Ryan Hill: Last year was kind of tough. Started off a little slow, getting used to the whole thing. The main thing was when I came back this year, I was just much more relaxed and, last year I was trying to force things to happen, and this year I've been trying to just go with the flow, not get all worked up over everything and that's what Riddoch's been helping me a lot with. So that's what I've been trying to do for the most part.
Now, one of the things that, I guess it was Gamby said the other day, "I've been trying to get this guy to do this thing with his swing for the last year! Finally he's coming together!'
Ryan Hill: Yeah, that goes along with the whole just relaxing, just letting it happen rather than getting all tense and everything. I feel much more comfortable now.
What are the mechanics of your swing that have been undergoing changes?
Ryan Hill: Going from college to last year, I've been trying to hit the balls far, as hard as I can, trying to use max effort. Just using a lot of strength, and now I've just kind of dialed it back a little bit, concentrating on being more smooth and not trying to hit the ball as far but just worrying about making better contact.
So every minute, do you hear Tony Muser going, ‘Just like you're like playing Pepper!'
Ryan Hill: Yep, that's right. That's pretty much the whole gist of it.
How long did it take you to realize whether, your swing was okay or not okay? Because you know, first tries you're probably like, ‘You know, it feels good, what are you talking about?'
Ryan Hill: Yeah, pretty much you can tell how comfortable you are if you're in the box and you feel good but say you still strike out you can still walk away and say, ‘I felt pretty comfortable.' But when you start feeling that you're all tense and everything and you feel yourself rushing or you're not trusting yourself, that's when you know you've got to step aside and be like, ‘Okay, this is what I've been doing, this is what I have to do,' and you get to see what changes need to be made.
Was there a little bit of disappointment that you didn't get assigned to a full-season league when you came out of Spring?
Ryan Hill: Right off the bat, yeah, a little bit. But rather than dwell on it, I just worried about trying to get myself better and not really focus on the negative, but still look at it in a positive point of view, I'm still here playing. I'd rather take the good with the bad. It happens. No regrets or anything. I'm not pissed off every day. I'm happy to be here.
How's working under Riddoch? Obviously you known him, from seeing him in Spring, but actually working under him for a year?
Ryan Hill: Yeah. It's good. He knows a lot. He's been able to help me a lot with what I've become so far as a baseball player. And he's just so laid back, and he's just a really nice guy. He's like the players' coach; he'll work with you all the time. He's all about the players and all that. So he's definitely one of the best coaches I've ever had.
He's got everybody working with journals, too. Is that something that's new to you?
Ryan Hill: Yeah. I've never really kept journals, but writing everything down definitely helps. People think they can remember everything, but a week down the road you'd be like, ‘Uh ...' and kind of struggle with it. One quick look and it kind of refreshes your memory. So it's definitely a great thing. It's definitely helping a lot of us out.
What are you writing down in there?
Ryan Hill: You write down certain tendencies the teams have. You can also write down, like, I've also written down when my swing feels really good, to write that down. This way if you're struggling you can always just look back in it and it's kind of like a checkpoint on what you have to do for yourself; just daily reminders, whatever each player needs.
You got all these things you're working on, you got everything you're writing down. Is there also those times when you go into the box, and that's all you're thinking about, instead of just, you know, see it and rip it?
Ryan Hill: Yeah. Normally, when you're in a bit of a struggle, you tend to focus on your mechanics, and ‘Okay, I have to do this, this, this and this,' when mainly when you're feeling good the only thing you're worried about is just looking at the ball, hitting the ball. So pretty much you got to tell yourself, ‘you know what, it's not hard.' Yet, it's a tough thing to do, but you know, obviously, everybody here can do it so you just got to relax, just focus on the pitch and just trust yourself. That's what it comes down to.
Is the toughest thing not getting chances to play every single day?
Ryan Hill: You know, it's not tough. I mean, yeah, granted everybody wants to play, but you know this is what it's like. Everybody knows that coming into it, so I mean, you're not going to; you can't really sit on the bench complaining every minute of the day. Because that just gives off a bad vibe, and that just fills you up with all these negative thoughts, and when you finally do go in you're all negative and you're not going to perform as well. So, everybody knows what the deal is. I guess for me it just makes playing that much better, you know what I mean? Like, when you do finally get in there, you're happy to be in there. You don't take it for granted.
Talk about this story on our subscriber-only message boards