Due Up: David Bote details his at-bat routine and approach
Have you ever wondered what a player is thinking during an at-bat or how they get ready for a plate appearance?
Back in spring training in Arizona, David Bote joined Jason Heyward in pulling back the curtain for us on his routine and how he goes from the dugout to the on-deck circle to the batter’s box, with his process and approach each step of the way.
His routine has clearly been working in the early going, as he was tied for the team lead in RBI (5) through the first week of the 2020 season and was hitting .500 with a 1.783 OPS and 2 homers in 12 plate appearances.
Bote said he typically starts by checking out the pitchers in the dugout, looking at pitch usage and other data. As he’s grabbing his bat and helmet, he also checks in with hitting coach Anthony Iapoce or chats with his teammates that hit before him and gets their take on what they’ve seen from the pitcher so far.
Then he gets himself ready mentally and takes stock of the situation happening between the white lines.
“I’m playing the game in my head, like how it’s gonna play out,” Bote said. “So when I get into the box, I’m actually ready. So all the pre-thinking is happening now.”
When he steps into the box, he typically greets the home plate umpire and catcher on the first plate appearance of the day and then every at-bat, he has his own mental cue — making sure the Homewood Bat logo is facing him on and focusing on it for a moment.
“That’s a key for me,” Bote said. “It’s a mental check. Being present, that’s my cue that this is the only thing that matters — this pitch. Not last at-bat, not next pitch, not next at-bat.”
The 27-year-old wants to make sure he’s not overthinking things in the box and simply wants to have a plan and execute it.
So even when he comes up to the plate with his team chasing 3 runs with 2 outs and the bases loaded, he can be free to react to crush a low fastball into the center field bleachers for one of the most epic grand slams in Cubs history.
“Everything the same way,” Bote said. “It should not change on the preparation standpoint or routine or anything that gets you right — whether it’s the first inning or bases loaded, 2 outs in the 9th inning. It’s the same thing either way, so that when those situations do come up, you know what to do. It’s not like, ‘oh here we go now, I changed it.’ It’s like, ‘That’s my routine, that’s what I do to get me ready.’
“Whether it’s the first inning or the last inning, every at-bat matters. Once you’re in this box, that’s all you can do. Is my approach right? Yes. Was it the pitch I wanted to get? Yes. Did I just not execute that time? And you can move on. That way you’re not thinking about mechanics, you’re not thinking about any of that.”
Check out more from Bote in the complete video feature.