How to improve your fastpitch softball hitting
Hitting good fastpitch softball pitching is one of the toughest challenges in sports. This article offers general suggestions and specific drills to improve performance. This ClubHouseGas video clip covers three of them: Hip rotation, "squishing the bug" and the barrier drill.
- Moderately Challenging
- Pop up net to hit into.
- Standard batting tee.
- Louisville Slugger Instructo Swing.
- Slightly deflated volleyballs and basketballs.
- Wiffle golf balls and a broomstick.
- Tennis balls
The video covered the basics: Hand placement, swing angle, hip rotation and weight distribution. Power is generated by the core muscles more than the arms. The hitter must keep her weight back and her swing compact, slicing diagonally through the strike zone to the ball. The hip rotation drill helps build a more explosive swing. The "barrier drill" shown in the video prevents the hitter from dropping her hands and putting a loop in her swing.
The Ken Griffey Jr. tee -- the Louisville Slugger Instructo Swing -- is a terrific tool to instill the proper swing angle. It introduces the fastpitch swing to beginnings and reinforces good mechanics with established hitters.
Once a hitter has mastered the fastpitch swing, repetitions are vital. Using a regular tee and/or the Griffey tee, the hitter can hit into the pop-up net for regular 15- to 20-minute sessions, building strength and bat speed. When has a training partner available, she can hit soft-toss lobs into the net for 15 to 20 minutes and refine hand-to-eye coordination.
To increase strength and improve mechanics, the hitter should regularly hit soft tosses with just her left arm, then with just her right arm -- while maintaining proper mechanics.
To increase power, the hitter can also drive slightly deflated volleyballs and softball off a tee. The key to DRIVE the balls, not merely hit them.
Regular work against a pitching machine is also critical. Crank the machine all the way up and force the hitter to adapt to the speed. Once the hitter is consistently driving the ball against the top speed, having her take one step closer to the machine after each solid hit.
To improve hand-to-eye coordination -- and the ability to center the bat on ball -- pitch wiffle golf balls to hitters swinging broomsticks.
To improve hand-to-eye coordination -- and bat speed -- stand behind a hitter and bounce a tennis ball through the strike zone. The hitter must hit the ball as it comes through her line of vision. A variation of this drill is to stand on a step ladder and drop balls straight down in to the strike zone. Again, the hitter has to take her hands straight to ball to make contact.
To ensure proper grip, the hitter should try the "Turboslot" batting gloves. This product comes highly recommended by college coaches and hitters.
Weight training should focus on strengthening the core muscles while also building the arms and shoulders. The stronger the hitter's base, the better her ability to generate power.
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