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Most Useful Tips on Improving Softball Hitting

Most Useful Tips on Improving Softball Hitting

When playing softball, the most complex roles that every player need to master is softball hitting. Players who cherish playing softball have special connection to it for better mental and physical development. It is one of the games that require the mind and body working together for top results. Knowing how to throw and hit a ball is not enough, it is prudent to perfect the skills in order to avoid being left behind. Here are the most useful tips on hitting the softball that you require.

Understand personal techniques

To advance in softball, players are advised to understand themselves and develop individual tactics. While it is okay to look at others and how they do it, trying to copy them will not help. Work on your techniques and improve on them from time to time. A good way to do this is making every game a learning session. Work closely with the team leader and coach to get a review of personal techniques and how to improve on them. This will make it easy to fine tune every aspect of your hitting so that moments taken in the game helps to bring top results.

Getting the perfect grip on the bat

To be sure of a perfect hit every moment, you need the right bat grip. Professional softball coaches insist that you should grip the bat with a handshake. This gives you better control and makes targeting easy. Place the bat in the front and where possible pinch it between index finger and thumb. The objective is keeping the wrist loose, get top speed and make it possible to explode the hands to the ball. Remember that this requires patience to try, practice and perfect until it becomes part of you.

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Hit It To Win It!

Softball Hitting Drills

Practice alone does not always make perfect. But perfect practice will always make one perfect. Nowadays there are hoards of articles on good softball hitting drills out there; this isn’t one of them. More so, if you only sought have just a good reading time. This is because in this edition I opted to focus mainly in the objectives of the drills rather than the ease of engaging them. Upon a careful consideration, I am certain that every hitter who reads this article will obviously add something to his/her hitting menu. I know it’s not always an easy task to read through drills line-by-line, but I am sure you’re going to enjoy this if you read so.

Are you ready my now? Keep the wide stance, feet straight, knees & arms bent; elbow, shoulder and your eyes be even. Now assume the correct bat grip. Everything check?  Now we begin our drill list.

Part A – Basic drills
Main Objective:

In hitting, strength, agility, confidence and creativity will often support winning. The drills of this segment will focus mainly on strengthening the hands. In addition, they can also help a beginner to master the art of swinging. They are pretty simple and you can actually try them indoors if you wish.

Drill #1: The Wall Drill

Assume a bat’s distance (place a bat between the tip of the belly and the wall) with a wall.
Within that distance, make swings without the barrel of the bat hitting the wall.

Note: This drill’s main aim will be to help you learn the correct swings. It could best be practiced with a friend/coach to correct you if you mess up.

Drill #2: The Tee Drill

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Softball Performance Tips – Take a Little Time to Retool

By Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

Without a doubt this is a busy part of the fastpitch softball summer season. Tournaments every weekend, for some teams league or scrimmage doubleheaders during the week, and maybe a practice squeezed in here or there.

What that means is very little time to work on individual skills. Some may be able to handle that, but they’re in the minority. For most, all this play time means skills are actually deteriorating.

It makes sense. In a practice setting, a hitter might take 100 to 200 swings in a session. In a game, she’s lucky if she gets 12. That’s a pretty big delta.

Same with fielders. Whereas in a good practice session you may field 50-100 balls or more, you may go a game or two without any significant fielding chances — especially if your team has dominant pitching. Sure, you get some practice during warm-ups, but your focus is different then. It’s on getting ready for this game coming up, not on necessarily improving your skills.

Even pitchers can have it tough. Sure, you’re still throwing a lot of pitches. But the focus will be on the ones that are working. The pressure is on to throw strikes and keep baserunners off the bases, so if you curve is working and your rise is not, the rise isn’t going to get much of a workout.

That’s why it’s important to make time for that sort of deep practice that will keep skills sharp and you playing the way you want to play. Which probably means you’ll have to get out on your own to do it.

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Softball Hitting Mechanics Aren’t Enough

By Stacie Mahoe

Every week (if not almost every day), we receive mail from customers, visitors, and newsletter subscribers. Today I want to take a moment to share one of these inquiries with you.

This question (a good one) came from a softball dad.

From the Softball Performance Mail Bag…

softballvision

Coach, it seems to me that a lot of emphasis is put on batting mechanics, which I think is good. It is important, but I do not hear or see anyone talking about eye hand coordination. The way I see it, a player can have the best mechanics, but if she can’t put the bat where the ball is consistently, I think a lot of time and money is not being spent wisely. I would like know what you think about this. Is there something I’m missing? I can speak from personal experience that using the little soft rubber 1 inch balls used with a thin bat like a “lightning Rod” seems to work pretty good for my daughter. Thanks

Actually, you’re not missing anything. You’re right. A softball hitter can have the best swing mechanics in the world, but if she can’t make contact with the ball, it doesn’t mean much.

I’m sure you’ve seen those hitters with less than perfect hitting mechanics make things happen simply because they are great at putting the bat on the ball time and time again.

That said, it’s important to work BOTH swing mechanics and softball VISION if you want to reach your peak softball hitting performance level. This softball dad shared a great idea on how to do that with soft 1″ rubber balls. 

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Softball Hitting Tips – Helping Players Adjust in the Box

By Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog
softballhitterFastpitch softball hitting is challenging under any circumstances. But sometimes factors combine to make it even more difficult than usual.

A pitcher with better than average speed or movement on her breaking balls is one example. An umpire with an extra-wide, low or high strike zone is another. Even the field conditions or weather can play a part. It is at that time that smart coaches will often suggest that their hitters make an adjustment in the batters.

Sometimes that works. But often it turns into a battle of wills between the coach and the hitters. Because even though the coach is right that moving up in the box will allow the hitters to hit the drop ball before it breaks, or the riseball before it gets too high, the hitters still don’t want to do it.

It’s not that they’re being obstinate, at least on purpose. It’s that hitters often don’t feel comfortable moving to an area in the batter’s box they’re not used to.

Now, before you start getting aggravated with them, think about it for a minute. What’s one of the things we stress to hitters? The importance of having a routine – a series of actions the hitter does every time before signaling to the umpire that she’s ready to go.

Often getting into the batter’s box in the same place is a part of that routine. So when you tell the hitter to move up, back, in, out or live La Vida Loca, you’re taking her out of her routine. When that happens, expect a collapse at the plate, and a dirty look meant to convey the message “I told you so!”

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Softball Performance Tips – How to Deal with a Pitcher

By Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

Most of the time when you’re  on a fastpitch softball hitting, you have to deal with covering the full strike zone. As a hitter you find a location at the plate that allows you full coverage and you stay there.

But sometimes you’ll run into a pitcher who lives on the outside corner. Sometimes it’s because they’re afraid to come inside because they fear hitting a batter. Sometimes they just realize most hitters don’t hit the outside pitch very well. Combine that with an umpire willing to give the outside corner, or maybe a little more, and it can spell a long day at the plate.

When that occurs, the best way to deal with it is to move in and crowd the plate as much as the umpire will let you. By doing so you essentially take that outside pitch that’s hard to hit and turn it into a middle pitch you can hit hard.

Softball Hitting Tip - Double PlateThe accompanying photo provides a little clearer illustration of this concept. The white plate is the normal plate, the one the pitcher and the umpire are using. The multi-colored plate on top is effectively the plate you’re working with after moving in. As you can see, the outside corner has now effectively become a pitch down the middle. Anything beyond that should be far enough off the real plate that you don’t need to swing at it.

Ok, you say, but what if she comes inside? First of all, you’ve adopted this strategy because she either hasn’t or has shown she won’t come inside. If she does for some reason, get out of the way because you’re probably hanging into the strike zone. If it isn’t too far inside, turn on it quick and pound it.

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Softball Performance Tips – How to Reduce Pop-Ups

By Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

Softball Hitting Tip: Cut Back on Pop-Ups by Getting the Right Bat Angle

Nothing is more frustrating to a coach than getting a couple of runners on base with no one out only to have the next two hitters pop up into an infield fly rule. Even a weak ground ball back to the pitcher holds the promise that something might happen.

A bad throw, a third baseman pulling her foot off the base early, maybe the ball going into the sun as it’s thrown gives you a chance to advance the runners. But a pop-up? Everybody freeze and we’ll try it again. Do it twice and your inning is all but over.

So if you could teach your hitters to hit fewer pop-ups, it sure seems like a worthy investment of time. Well, you can. It all has to do with the bat angle.

Essentially, hitters need to keep their hands above the ball so the head of the bat is tilted downward instead of straight out. The following figures show why.

Image 1 Image 2

The first illustration (left) shows a bat that is sticking straight out, more or less. This is what happens, by the way, when you take your hands to the ball. You bring them level with the ball and the bat will have to level out to the ground as well.

That’s not so bad if you hit the ball dead center. But if you’re a little low, as in this illustration, you’ll hit the bottom half of the ball and it will pop up – especially if you really went low and had to come back up.

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Softball Hitting Tip – Be Sure the Front Side is Firm

By Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

In the last few years, much has changed in the way fastpitch softball players are taught to hit. The entire technique is much closer to the way Major League Baseball players hit – in fact, the general wisdom is that it should be the same swing.

softball hitting tip - firm front sideOne of the elements that includes is a weight shift, from balanced to back to forward. The backward movement is a slight push back to overcome inertia, then the forward weight shift takes the center of gravity ahead of the point where it started. (In the old days, for those too young to remember, hitters would stride out onto the front foot as though they were stepping on thin ice, and then keep the weight back.)

All well and good, and I heartily agree with that method. However, for some hitters, shifting the weight forward ends up getting their weight out ahead of the front foot, essentially lunging forward. They take the idea of weight shift a little too literally. Usually they wind up with the front leg bent and soft, rather than straight or firm.

If you have a hitter doing that, try telling her to land on the inside part of her front foot. Usually when they’re wind up soft, they’re letting the weight continue forward until it’s on the outside of the front foot.

At toe touch, the weight comes down on the inside of the front foot, and the weight shifts into the front foot instead of over it. That will help the front knee firm up when the heel drops, and will give the hitter a solid foundation around which to rotate. Having that solid foundation is critical to delivering maximum power in hitting the ball.

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Softball Hitting – How to Hit Homeruns

By Coach Marc

Hitting homeruns or rocket shots ain’t easy.

However, curiously, if you ask any hitter who just hit one out of the park to describe what she was thinking about right before she hit the ball and how her swing felt – you will find that most  hitters will give you pretty similar answers.

If you ask a hitter to describe how she felt just before she swung  the ball over the fence, she will probably tell you something like “I was not thinking. I just saw the ball and hit it. I  was not even trying to hit it out of the park.”

And if you ask her how her swing felt, she will say something like “It was easy. It was effortless. I didn’t even try to swing hard.”

What these hitters are describing is a state of flow.

Here is the official definition of flow.

Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully  immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus,  full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.

Colloquial terms for this or similar mental states include: to be on  the ball, in the zone, or in the groove.

Almost every time a hitter hits a homerun, she is in a state of flow.

She doesn’t think; she just reacts to the ball. The old concept of “see the ball, hit the ball” applied to perfection.

She isn’t trying to swing hard; she just want to make good contact with the ball relying on her “muscle memory” to do the job. It feels  effortless.

she is confident and totally focused.

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Softball Hitting – How to Increase Power by Staying Loose

By Coach Marc 

In this video, I describe why staying loose at the plate is  important and how it can increase your hitting power. This is a complement to my previous post  How Staying Loose Can Increase Your Hitting Power .

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