Two necessities of proper hitting mechanics in fastpitch softball are rhythm and movement. This is because hitting is all about timing. The goal is to hit the ball square every time. However, if you start your swing too late, it is very difficult to recover in time and generate solid contact.
Grip, Stance and Swing
Hold the bat with the fingers, not the palm or thumb. Your knuckles should line up closely. This grip will allow the hitter to achieve maximum extension on contact to all fields.
As you prepare to swing, straighten your feet and square your body to the plate. It's important to look straight at the pitcher and not tilt your head. This allows you to pick up the ball better.
Your knees should be flexed inside of your feet in your stance. Bend slightly at the waist. Position your hands near your armpit or around shoulder level. Hold the bat at a 45-degree angle. Relax your elbows and keep them down.
Weight shift is critical to a good swing. According to Girls-Softball.com, many hitting instructors preach the "60-40, 40-60 rule." This refers to a hitter having 60 percent of her weight on her back foot and 40 percent on her front foot at the beginning of a swing and, after swinging, 60 percent on the front and 40 percent on the back. The objective is to have the batter take a short step or stride before swinging, thus ensuring proper weight transfer.
Drills to Improve Hitting Technique
Have the player swing correctly as many times as possible in one minute. Once your players prove they can hit regulation-sized softballs, try using tennis balls or smaller bats. The goal is to improve bat speed.
To improve follow-through, deflate most of the air from an old basketball. Place it on an orange cone. Have the batter take her normal swing and follow through the basketball. It's important to use regular-sized bats for this drill and have the batter wear a helmet.
To help make better contact, take your normal batting stance and face a net or fence about 6 to 8 feet away. The coach or player should stand nearby and drop the ball directly in front of the hitter. The hitter must see the ball, swing level and hit the ball into the backdrop before it hits the ground.
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