Softball – Improve Your Hitting

BATTING STANCE

There are two things that you need to pay attention to when adopting a proper batting stance.  The first is how you’re holding your bat and the second is the spacing of your feet.

There are many different batting stance styles and I’m not going to go into the “perfect” stance but it is very important how you consider the placement of your arms and feet.

 Your Arms

Ideally, you should be holding your bat where both your hands are in front of your rear shoulder.  For example, if you are a right-handed hitter your hands should be aligned in front of your right shoulder.  If you are a left-handed hitter, your hands should be aligned in front of your left shoulder.

As you look at the pitcher – If you’re a righty, your chin should be above or barely touching your left shoulder.  If you’re a lefty, your chin should be above or barely touching your right shoulder.  The bat should not be resting on your shoulder.

With your upper body in this position, you should be able to maximize the speed of your swing.  Your power comes from how fast you can swing the bat and the level of actual contact you make with the ball.

Your Feet

Your feet should not be more than shoulder-width apart.  At a maximum, if you are facing a fast pitcher, your feet should be just outside the width of your shoulders.  The reason why you do not want your feet too far apart in your stance is that you lose power that is generated from your legs.

Your legs are an important determinant in the power of your swing.  With a shoulder-width stance, you are able to maximize the power emanating from your legs then transfer that power to your upper-body.

HITTING THE BALL

When you swing at the ball, concentrate on stepping your front foot forward by no more than the width of your front foot.  For example, if you are a right handed hitter, your left foot should step forward toward the pitcher but by no more than the width of your foot (about 5 or 6 inches).

Keep your weight on your back leg and do not lean your body forward to lunge after a pitch.  Let the ball come to you.

 DON’T BE NERVOUS – KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A PITCHER

It can be intimidating hitting against a pitcher who has good velocity and has different pitches he can beat you with.  There are a few steps you can take to improve your odds of success against an intimidating foe:

  1. Scout the pitcher if possible.  Just because your team doesn’t have a game scheduled, doesn’t mean you can head out to the ballpark to take a look at the other talent.
  2. Notice what he throws as his first pitch to each new hitter.  Is he throwing a flat fastball just to get the first strike?  If this is the case, then you know the best pitch you are going to get to hit is the first one only.  If he gets that first strike over on you, he’ll mess with your head afterward.  You need to go into the batter’s box ready to swing at the first pitch.  Don’t be afraid.
  3. Notice if the pitcher is wild or if he walks many batters.  If he is, he may eventually take some velocity off his first pitch just to get the ball over the plate.  This is advantageous for you especially if there are multiple runners on base.  For example, if he walks the first two batters, he will have doubts about his control.  For the third batter, he will lob a “meatball” over the plate just to get ahead of you in the count.  This is when you’ll be ready for that first pitch and crush it.