Winning Baseball: The Two Strike Approach

By Chance Reynolds, Former Professional Baseball Player

In the summer of 2010, there have already been two Perfect Games registered (well…actually, three, if you count Armando Galarraga’s outing in which Jim Joyce’s bad call with two outs in the ninth cost him a Perfect Game as well), and two more No-Hitters.  What makes this even more remarkable is the fact that prior to this season, there were only 18 Perfect Games recorded in history!  So what in the world could cause this remarkable change of events; a new pitching philosophy, a new pitch that no one has ever seen, more velocity, more control?  No, the truth is these Perfect Games have become possible now due to the extinction of a (former) staple of the game:  the Two Strike Approach.

When I speak to players today about having a Two Strike Approach, I often get a look of absolute befuddlement.  Players today do not understand how to move up in the box, how to move in on the plate, how to flatten out their bat, how to punch the ball the other way, and God forbid, choke up, in order to become a tough out at the plate.  They would prefer to swing for the fences at balls in the dirt while their batting averages suffer (and their teams suffer the consequences.)

In studying and teaching the Two Strike Approach, no one personified the ability to drive the ball early in the count, while “shortening up” and “putting the ball in play” better than Joe Dimaggio.  In 1941, the year Joe D. hit in 56 straight, few people know that he also hit 30 Home Runs that year, while striking out only 13 times!  He also had similar numbers in 1939 as well when he hit 30 more Home Runs, while striking out only 20 times that season.  And by the way, he was also named the American League M.V.P. at the conclusion of both seasons (and the Yankees also won the World Series both of those years!)

So how do we, as coaches, teach our guys to become better two-strike hitters? It’s really quite simple.  Physically speaking, it’s spreading out in the box (in order to keep your weight back), flattening out the bat (in order to hit line drives more consistently), looking the other way (to let the ball get deeper), and being quick with your hands (in order to be short to the ball).  Conceptually, it’s nothing more than moving two inches closer to the plate (to take away the outside pitch), moving two inches up in the box (to take away the curve ball), and choking up two inches on the bat (to have better bat control).  In other words, “2-2-2-2” (two strikes/two inches in/two inches up/two inches up on the bat).  Mentally, it’s finding a way to get on base, it’s competing at the plate, and it’s putting pressure on your opponent.

Ultimately, it’s playing Winning Baseball!

Former Professional Baseball Player, Chance Reynolds, is the Inventor of the Pitcher’s Nightmare Swing Trainer (www.pitchersnightmare.com).  Endorsed by 1991 N.L. M.V.P. and current Atlanta Braves Hitting Coach, Terry Pendleton, the Pitcher’s Nightmare Swing Trainer not only increases your bat speed, but teaches proper hitting fundamentals as well.

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