Hitting Fundamentals - Timing
Timing is essential to becoming a great hitter. Learn from Amanda on how to develop and practice your timing as a hitter.
Hitting Fundamentals: Timing
Amanda Lorenz reveals the secret to always being “on time” at bat.
Timing is everything as a hitter.
As a player progresses through the ranks in baseball or softball, they face increasingly sophisticated pitchers.
Being able to hit any type of pitch—drop ball, curveball, change up, screwball—becomes a necessity.
In the big leagues, it’s not enough to wait for a nice juicy fastball to float across the plate. You have to be able to connect with breaking pitches under challenging conditions.
This won’t always look pretty.
The best hitters aren’t the ones who wait for a perfect pitch and make it seem easy. They’re the ones who dig in. Show some grit and tenacity. And get a hit in circumstances where others would fail.
Up today, one of the greatest hitters of all time—Amanda Lorenz. Is going to show you just how to do that.
In the first lesson of her series on hitting fundamentals, Amanda breaks down everything you need to know about timing.
The Benefit of Experience
One of the challenges in teaching timing to hitters, is that it’s as much about thinking as it is movement.
Many aspects of hitting—like Developing Into a Power Hitter—focus primarily on biomechanics.
Any experienced coach can take an athlete through the correct positions of their swing to improve performance. But when it comes to something like timing, some aspects are best taught by a player who’s out there in the field.
Someone facing off against pitchers like the ones you’re trying to beat. Who understands the physical aspects of timing—but also knows the mindset required to succeed.
That's why we chose Amanda Lorenz for this training session. She brings the unique perspective of an elite athlete and a talented coach.
Lorenz made waves in college softball, being named USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and is a 4 x NFCA All-American.
She was ranked inside top 5 in the NCAA for runs, doubles, total bases, walks, and games played. Impressively, Amanda reached base safely in 254 out of 265 career games, including an unbroken 67 game streak in 2018.
Lorenz was the number two overall pick in the National Pro Fastpitch Draft, beginning her professional career with the USSSA Pride in 2019. In 2020, she was named the Florida Gators’ Volunteer Assistant Coach.
This article is based on the first in a series of training videos on hitting fundamentals Amanda produced with Versus.
You can get access to this video, plus the rest of the exclusive program—by signing up for one of our game plans.
We have packages to suit everyone's needs, including a free option to see if Versus is right for you.
But now, let’s get into the first of Amanda’s secrets to always being “on time” at bat.
The Golden Rule
The beauty of Lorenz’s advice on timing is its simplicity.
Her entire process for mastering timing at bat boils down to one principle:
“Be on time for the fast—adjust for the slow.”
Amanda’s core belief is if she’s always prepared for the pitcher’s fastest throw, she's good enough to adjust for any slower pitches.
To get this right, Amanda always initiates load to start the timing of her swing the instant the ball leaves the pitcher’s glove.
This is what she means by initiating load.
The key to getting this first step right is consistency.
Timing is different for everybody. You might choose to initiate load at a slightly different point of the pitcher’s windup. That's ok. But, whatever you do—make sure it’s consistent.
Whether it's at practice or in game. Keep your approach, set up, and load the same every time. This will make sure you’re well placed to hit anything fast the pitcher throws your way.
Once you’ve dialed this in, you can move on to the next step—adjusting for the slow.
Adjusting Like a Pro
One of the biggest misconceptions about great hitters is that it’s somehow easy for them.
That they have some secret skill the rest of us don’t possess.
Amanda reminds us,
“Great hitters are not perfect. Actually, they’re just the best at understanding you don’t need to be perfect to be successful.”
One pitfall Lorenz warns against is guessing pitches. She believes this sets a hitter up for failure—by relying on perfect conditions that may never arrive.
Instead, set up for the fast. If that’s what you get, great. You’re in the perfect position for a good swing.
If you don’t get a fastball—be ready to adjust.
It might not look pretty. You will probably be hitched up in a bad position. But with the right mindset and technique, you can still get in a good hit.
In terms of mindset, Amanda’s approach is very straightforward. She reminds herself over and over, “I am a good enough hitter to adjust soft.”
This gives her the confidence to fully commit to setting up for a fast pitch. While being prepared to switch in an instant if it turns out slow—even if she’s in a bad position.
Now, let’s look at the next secret to making adjustments.
Legs Can Be Fooled—Hands Can’t
To be ready for any pitch that comes her way, Lorenz accepts that her legs might get fooled. This is the price she pays to always be prepared for the fast.
To compensate, Amanda has a system in place to ensure her hands never get fooled.
As long as a hitter keeps their hands back—like this:
They won’t get caught in a completely unworkable position, such as this:
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve got hitched in big situations and my body was in a really bad position,” states Amanda. “But because I understand, and have proven to myself that if I keep my hands back I’m able to adjust—that’s all that matters here.”
Lorenz explains that the hit you get might not be a home run or a double in the gap. But for her—the confidence of knowing that with two strikes “I’m still able to just poke this ball wherever I want to, and know I’m going to win at bat” is worth it.
In terms of body positioning, here’s what it looks like to adjust from a fast to a slow pitch.
Weight overloaded on the front side, but hands still back.
Engage the core and go into “fight mode.” The goal is to maintain what position you have. Amanda’s cue is “Resist. Resist. Resist.”
Figure out a way to dig in and hit against that change up—even if it feels ugly.
Three Plate Drill
Lorenz believes timing is mainly developed through in-game adjustment.
Each player must dial in a consistent point to commence their load and set up, based on close observation of the pitcher.
However, there is one drill she recommends to improve timing—the Three Plate Drill.
As the name suggests, this drill uses three plates to get used to hitting pitches at different speeds.
Here’s how to set it up.
You can use this with soft toss or a machine.
Start in the middle. And while keeping the machine or person throwing in the same position—take a couple of hits from the front and back plates.
As you go through the drill, keep Amanda’s advice on timing in mind: Be on time for the fast and adjust for the slow.
Practice setting up for the fast at the front plate. Really dial in that quick setup and be on time for a good fastball.
Move to the back plate. But keep your setup the same as at the front plate.
Let your legs (but not your hands) get fooled—then practice adjusting to still get a good hit in. That’s where the value of the Three Plate Drill comes in.
Prove it to Yourself
If your head is hurting at this point, don’t worry—this was one of the more complicated training sessions so far.
In one 8-minute video, Amanda Lorenz covers all the mental, physical, and philosophical aspects of timing for hitters.
We had to go through it a few times to let everything soak in…
To really get a firm grasp on this session, we recommend signing up to access the video and the other lessons from this series.
Until then, here’s a recap of Amanda’s top 5 tips for always being on time at bat:
- Be on time for the fastest pitch—adjust for the slow. Dial in a consistent point to initiate load, based on the pitcher’s windup. This will be unique to each hitter and will require experimentation.
- Decide that you can and will adjust. If you don’t plan to adjust for different pitches, it will never happen. Being the type of hitter who can adjust at the drop of a hat is as much about choice as it is skill.
- Perfection isn’t necessary to be successful. The best hitters know that to be successful, they have to perform in imperfect situations. Accept the fact that hitting from awkward positions is part of the game.
- Legs can be fooled—hands can’t. Risking the legs getting fooled is the price a hitter pays to be prepared for the fast pitch. As long as your hands stay up, you can still adjust and get a hit.
- Prove it to yourself. Timing is about confidence. And to have confidence that you can hit in challenging circumstances—you need to prove it to yourself. Use the Three Plate Drill in practice. Decide to adjust when at bat during games. Prove to yourself that you can be on time for the fast and adjust to the slow, every time.
If you liked this article, head over to Versus to read more of our write-ups of Amanda Lorenz’s exclusive training sessions. You’ll also find articles with advice from other softball legends, like Jennie Finch and Tim Walton.
Better yet, if you want to take your training and development to the next level—sign up for one of our game plans.
You can try the Versus platform out for free. While the standard and premium options provide access to unlimited video sessions, future course content participation, and exclusive interactive content from our roster of elite athletes and world-class coaches.
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