Baseball and softball have two different styles of play. While baseball is professional and ‘up there’, softball is played in smaller fields with a slightly larger ball, and mostly among those who are growing into the game, including kids and adolescents. How can you be better at this baseball variant, and make it work for the team? In this guide we provide some of the most recommended softball hitting drills for game-play enhancement.
1. Bat Path
You need to have a good bat path, or you are not going to land the hard shots. With the opposite batter’s box in mind, keep your bat knob pointed at it. This leaves your hands in the best possible attack position. When you do attack, move the hand directly toward the pitcher behind you.
Remember the coach saying ‘Line up your door-knocking knuckles’? Grip the bat in the region of your fingertips. This gets an out-stand wrist snap action going, resulting in a superb swing. Bat speed increases as a result, unlike when you use your palm to grip the bat. The wrists are then locked and more demand is placed on your shoulders, resulting in reduced bat control. You will notice the difference during softball hitting drills, test them.
3. Line Drive Tee
This renowned drill is designed to instill the right technique and mechanics of softball into you. It teaches you to correct yourself at various times during the game. With a target stood 15-20 feet directly in front of the tee, you merely need to make drives at it.
This is generally a follow-up softball hitting drill after Bat Path (detailed above). With your head still and your bat pointed back at the pitcher, and with the bat knob toward the opposite batter’s box, direct your finishes toward the field’s center.
5. Load and Stride
If you wish to time your pitch right, this swing drill is invaluable. By shifting your weight slightly onto your back leg, you shift the ‘load’. The inside of your thigh will flex to indicate you’re doing it right. Once the inner portion of your back leg flexes, make a stride with your front without re-shifting the load (or weight) of your stance.
Three different stride options for your softball hitting drills: Re-position the foot 4-6 inches, about the same as your shoe width. Or you can lift only your heel while your toe remains touching the ground. Or you can pick your foot fully up and re-position it at the starting point.
The idea is to position your stride foot back down before the pitcher does theirs. With good balance comes good ball visibility. If you are off in any way, off-speed and wild pitches will ruin your game.
6. Position and Stance
This is a lesson in its own right, and one of the most important softball hitting drills you will ever perform.
Lower Body: Your batting stance has to fulfill standard athletic requirements. Feet are a bit widely placed in relation to shoulder width, weight rests on your toes, and hips and knees are flexed. Turn your toes a little inward to gain advantageous balance.
Upper Body: Position your hands between shoulder and ear. The bat knob looks directly toward the opposite batter’s box. You gain the fastest path to the ball this way as well as a great batting angle. Maintain those hands with minimal movement at all times. Only when you stride after you attack the ball should your hands move wide.
7. Lower Half and Contact Position
To hit the ball with as much power as you can is the way to softball glory. It isn’t merely about attacking the ball but also about driving it.
Your stance directly determines this. With your back knee rotated under your hip, see that your elbow is in line with your shoulder, and that in turn lines up with your hip. Your top hand, at this time, is palm-down and your back hand is palm-up. Your eyes are aligned square on the contact, this is easier when your chin is tucked down.
There needn’t be any force or rigidity in the way you position yourself. Practice all these softball hitting drills and you will be prepared to gain an enviable strong position to hit the ball. As long as your hand is above the ball, you can enjoy better backspin. With a strong front and an unchanging back swing, you cannot go wrong.
You need to drive the ball for distance NOT height, which is why we recommend contacting the top third of the ball. Your hands will then move down through the ball and drive it to victory.