There’s a lot of controversy in the game today regarding a two-strike approach: should you have one or should you still be trying to do the most damage possible? My answer is “why can’t you do both?” I always teach my hitters to have a two-strike approach, but that doesn’t mean that you still can’t do damage when you're behind in the count. I like to think of a two-strike approach more like an adjustment that you have in your back pocket and not something to be used every time you get to two strikes, and here’s why...
My two-strike approach evolved from working with my two college hitting coaches; shout out to Stacy May-Johnson and Adam Arbour! I used to struggle with hitting an outside pitch, so I turned my focus in practice to exactly that. My approach became “look outside, react in.” I was confident in my ability to let loose on an inside pitch once I recognized the location. This helped me to maintain my posture in order to drive an outside pitch to the left-center gap.
From there, I added another piece that eventually became my two-strike approach. I would go to a wide stance and no stride. I refer to this as my two-strike approach, but I also went to this approach to start at-bats if I ever had a day where I felt uncomfortable in the box.
Some examples of times when I would start at-bats in my “two-strike approach” were when the pitcher I was facing threw gas (Monica Abbott), or if the pitcher mixed speeds a lot, i.e. Sara Groenewegen and Megan Betsa in college. The biggest factor in my no stride approach with two strikes was that it limited my head movement, which in turn kept my eyes still and focused on the pitch.
Ultimately, I think a two-strike approach, when a player buys in, simply helps give them a confidence boost. The swing is still the same, but especially with my wide stance and no-stride, removing some moving pieces just simplified my swing. The less moving parts in a swing, the less there is to mess up. The biggest takeaway, though, is that you can still swing with intent to do damage and simplify your approach.