It might be the hardest thing in sports; hitting a fastpitch softball. With only 43 feet separating the pitcher’s rubber from home plate, hitters need quick reactions to have any chance of success. To bolster your odds, we have called upon the expertise of former players, current coaches, and a team of softball enthusiasts to compile a list of the top hitting tips for fastpitch players.
Mental Hitting Tips
If you are going to have any success in this game, you have to be mentally strong. Hitting is hard for everyone. Understand that and use your past experiences to prepare yourself for the future. The following tips will help you build confidence in your swing and allow you to be the best player you can be.
Use the on-deck circle to prepare your mind
Control your breathing and slow the game down. Focus on what your goal during your at-bat will be. It could be to advance the runners, see many pitches, or just hit the ball hard. Take the time in the on-deck circle to set yourself up for success.
Split the plate in half and focus on a zone
Some like the ball in, some like it away, some like it low, some like it high. Early in the count, determine a “GO” area in the zone. If the pitch is in this area, you will take a full swing to drive the ball. Swinging at your pitches early in the count will improve your power and lead to more extra-base hits and home runs.
Learn from your failure
Everyone strikes out. It’s just part of the game. Don’t hang your head or beat yourself up over it. Instead, refuse to accept it. Learn from it. What was the pitch sequence that struck you out? Keep those pitches in mind for your next at-bat. Lay off the pitches outside of the zone, and attack the pitches in the zone.
Step into the box with complete confidence
Tell yourself that you are going to succeed. Win the at-bat before you ever step into the box. Self-confidence is a powerful thing; take the time to harness it. The more you believe in yourself, the better you will perform at the dish.
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Key Softball Hitting Tips & Drills
AJ Andrews teamed up with JustBats to provide softball hitters with the tips and drills to improve hitting. We hope you enjoy the following video as AJ breaks down the best softball tee drills. She also explains why each exercise is important and what parents and coaches should look for during batting practice.
Avoid holding the bat in your palms
We encourage all players to find a grip that is comfortable to swing. However, we do recommend keeping the grip of your bat in your fingers to free up the movement of your swing and increase your power potential. When the bat is buried too deep in your grip, your wrists lock up, and you lose power.
Keep your hands high
When preparing your stance in the box, keep your hands around the same height as your back shoulder. Keeping your hands high will allow you to attack down at the ball and avoid a long, loopy swing that generally results in a pop-up or a whiff.
Relax your shoulders
Hitters will often stand rigid at the plate. Tension in the body causes harm to the swing. The main culprits for this tension? Shoulders. Relax your shoulders, and you’ll relax your body.
Load your hands and legs
Focus on the synchronization in your swing. As you load your legs, make sure you are loading your hands as well. Load your legs and hands together to allows your swing to work simultaneously. Doing so will also make it easier for your eyes to tell your body when and where to swing.
How to Slap in Softball
A unique element to fastpitch softball is slap hitting. With only 60 feet separating home plate and first base, softball hitters learn to chop at the ball as they run down the line. This hitting strategy is known as slap hitting.
Fastpitch softball slappers are typically left-handed hitters that have high hand-eye coordination and are fleet of foot. The goal is not to drive the ball over an outfielder’s head but instead hit a ground ball to the left side of the infield and beat out the throw. Slap hitters cause worlds of havoc for opposing defenses. If you are interested in slap hitting, we partnered with AJ Andrews to publish a professional guide on slap hitting. The following is an excerpt from the post:
“When you’re starting to learn how to slap hit, the main thing you want to focus on is being and feeling athletic. So when you start in your stance, you want to make sure your knees are bent, your body is balanced, and you are light on your feet.
The first step is to perform your crossover. Oftentimes you’ll see girls when they go to slap, slide and then go. When you do that, your momentum is already leaning forward. And as a slapper, as you get older, you’re going to face better pitching. Pitchers that can change the speeds on their pitches. Pitchers that can locate better. And if your momentum is always falling forward, then you won’t be able to adjust to those pitches quick enough. So think about, instead of sliding, just performing a very simple, and subtle crossover with your back foot.”
Want to learn how to become a slapper in fastpitch? [READ NOW]
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