HITTERS - Hunt the ball like a Cheetah - 3 lessons to Improve Hitting Performance

Uncategorized Aug 12, 2019

Many years ago - I was mentoring a 14yr old baseball player in Texas.

A talented kid - but struggling to consistently hit in games the way he did in practice.

I was new to Mindset and Peak Performance Coaching at the time - and had gone through all the relevant “BEAST” lessons that I had been taught by my Mental Performance Coach during my Career.

As I do with most problems that I haven’t found the solution to yet - I found myself up late one night looking through books and thinking of new ways to help the young man.

After finally calling it a night from “work” - I clicked on the television and began watching a documentary on Animal Planet.

The show that night was on the animals of the Serengeti in Africa - and not long into it, they began to talk about the lives of Cheetahs.

Now I love animal shows in general - but I became glued to the screen that night when I started noticing similar characteristics between a Cheetah in its hunt AND a Hitter (I actually believe it relates to ALL sports).

I wrote down several “performance lessons” from the Cheetah that had to come to me that night - BUT three stood out in the front in my mind.

I scheduled a call with the young hitter a couple of days later and here’s what I shared with him…


The FIRST lesson that the Cheetah has for us Hitters - It keeps it’s FOCUS simple and on ONE target at a time.

A Cheetah when looking for dinner - may come across a huge herd of gazelles or antelopes (there may be hundreds of them).

A young or inexperienced Cheetah will chase after the entire group - hoping to run into one.

A strategy that has proven to lead to failure for the Cheetah.

But an experienced and wise Cheetah - will focus on one animal - keeping its head/eyes on that target and putting all its energy, focus and determination into the pursuit.

I told the young hitter - in the batter’s box at game time - there’s only ONE target for you, too. AND IT'S THE BALL!

Any thought about your mechanics, any thoughts about what your coaches, teammates or parents are thinking about you - even thoughts on what the pitcher “might” throw…

Is too many - and a distraction. All of your focus, your energy, and your determination needs to be on ONE thing - THE BALL.

The SECOND lesson - a Cheetah is known as the fastest land animal on the planet with top speeds over 70 mph.

YET - How do they start off?

Do they see the gazelle or antelope and immediately take off full speed after it?

NO! The Cheetah is calm. The Cheetah is patient. And the Cheetah slowly stalks its prey!

They sneak slowly - inches at a time. Slowly building up to a fast walk, a jog or trot - waiting for the last possible moment that it can before unleashing its full speed towards the target!

I loved this analogy for hitters. In the batter’s box - staying calm and patient. Eyes focused on the target. Loading slow and under control - like a stalking Cheetah - until their front foot lands and the decision is made to unleash their swing on the pitch.

(Watching video of the young hitter - this was the key metaphor I wanted him to keep in his mind and apply)

The THIRD lesson - that night watching the documentary I was surprised to learn something new about Cheetahs.

The Narrator said - that it is not the fastest Cheetah’s that are the most successful…

It is the Cheetah’s that are the most agile and able to adapt to the cutting maneuvers of their prey!

A lesson that I understand well from my own career - but what a new and great visual to explain to the young hitter…

That it is not raw talent that leads to success - but the ability to make adjustments on the fly!

The Cheetah and Hitters - must be able to respond, react, and adjust to their opponents to be successful -

And when they follow the first two lessons - keeping themselves focused on one target and staying calm, patient before the attack…

BOTH ARE ABLE TO STAY IN RHYTHM, BALANCE, AND TIMING (keys to great hitting right there) - to make the slightest shifts and changes that are necessary to get the result they desire.


That night - I learned a lot about Cheetahs and what they have to offer us as guides to our Athletic Success.

It was the first “animal performance lesson” that I created for PLAY LIKE A BEAST -

At the end of the call with the young hitter - I spent several minutes walking him through a visualization where he could see and feel himself hitting successfully in the next game like a Cheetah.

Locked in on his one target. Staying calm and patient - slowly building up the energy until it was the right moment to unleash.

Two days later - I got an outstanding text update of his successful game.

And they continued to come in again and again - as he went on a tear the last few weeks to finish the summer season.

So - whether a Hitter, Pitcher or an Athlete of a different sport - just remember…

That it is not raw talent that leads to success - but the ability to make adjustments on the fly!

Just like a Cheetah.

Until Next Time,

Aim High, Swing Hard and PLAY LIKE A BEAST!

- Jason Botts


 Jason is an Advanced Mindset Trainer, Performance Strategist, and former Major League Baseball Player. When not playing catch or shooting hoops with his own two sons - Jason trains, mentors and coaches Athletes of ALL ages to Increase their Performance, Achieve their Goals and 'Live the Dream.' 

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