Hitting a softball is one of the most crucial skills in the game. You want to be able to hit the ball well and get on base as often as possible. If you can't do that, you might lose your spot on the team because you're not helping your team score runs.
|5 Tips to Master Softball Hitting Techniques|
That's why you need to master the technique of hitting a softball. Here are five tips that will help you improve your hitting skills.
Tip 1 - Grip
The way you hold the bat is very important. You should use your fingers, not your palms, to grip the bat where you have calluses. The bottom hand (the left hand for a right-handed batter) should control the bat, while the top hand should hold the bat lightly. The bottom hand should hold the bat like you would hold a hammer or a golf club. The top hand should align with the bottom hand in a straight line. Your arms should not cross each other. You should hold the bat loosely - don't squeeze it too hard - and let your wrists move freely. Some batters like to curl their index finger of the top hand so that it barely touches the bat. If you want more control over the bat, you can choke up on it by moving both hands a few inches up from the end of the bat. But remember, choking up means less power because your bat is shorter.
Tip 2 - Hand Position
Your hands should be close to your body, about three to four inches in front of your chest and between your shoulders. Your elbows should be down, and your shoulders should be relaxed. Some batters like to move their hands and shoulders slightly back and forth to stay loose. This position is called the power position, or power alley.
Tip 3 - Swing
Your swing starts with your legs and hips (your hands and shoulders stay back.) As the ball comes toward you, you push off with your back foot and start moving your back knee and hips. Your hips should rotate while staying level with the ground. As you move your legs and hips, you need to keep your head and eyes still and focused on the ball. When you move your hands toward the ball, you should keep the knob of the bat above the head of the bat. Your front arm should form a right angle. This way, you can swing with a shorter and more compact arc.
One of the most important parts of your body is your front shoulder. You need to drive your front shoulder toward the ball. If you pull your front shoulder away from the ball, you might have these problems:
- Your head will move out of position and you will lose sight of the ball.
- Your back shoulder will drop down, which will make your shoulders uneven as you swing.
- Your hands will drop down, which will create a loop in your swing.
- Your back leg will bend and you will lose any positive hip action in your swing.
You should keep your front shoulder on the ball from when it leaves the pitcher's hand until it reaches the contact zone. As you swing the bat toward the ball, you should keep your arms bent. If you straighten your arms too soon, you will swing with a larger arc and lose speed and power. As your hands get closer to the ball, you should rotate your top hand so that at contact your palm is almost facing up. Your hips should keep rotating as you swing. Your back leg should keep driving into a firm front leg, and your back toe should turn toward the pitcher.
Tip 4 - Contact
The point where you hit the ball is very important. You want to hit the ball hard and in the right direction. Depending on where the ball is pitched, you need to adjust your contact point and your swing.
- For a pitch down the middle, you want to hit the ball opposite your front hip. Imagine you are punching someone in that spot with your bat. That's how hard you want to hit the ball.
- For an inside pitch, you want to hit the ball sooner, in front of your body. You need to open your hips earlier and drive your back elbow into your body. This will help you get your hands out faster and swing with more power.
- For an outside pitch, you want to hit the ball later, between your center and your back hip. You need to wait for the ball and keep your hips closed until you make contact. Your hands should be ahead of the bat head on an outside pitch. You need to be patient and let the ball come to you. By rotating your hips well, you can hit the ball hard to the opposite field as well as when you pull the pitch. You need to know where to make contact with different pitches so that you can hit the ball hard wherever it is pitched.
When you make contact, both of your arms should be bent at about 90 degrees and your bat should go through the ball on a level plane. After the ball leaves the bat, both of your arms should be fully extended. Both of your arms should be straight, and you should look down both of your arms and the barrel of the bat, forming a V that points at where you hit the ball. When your arms are fully extended, your bat will slow down and lose speed. You should lower your head at contact and feel your chest go toward the ball while keeping your front side firm and rigid. This is like a boxer hitting someone with his back hand and body. Because of the pivot, your back foot and knee should point at your front leg. Most of your weight should be on the inside of your front foot and leg. Your body should be balanced with your weight on the balls of your feet. Your body should flow into the ball.
Tip 5 - Follow through
Your swing doesn't stop when you hit the ball - it is important to make sure you swing all the way through. After contact, you should let your arms extend and your wrists roll over, finishing the swing with your hands near your front shoulder and your chin on your back shoulder. Most of your weight should stay on your firm front leg, and your back shoulder, hip and knee should line up.