So, I made a deal with my daughter. Knowing that books about hitting are somewhat analytical and not all that exciting for kids to read, I said, “if I read the books for us and distill the important parts, you have to listen and try your best to use the information.” She naturally agreed. So, here’s the pearls of wisdom for her and anyone else that finds this useful.
Bat weights can increase bat speed, but the real value is stretching the hitting muscles.
Have a high softball IQ. Know what needs to happen in the next play before it starts. Assessing this information should take 10 seconds or less.
Visualize a good outcome. Just spend a few seconds to see it happen in your mind before you get up to bat.
Always take full practice swings. It’s important to swing as you would in the batter’s box when you’re in the on-deck circle. You’re training your mind and body with this swing action. You will instinctively try to replicate this swing. When the mind makes this connection to a simple action, the body responds by moving faster, being more relaxed and confident.
Just before you step into the batter’s box, pause and take a deep breath. This helps to keep you relaxed, clear your mind, and get you centered on your swing keys. This is a key part of a good swing routine.
Enter the box confidently. Have a pre-swing routine and body posture that project confidence. You want the pitcher to know that you aren’t intimidated, that you’re a good hitter that knows you’re going to hit her pitches.
The lower half of your body has springs in your feet and knees. Make sure that those springs are working in unison. They help to provide the power and explosion for your swing. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet and keep your knees slightly bent.
- Slightly lower back shoulder
- Gentle rocking back and forth in box allows read and react in one fluid motion.
- Focus on the load. If the beginning of the sequence fails, so will the rest of the swing.
- Lift front leg as pitcher releases the ball.
- Standing back in the box gives more reaction time.
- For right-handed hitters, your base (or first) knuckles on your left hand should be aligned with your middle knuckles on your right hand.
- Have a tight grip on the bat just above the knob, but only the fingers should touch the bat. Palms should not touch the bat.
- Hold bat in finger tips at 45 degree angle.
- Hands should be shoulder height.
- Move hands back toward the catcher. Hands back creates more (re)coil, faster bat speed and allows for both eyes to be better focused on the pitcher.
Practice most with live pitching, front toss or hitting off of a tee.
Never side toss. Side toss creates a routine of needing to turn your head to spot the ball. Players should keep the eyes focused forward spotting the ball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand.
Batting cages are most useful when you have a good swing that just needs repetition. With the continuous pitching normally found at batting cages, often this doesn’t give time for coaching and adjustment between swings.
Videos – Hitting Drills: