Above: Bryce Harper has been incredible this year. It's no coincidence that he is crushing the ball to the opposite field and wearing out the gaps!

Great hitters consistently drive the baseball to the gaps with authority. They look to drive the ball up the middle and to the opposite field gap and work off this approach to hit other pitches. In the higher levels, the hitters who separate themselves are the ones with the fewest “holes” in their swing that the pitcher can exploit. If you want to get an inner half mistake pitch—you must learn to drive the ball the other way and up the middle.

When a pitcher sees that you can drive the baseball to the opposite field gap with authority, he will tend to tighten up because he knows you cover the whole plate. This causes even more mistakes to be thrown. Conversely, if you are looking to ‘pull’ only, it gives the pitcher the outer two-thirds of the plate from knees to armpits to get ahead in the count. Pitchers at the higher levels can easily accomplish this.

The gap-to-gap approach will also improve your physical swing. Remember: the mental approach and the physical swing are connected. In order to hit an opposite field double in the gap, you must keep your front side in longer during the swing. This allows you to stay on an off-speed pitch moving away from you and drive it. The barrel of the bat now stays in the hitting zone longer—leaving more room for error. That is always a good thing in the game of baseball.

Sure, you may get jammed from time to time when a pitcher paints the inside corner, but good hitters get jammed every so often. They rarely pull-off pitches—or jump out in front and hit the ball off the end of the bat.