large bats before going up to the plate, and he sent balls out of the park with regularity.

Posted Image

Of course, Babe Ruth was also known to eat as many as 10 hot dogs and drink 10 soda pops each day.

#12
Coach Mike

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I third the caution about heavy swings in the on deck circle. On deck preparation starts when you are in the hole, on the bench and even before. Knowing the pitches she throws for her "out" pitches, what pitches she has overall, and what she likes to throw to get ahead in the count is critical. If the game has gone on long enough that you have an idea about that, then you can concentrate on knowing what your plan is when you get up to the plate. Are you camping on an inside third (part of the plate) until you get your first strike, or is there a man on base situation that calls for you to do something different?

- Know the pitcher and tendencies.
- Have a plan when you go up to the plate.
- Time up the pitcher with your plan in mind.




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