My first rule of hitting was to get a good ball to hit. I learned down to percentage points where those good balls were. The box shows my particular preferences, from what I considered my “happy zone” - where I could hit .400 or better - to the low outside corner - where the most I could hope to bat was .230. Only when the situation demands it should a hitter go for the low-percentage pitch.

   Since some players are better high-ball hitters than low-ball hitters, or better outside than in; each batter should work out his own set of percentages. But more important, each should learn the strike zone, because once pitchers find a batter is going to swing at bad pitches he will get nothing else. The strike zone is approximately seven balls wide (allowing for pitches on the corners). When a batter starts swinging at pitches just two inches out of that zone (shaded area), he has increased the pitcher’s target from approximately 4.2 square feet to about 5.8 square feet - an increase of 37 percent. Allow a pitcher that much of an advantage and you will be a .250 hitter.