5 Easy Tips for More Hits
Learn how to gain more confidence when at the plate in your next softball game. Softball hitting technique is essential. These five tips will give you an advantage at the plate.
Tip 1 - Grip
When gripping the bat, apply pressure with your fingers, not the palms. The bottom hand (left hand for a right handed batter) controls the bat, and the top hand supports the bat loosely. The bottom hand grips the bat tightly and securely. The top hand is placed against the bottom hand so that it sits right on top of the bottom hand. Make sure the bat is gripped loosely and the wrists have flexibility. For better bat control the player may choke up on the bat by moving both hands several inches up from the knob. Although with this type of grip it means a shorter bat and less power.
The hands start close to the body about three to four inches in front of the chest and between the shoulders. Both elbows are down, and the shoulders are tension free. Some players prefer a little movement back and forth with the hands and shoulders to keep them loose. We call this position the power position, or power alley.
Tip 3 - Swing
The swing begins with your legs and hips. You push off the front of the back foot as the softball approaches the plate. The back knee will begin to move in and the hips begin to rotate. During rotation the hips remain parallel to the ground. During this it is vital that the head and eyes remain level and still. As your hands begin to move the bat toward the ball, you do not allow the top of the bat or (bat head) to fall below your hands. The lead arm maintains a 90-degree angle. This approach ensures a shorter arc and a more compact swing.
One of the most important tips is your front shoulder. Focus on driving the front shoulder to the ball. You should allow the front shoulder to track the pitch from the pitcher's hand to the contact zone. As the bat is approaching the ball, the arms remain bent. If the arms are extended too early in the swing, the swing arc will be too large and hitter will sacrifice bat speed and power. As the hands move closer to contact, the top hand begins to rotate so that at contact the palm is nearly facing up. The hips continue to rotate as the hitter approaches the contact point. The back leg continues to drive into a now firm front leg, and the back toe begins to turn toward the pitcher.
Tip 4 - Contact
The batter must be patient and wait for the softball to come to them. By using good rotation of the hips, you can hit just as hard to the opposite field as you do when pulling a pitch. You must understand where to make contact with different pitches so that you can hit the ball hard at each location. This is what we mean when we say "Hit the ball where it is pitched."
At contact, both arms are bent close to the 90 degrees and you drive through the ball on a level plane. After contact both arms are fully extended. Both arms are straight, and you should be looking down both arms and the barrel of the bat, and the V that forms between your arms points directly at the contact spot. As full extension of the arm is reached, deceleration occurs and the bat loses speed. You move your head down at contact and feel your chest go to the ball while maintaining a firm and rigid front side. Because of the pivot the back foot and knee are pointing at the front leg. Most of the weight is transferred to the inside of the front foot and leg. The body is in a balanced position with the weight on the balls of the feet. The body flows into the ball.
Tip 5 - Follow - Through
The swing doesn't end after first contact. It is important to make sure you swing all the way through. After contact, you should allow your arms to extend and your wrists to roll over, ending the swing with your hands near the front shoulder and your chin on the back shoulder. The majority of your weight remains on the firm front leg, and the back shoulder, hip and knee should be aligned.
With these tips you should start getting more hits each game. With each hit you will gain confidence and start helping your team win games with your new improved hitting.