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Improve Your Timing with Josh Donaldson’s On Deck Process

By Bobby Tewksbarry, 09/11/15, 2:45PM PDT

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Republished from Tewkshitting.com

One of my favorite things to do when I attend games is film hitters when they are on deck. I believe it can reveal a lot of a hitter’s intent and mental process. I strongly urge players to watch the on deck process of hitters when they go to games and try to understand what they are trying to think and feel. You can even be a geek like me and bring your camera to film it!

This clip features 2015 MVP candidate Josh Donaldson before his first at bat of a game at Fenway Park.

In this clip, we can see Josh going through some practice swings while Ben Revere is getting ready for the first pitch of the game. My favorite part is at the end of the clip where he is rocking back and forth and “dancing” with the pitcher. He is shifting his weight from side to side to time up the pitchers delivery. You can even see when the pitch is coming in.

Here’s a closer look at that part of the clip:


 photo Donaldson-Josh-2015-09-On Deck.gif

I remember during batting practice before the 2015 Home Run Derby, Josh was taking his swings with this footwork – only more exaggerated. He is feeling his weight, he is establishing rhythm and timing. This movement is the polar opposite of a “stance”. He is creating a rhythmic motion that will be maintained all the way through contact.

Watching Josh do this reminded me of another one of my favorite hitters in the game – Joey Votto. Check out this clip of Votto from the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He draws a walk in this at bat but study his feet. The movements are considerably smaller than what Josh is doing, but it is the same concept and purpose!

Really study his feet throughout this video!

Are you using your time on deck to establish your timing? Josh doesn’t do this big footwork when hitting in a game – he is just using it to create good timing while on deck. This bigger, exaggerated movement will make you shift your weight which can really help you to feel your way through timing the pitcher! Try it out and see how it works for you.