The idea of hitting a pitched ball with a heavy softball bat could be overwhelming especially for beginners. Hitters would usually struggle to catch up with the pitch velocity of their opponents. How to swing properly? How to hit a softball efficiently?
As a batter you need to have timing, good vision and reflexes and strength to be able to hit that ball. Before you master the newest techniques of hitting a softball, you should better understand the basics of hitting a ball. Fortunately there are a myriad of softball hitting drills to try .
How to Hit a Softball With Proper Tilt
Softball experts would agree that one key to successful batting or hitting of the ball is by having a strong side tilt. This will allow the batter to have a proper swing. Tilt refers to the angle of the swing’s front side which is important as it tends to speed up the swing. There are different drills to help you come up with a proper tilt.
- HIGH HEEL DRILL - this practices athletes to have a proper lower-body position to continually attain proper movement patterns when swinging. This is a technique drill wherein the batter places his legs in the position for hitting. Once in the position, swing the bat on a normal speed.
- STEP-BACK DRILL - get into the batting stance, then using your back leg, take a short step backwards. Load your hands to put more power in your swing. Make a swing without having a normal forward stride.
- HIGH KNEE DRILL - also called the toe tap drill, this can be done by balancing on your back leg. After that, bring your front foot at the back foot. Once your front foot touches the ground, make a step forward and release a strong swing.
Be In Sync
To become an efficient hitter, these three areas should be always in sync: lower body, upper body and your swinging techniques.
- Upper body - remember that the upper body controls the movements so upon stepping into the box, make sure your head and belly button is aligned, your shoulders are squared towards the pitcher’s plate and focus your eyes on the pitcher.
Ensure that you properly hold the softball bat. Normally batters hold the bat up to 2-3 inches away from its knob. For right-handed batters, place the right hand on top of the left. For left-handed, do the opposite.
Make sure your knuckles are aligned on the bat. This will give your wrists the strongest position. Place the bat at the back of your shoulder to make its barrel parallel to the ground. Your arm must form an “A”.
Lift the bat off and try to keep the barrel parallel to the ground. It can be also angle up to 45 degrees upward behind the head if it’s more comfortable for you.
- Swinging techniques - these three techniques will make up the motion of your lower body.
TOE TAP - this is the first movement of the lower body. The small step will bring your front foot towards the pitcher in a 45-degree angle. Your weight will shift forward during the toe tap.
HEEL PLANT- after the toe tap you will land your entire foot on your heel planted. Do not lock your front leg as this will not give you balance. Keep the knee bent until you begin to rotate your hips.
PIVOT - Remember that most of the hitting power comes from the hips. Rotate your hips forward after you planted your front leg on the ground. The back foot will pivot while the front leg will be locked. This will create resistance as your weight shifts back.
Swinging itself incorporates all the movements of your upper and lower body. Now your swing is already complete. Throw your arms forward until your hands are placed in your belly button. The bottom hand will do the work. The ball must be in front of the home plate before you make a contact.
Video from HowcastSportsFitness Youtube channel.
Imagine keeping the softball bat on the ball for as long as possible. As an added tip, look at your palms to see how you did on your contact point. The bottom palm must be facing the ground while the top palm must be facing the sky.
Practice will make you a better hitter but so does knowledge. You can find other related videos and how-to articles online on how to hit a softball properly.