Softball Rotational Hitting Mechanics
"An amazing thing, the human
brain. Capable of understanding incredibly complex and intricate
concepts. Yet at times unable to recognize the obvious and
Five Principles to Great Fastpitch Hitting Mechanics
Rotational hitting and softball are bridging the gap. More and more coaches, teams, and players are making significant changes to their programs when it comes to hitting mechanics and philosophy. And, with good reason! Like no other time in history has the opportunity for female athletes ever been so great. With the advent of Title Nine mandated in the sports arena, female athletic programs have exploded across the country. From youth select program, starting at the ripe age of 10- some even younger, to the highly recognized USA national teams, and professional teams that have emerged in basketball and softball.
Same Game, Same Swing!
In the area of fastpitch, a major change has been taking place; an evolution of a game. More and more players, and coaches, are adopting a hitting technique that has been around for along time; a baseball approach to hitting, and with very good reason. The mechanics that the best players in the game are using is showing up in the girls game, and making a significant impact.
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Principle #1 - Weight Transfer
First of all, weight transfer is NOT a hitting technique, but rather an element of hitting, and a major one at that. There has to be back to front movement in a players swing in order to hit with any kind of consistency and power. Sitting, squishing the bug is simply poor mechanics.
Watch the back foot - players are either on the tip of their back foot, or the foot is completely off the ground at contact. This is what good weight transfer looks like and there has to be back to front motion in the swing. There is no sitting, there is no squishing.
Principle #2 Hips & Core
Turning to the ball with the hips leading the way is such a huge part of hitting and is an area that a majority of young players never fully develop. The power that is generated by the hips in a baseball swing is based on the principle of torque. The same way a golfer, boxer, tennis player and pitcher use their core muscles to turn, so do the best hitters in the game. Players need to "learn to turn" to the ball.
Principle #3 Leveling
The greatest difference between a linear and rotational hitter is their approach to the ball after heel drop. Leveling is the technique that allows the bat to drop down into the path of the ball, and is irrefutable as to whether it is really happening, because it is. Dipping the back shoulder, dropping the barrel of the bat level to the ball and swinging up through the oncoming pitch. Note: In order to level the bat has to drop down. Do not confuse this with swinging down, because it is not.
The process of the elbow working up and around the body is an essential part of leveling and the only way a player can ever get the barrel where it needs to be.
Principle #4 Ideal Impact
Ted Williams wrote that the ultimate contact point is made when the barrel of the bat and ball meet at a 90 degree angle. Another term that is used to describe ideal impact is hitting with your hands "inside" the ball. A couple things have to happen to make ideal impact; one, you have to let the ball travel deep enough into the hitting zone and two, your front elbow has to move up and around your body.
Take a stand and make the hitting experience for your players make a difference.
Principle #5 Extension & The Power "V"
Finally, we will take a look at "Extension" and the long part of the swing, also referred to the Power "V". Great swing mechanics can be broken down into two simple elements; short and compact to the ball, long through the ball. It is this concept of "getting long" that really sets the great hitters apart. The longer a player can keep the bat in the plane of the pitch, the better chance they will hit the ball and make contact. professional baseball players understand the importance of keeping the wrists square at contact and push through to the "V" without rolling through teh ball, but rarely is it taught. You simply cannot ignore the significance of having a long swing and keeping the bat in the plane of teh ball as long as possible. It is way too important. Teach your players short to the ball, long through it!
Weight Transfer * Hips * Leveling * Ideal Impact * Extension
The best players in the game use rotational mechanics. The very same mechanics that Ted Williams wrote about in his book and used as a player. The best hitters in softball are using these exact mechanics. Make the change and give your players something special; great mechanics and the opportunity to maximize their potential.
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