5 Tips to Get Over the Fear of Getting Hit By Pitch, with Brandon Guyer
Many players – particularly young players – constantly grapple with the fear of being hit by a pitch. Some careers are even ended too early because this fear is never resolved.
If your favorite young athlete shares this fear, or even if you do, this blog has everything you need to know to get past the fear of getting hit by a pitch, coming from Brandon Guyer.
Who is Brandon Guyer?
Brandon Guyer had a successful MLB career and made an appearance in the world series. He’s thought of as a premier competitor – a man with incredible drive and focus – and now he’s a mental performance coach through his company, Major League Mindset.
Guyer is also the king of HBP’s (hit by pitch), taking enough of them that he earned the nickname “La Piñata.”
Throughout his big league career, Guyer was hit over 80 times, many of those pitches coming at 95 MPH plus. While some were more painful than others, he never got seriously hurt. Now, the subject matter expert of the HBP is working with Guardian Baseball to help put other athletes’ HBP fear to bed.
Brandon Guyer’s 5 Tips to Get over the Fear of an HBP
If you or your athlete is looking for a way past getting hit by a pitch, here are 5 tips from “La Piñata” himself.
First, know that it’s part of the game.
The reality is that everyone who plays the game long enough will get hit by a pitch at some point. Very rarely though will it result in injury, especially if you get out of the way properly.
Every game has a downside, but that can’t stop you from pursuing what you love. LeBron James doesn’t step onto a basketball court thinking, “What if I turn my ankle?” and Tom Brady never takes the field stressing over, “What if I hurt my knee?” These things can happen, but they’re all part of the game and much less likely to occur than the favorable outcome.
Second, step into the box focused on hitting the ball, not the ball hitting you.
If a person drives to a baseball game, he or she is probably thinking about the fun to be had, how the home team will play, or potential storylines from the game. That person is probably not thinking, what if I get in a car crash and don’t make it to the game?
In the same way, when a batter steps up to the batting box, he or she should always focus on the goal: hitting the ball. There’s no time to worry about the ball hitting you. Is there a chance that it does? Of course. But should that stop you from doing what you set out to do? Absolutely not.
Focus on the outcome you seek to achieve instead of getting bogged down in fear of the unlikely occurrence.
Third, it’s key to turn away from the pitch so that it hits your backside.
This is where science comes into play!
When it comes to the HBP, the best way to take a pitch is to let it hit your backside. Taking a pitch to the side, butt, or back will be much better than taking it to the ribs, elbow, etc., so to avoid the pain, you need to turn away from the incoming pitch.
But ear not, humans are naturally wired to sense danger and react, and if the pitch is coming in too close to your body for comfort, your eyes and brain will work together to send off warning signals. Naturally, you’ll avoid the pitch, or at least turn away from it.
In other words, evolutionary science dictates that you’re much more likely to turn away from a pitch than take it to the face, elbow, or anywhere else without your body reacting at all. In fact, not reacting to an inside pitch is an unnatural response, so even if you’re worried, trust the science that’s helped the human body survive for thousands of years and let your body do the work!.
Fourth, practice getting out of the way correctly by having someone throw wiffle balls or tennis balls at you.
In the same way you can practice fielding ground balls or catching fly balls, you can also practice getting hit by a pitch.
The best way to do this is by having someone throw Wiffle balls or tennis balls at you. This gives you time to familiarize yourself with the feeling of a ball coming in too close to comfort and gives you a low-consequence opportunity to practice turning away from an incoming pitch to control where it hits you.
Yes, pitches can come in fast, but the human body’s reaction time is incredibly fast, too. You can train yourself for these situations. The more reps you get turning away the right way, the more confident you will be in the game to do the exact same.
On top of that, mental preparation is important, too. That’s where visualization comes in.
Simply close your eyes and vividly imagine yourself getting hit hundreds of times. Each time visualize moving out of the way correctly, seeing yourself being ok, then running to first base.
Lastly, view being hit in a positive light.
Finally, understand that an HBP is a good thing!
While there might be a short sting of pain, you’ll be helping your team by getting on base, and personally, you’ll be raising your OBP. Think of it as if you just hit a single!
In some ways, a HBP is like getting an important shot from the doctor – you might not love the idea or feeling, but you know that, overall, it’s a positive thing for you to do down the road.
You may not totally expel the fear from your mind right away, but if you can build your confidence through reps, both mentally and physically, you’ll be heading in the right direction and the fear of getting hit will greatly diminish!
Now it’s your turn.
Now that you’ve learned Brandon’s 5 tips for getting over the fear of a HBP, it’s time to go practice what you just learned!
If you want extra reinforcement at the plate for you or your athlete, Guardian Baseball has a wide selection of protective equipment for batters.
And, as a thank you for reading this post, enjoy an ADDITIONAL 15% OFF your protective gear with code: PROTECTION15.