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Keys to Hitting

While there are many moving parts to hitting, certain movements are more critical (or worthy of concern) than others. Following are a few reminders of the basics of hitting. For more hitting tips, check the Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog.

Stance - While there are many who consider the stance cosmetic, it helps to begin from a good starting point. Set the feet slightly more than shoulder width apart, with the weight balanced. Hands should be at the top of the strike zone, bat at a 45 degree angle. Best way to set it is rest the bat on your shoulder, then lift it off slightly. Stay loose and relaxed.

Negative move - As the pitcher goes into her windup, you should begin to get in motion as well. Push your weight backonto your back foot somewhat with a relaxed, small movement. It should feel more like a sway or a dance movement. This negative movement will help you overcome inertia (the body's tendency to want to remain at rest) so you can generate more power when it's time to swing. As you make
this negative move with your legs, push your bottom hand back so the end of the bat points more toward the pitcher.

Stride - As the pitcher gets ready to deliver the pitch, the front food strides and the weight begins shifting forward. The idea is to move your center of gravity forward, past the point it started at in the stance. The front foot should land on the toe/ball of the foot with the weight moving forward.

Rotation - Right after the front toe lands, the heel should drop. As it drops, the back hip begins to rotate forward. It is important that the back hip move forward rather than the front hip pull out. The back hip should knock the front hip out of the way during the swing. On a pitch middle to in, the hips should end up facing the pitcher when you're done.
 
Swing - Right after the back hip starts to rotate forward, the shoulders begin to turn. The hands should remain close to the back shoulder, which is called connection. Do not allow them to drop - they basically do nothing.

During this phase the back elbow should drop in near the ribcage; it should not move ahead of the hands. Keeping the hands tied to the
back shoulder should help prevent this condition. The final part of the swing phase is using the hands to take the head of the bat to the ball. Think short to, long through.

Follow-through - After contact the bat head should continue to travel forward until the end of the bat is pointed at the pitcher. Once you've done that, the wrists break and the bat wraps around the shoulders.

These are the things to consider while you practice. At the plate, if you've put in the work, none of this should be in your head. It should be automatic. The only things on your mind should be see the ball, hit the ball.
Corrections for Different Pitches 
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you just can't get a pitch to work. Usually the solution is something simple - and something you already know. The following list provides some reminders of corrections to try for each pitch. For more pitching tips, check out the
Life in the Fastpitch Lane  blog.  

Fastball
  • If you're throwing inside, check your stride; be sure it's going straight down the power line and not to your throwing hand side
  • If you're throwing it low, make sure the elbow drives all the way past your hip, and release at your back leg
  • If you're throwing it high, keep the elbow relaxed and use a two-piece arm; be sure you're pulling the ball all the way around the circle, not pushing it at the end
  • If you're having trouble throwing inside, check where you're landing; you should land slightly across the power line - take your momentum to your throwing hand side, then follow with your body, then make sure your arm follows it
  • If you're having trouble throwing outside, make sure you're landing slightly to the glove hand side of the power line, then take your momentum that way, with your arm following it; the hand should pass both legs at an equal distance 

Backhand Change
  • Keep the arm relaxed; it should feel dead, like it fell asleep
  • Lift the arm/bend the elbow slightly at the bottom of the circle; think of throwing over the noodle
  • Keep the front side strong - don't let it pull out early
  • Do not flick the wrist; drag the ball forward to release, like your sending a little red wagon forward
  • Fling the ball forward at release
  • Maintain arm speed
  • Throw it with enthusiasm - the hard you throw it, the slower it goes

Peel and Rollover Drop

  • Shorten your stride slightly - one length of your foot
  • Get your weight a little forward
  • Get your hand on top of the ball as you release for the peel
  • Use your forearm muscles to lift the ball up and over on the rollover
  • Keep the front side strong - do not let it pull out early
  • Release starts before you get to your back leg, finishes by the time you get to the front of the back leg
  • To get the ball higher, lift it higher along your leg/hip at release
  • Keep your release short and sharp, not long and extended
  • For the peel, finish with your hand high, in front of your face
  • For the rollover, finish with your hand low, near your stride leg

Curve

  • Stride across the power line, but remember the further over you go the further the ball will go the other way
  • Get your hand on top of the ball at the top of the circle
  • Shortcut the elbow just after the top of the circle; take it directly down toward your back hip
  • Keep your front side in and throw against it - "throw around the building"
  • "Pin" your elbow against your hip, then pivot your forearm around that point
  • Attack the release hard, use the wrist to help impart tighter spin

  Screwball

  • Stride out a few inches to your glove side, establishing a new powerline
  • Take your momentum in the direction of your stride foot
  • Get open and stay open all the way through the pitch
  • Keep the ball facing away from you all the way around the circle; at release, should be facing away as well
  • At the top of the circle, move the ball (and arm) out slightly away from you to create a path for it - out, in, out
  • There is no wrist snap
  • Keep the arm going long all the way through release

Riseball

  • Tilt your spine back slightly
  • Get on top of the ball at the top of the circle so you can be under it at the bottom
  • Get open and stay open
  • Start turning the ball before you get to the back leg
  • Twist the wrist hard
  • Keep the release short
  • Think of throwing the ball forward, not up 

Questions? Need help? Contact us at 847-373-2249 or email  coachken@softballsuccess.com

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