Published: March 3, 2020
Every softball player needs hitting drills that can improve her consistency, power, swinging, and movement mechanics. Whether you're a conventional batter or a slap hitter, a batting routine that makes you better in the cage is critical. There are toss drills that require a partner to pitch balls to the batter as well as other ball drills that athletes can do by themselves.
In today's article, you'll learn a few softball batting drills to use right away.
One thing that separates high-level softball players from everyone else is the ability to use their hips and core and upper body in the proper sequence. This “kinetic sequence” in swinging the bat is what produces elite bat speed and power as you follow through your swing. Learn more about the fundamentals of kinetic sequence here.
Kinetic sequence sounds complicated, but it really isn't. The term refers to the order in which muscles produce force in a movement. In the softball swing, the kinetic sequence begins with the hips in your normal stance.
The kinetic sequence in a fastpitch player's swing goes like this:
Hips : When the foot touches back down after the stride, the hips are the first body part to produce power and reach full rotational speed.
Torso : The hips rotate first, which then stretches the torso and upper body to load it up with energy before it, too, begins rotating.
Lead Arm : The lead arm the left arm for righty hitters, and right arm for lefty hitters is the next body part to begin accelerating. Then, the lead arm delivers the hand and knob of the bat.
Hand : The lead hand controls the bat and delivers all of the body's power to the barrel of the bat. The hand is the last major part of the swing sequence to reach full velocity before the swing is complete.
When we add softball batting drills to a fastpitch player's practice routine, we should be choosing drills that improve the quality of her kinetic sequence. Many young players don't quite get their body in sync, and thus lose power when their sequence is a little out of order.
Ever see a small player with a lot of power? When a player produces exceptional bat speed with a small frame, you can bet your bottom dollar that she has an excellent kinetic sequence, tapping into every bit of her strength and explosiveness to hit those balls out of the park.
Athletes can work on building an accurate powerful swing by practicing with a partner or by themselves. Some ball drills include using a soft toss pitch with tennis balls, golf balls, or regular size balls, other drills focus on the emphasis of mechanics and fundamentals of a proper batting stance.
Toss drills help to teach the player timing and rhythm of swinging at the pitch, while mechanics drills help teach hip rotation as well as proper weight shift and weight transfer. In addition to partner toss drills, athletes can also work independently with a tee that focus on creating muscle memory in hitting.
In this first video, you'll learn a variety of different drills. It's important to tinker, try new things to see which tips and drills might fit best into your individual practice plan.
In this second video, former Professional ballplayer Matt Antonelli discusses what it means to turn the barrel and how it can help a fastpitch player improve her swing.
Slappers, we haven't forgotten about you!
If you head out to the ballpark and watch a D1 softball game, you'll notice that slap hitters have an important role in almost every team's lineup. Slapping gives a fast player a chance to beat out otherwise routine ground balls and bunts, getting on base to set up big innings.
Slap hitting mechanics begin with the batter in the proper stance. It is imperative that she stands in the correct position in the batters' box. The batter stands with the back corner of the plate straight in line with their back toe. When the pitch is thrown the batter should leave her body in the same position, but she needs to cross her front foot back over the back foot. It is important that the athlete has the understanding that the lead hand drives the direction the balls will go.
In this first video by former Olympian Natasha Watley, she discusses how to progress through slap hitting drills to improve footwork and bat control.
In this second video, coach Watley shows a long tee drill you can do with your Tanner Tee Pro. This simple drill uses a compact swing. While some softball batting drills require a partner to pitch the balls, Natasha shows you how to practice independently.
For more ways to improve your game, check out the helpful articles below:
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