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Crack of the Bat
by: Aron Wallad
What is that sound that batters love to hear? That bang, that square hit, that crack of the bat. You know, as a batter, that you have just launched one. You know that the ball is taking off. You know you got your monies worth on that at bat.
Pitchers hate it. After a batter wacks that ball, the pitchers will look down at the ground, maybe curse (usually at themselves) or look to where the ball has been hit with an anguished look on their face. If you as a pitcher were giving up a lot of these solid hits, you knew your playing time was about to be over.
The other day, as I watched my daughter take batting practice from her new batting coach, my eyes shifted to another batter that was also being coached. Her swings were slow, the ball was glancing off her bat and trickling into the batting screen. Her hips were not rotating and there was no power being generated from her swings.
The coach then took some time with her to show her some techniques that would help her in her quest to hit better. They spoke for about 10 minutes. Or should I say the coach spoke for 10 minutes and the girl listened. She then jumped back into the batters box to practice taking some more swings at the ball.
As I gazed back and forth between my daughter and this other girl I realized that after about 20 more minutes of hitting and talking with her coach this girl was smacking the ball. Projectiles were streaming off bat. That loud crack from the bat was reverberating in the facility. That famous crack was heard on eight out of ten hits.
Then it dawned on me. That this is why I love this game so much. I loved that crack of the bat. I loved hitting the ball so right. I loved it when the ball went whistling in the air. Oh yeah, I enjoyed the other aspects of the game like base running, fielding, and throwing, but I was deeply passionate about hitting. The supreme challenge was why I started playing this game and why I continue to enjoy watching it today.
As I continued to watch my daughter, and this other girl hit better and better I could not help but feel an enormous amount pleasure. They were transforming in front of me. Whatever those coaches told them and whatever those two girls absorbed from their coaches was generating solid hit after solid hit.
I could not believe how happy I was for my daughter and this other girl. I found something wonderful about the sharing of knowledge and technique from generation to generation going on right in front of me. Both girls' intensity and willingness to learn made me realize that I was not the only one who loved the crack of the bat.