Now one last thing before we head into the tips segment. Because directional hitting doesn’t require a batter to place the bat on the ball, the timing windows are constricted in comparison to zone hitting in order to compensate for the inherently simpler user interface. Balance is always key, and while I can’t definitively confirm that one interface bears better results over the other, the mechanics were undeniably designed to be equally difficult in execution.
Okay. So now that we have a better understanding of how the mechanic works, how do we master it? Well, given the mechanic’s roots found in the classic timing interface, the key to hitting well with directional hitting stems from your ability, to, well, time the ball correctly. Even when the pitch lands in your DOI, the game still defers primarily to the user’s timing for hit dispersion. Hit the ball early, you’ll pull it. Hit the ball late, you’ll send it opposite field. But good timing is dependent on lots of practice. So practice a lot.
But there’s more to it than that. We must strategize while at the plate to make the most of the mechanic. For those that employ the “guess location” feature regularly, one can always sit on a pitch in their zone, then place the DOI in that direction after pitch location is revealed. A correct guess yields a bonus to player contact, and the subsequent movement of the left stick to match that location will supply a bonus to directional influence. Considering how pitch location will be guessed correctly in approximately one in five pitches, you can practically be assured that there will be a pitch you can adequately influence in each at bat.
Now personally, I don’t like to wait for a pitch in a particular zone. It’s too defensive. I prefer to be a bit more proactive; read each pitch and adjust accordingly. I want to be able to hit any pitch; not just one in a distinct zone. But as mentioned before, directional hitting doesn’t provide the user with the ability to control bat location, so matching your DOI with the pitch won’t necessarily yield greater results. So here is the greatest advice I can give you. And here it is. DO NOT look to influence ball direction on every pitch. Instead, use it sparingly, only when a specific situation justifies its use.
For example, if there is a runner on third with less than two outs, and you need to bring him home, a ground ball to the right side of the infield will suffice. So, throughout the course of that at bat, hold the left stick down or down and to the right, and you increase your chance of hitting a ball to the right side of the infield. Or, let’s take the same situation, you have a power hitter at the plate, and you want to bring that runner on third home with a deep fly ball. Just hold the left stick up throughout the at-bat to increase your chance of getting under a ball. It’s all very simple. Just don’t over complicate things by attempting to match your DOI with pitch location with each pitch.
So that’s all for this week. When breaking down the directional hitting mechanic to its core components, you’ll realize just how different it is from zone hitting, the knowledge of which provides us with greater insight as how best to utilize the feature to its maximum potential. And finally, I hate to be redundant, but with directional hitting, proper timing is always essential, regardless of what it is you’re trying to do at the plate. Don’t ever forget that.
Directional Hitting. Time the ball. Direct the ball. Simple.