Johnny Narron spent the 2017 season with plenty of aspiring major leaguers as the hitting coach for the Akron Rubber Ducks. In 2018, Narron stayed within the Cleveland Indians’ Organization, but now is the hitting coach for the Columbus Clippers.
Narron’s had plenty of experience coaching players at the plate. The 66-year old has had many destinations and baseball coaching opportunities, highlighted by a three-year stint as the hitting coach of the Milwaukee Brewers from 2012-2014.
If you were wondering what Narron emphasizes with the players when it comes to their swing, you came to the right place:
Well we look for our players mechanically to be on time. We look for them to stay square on the front side. See the ball to contact. Have a good hand path and bat path that keeps the barrel of the bat in the contact zone as long as possible. And we wanna make sure they connect the lower half to the upper half. That’s essential that they understand that kinetic length. Utilizing their legs to help their bat speed to get the power they want out of that bat. Not necessarily over the fence, but driving it through the infield, through the gaps and over the fence obviously.
When it comes to mental approach he had this to say:
As far as their mental approach…Each individual hitter is different. I try to get them to calm down, slow down, trust themselves. Sometimes the game speeds up on you…that’s something that’s a common thing from rookie ball all the way up to the major leagues—is not letting the situation get in the way—not allowing that, some perceive as pressure—that emotion get in the way of them performing. So I work with each individual player on that. They understand what he, what makes sense to him, what a key, or maybe a phrase, or a cue, that he can apply that when he gets to the batter’s box.
Here’s what Narron had to say about getting the Clippers’ players as ready as possible for game action:
Well they’re out here working every day. They’re in the cage and then we come out to BP. And we’re looking for quality work, we’re looking for quality swings, not just quantity and staying in the eye work of it. We wanna make sure that in—it starts in the cage and essentially they understand what the mechanics are and how we apply it to each individual…As you’ll watch a ball game you’ll see that each player has his own character, his own DNA, his own swing…We apply those five principles that I mentioned before (the five principles are from a previous quote written above in the article) to each and every player…The repetitions should carry over..it’s not something they need to be thinking about. We don’t want them thinking about mechanics when they get in the game and in the box ready to hit.
Narron made it clear that being positive is a big part of his coaching style:
I just continue to be positive with them (the players). Hitting is a art of failure really if you look at it. The best ones in the hall of fame failed 70 percent out of the time. So I just try to keep everything positive. I don’t ever talk about chasing balls out of the strike zone. I always talk about percentage of swings in the zone. I don’t ever talk about strikeouts. I always talk about having a successful two-strike at bat. And when we have runners in scoring position we try to keep it very simple—very simple and not try to give them too much to think about, but give them something—each individual player has something that keeps them confident and in a positive frame of mind.
The Columbus Clippers currently have a record of 35-35. They’ll be back in Columbus, Ohio at Huntington Park starting next Monday for a seven-game homestand that will extend into the beginning of July.