I am more than excited to have the opportunity to pick the brain of a NFCA Second Team All-American and hands down the most dominate leadoff batter I have ever seen. Kristina Prater Andrews, or as we called her "KP", was a right handed batter that outsmarted the defense to get on base. Here she shares her tips on how to dominate as a leadoff batter.
The goal of the lead off batter is TO GET ON BASE. If she leads, everyone else follows suit. Her mentality should be selfless and willing to do everything it takes to work the pitcher and the count as much as possible, so the players behind her have the opportunity to see the different pitches and spots the pitcher is able to hit.
This means being smart, studying the strike zone, and pitchers to better understand what the spin of each pitch looks like as well as the different motions and wrist movements of pitchers.
Players can learn to recognize these things by watching film, talking to pitchers, and catching their fellow pitchers when they need to throw a bull pen.
The lead off batter should work on making adjustments to different situations in the cage during practice as well as live pitching by teammates, so she can prepare herself to go deeper in the count.
The lead off batter also needs to be able to read the defense and understand who the best players on the field are so she has multiple weapons in her arsenal This means prior to each inning she is studying the defense when they are warming up. She is looking to see who has the best arm as well as the body language of the players on the field to determine personal confidence. If a player on defense is showing negative body language and a lack of confidence, this means the lead off batter may have an opportunity to drop a drag bunt and capitalize off mistakes to create a positive inning for her team.
Ultimately the lead off batter is not driven by batting average or individual success, she is driven by on base percentage and runs scored. If she can just get on base, she knows her teammates will finish the job.
Thanks KP for the tips! Leave a comment for KP below..