Softball is a classic sport that requires players to put in great effort and practice for the sport to be enjoyable. Achieving a perfect hit in softball depends on making the right swing. Making these hits is usually not easy for players who are not familiar with the correct swinging fundamentals and techniques. Like other sports such as baseball, there are a couple of things you need to know when practicing to swing perfectly in softball. Always use a proper fitting batting helmet when working on your swing.
Read my article “How To Have The Perfect Slow Pitch Softball Swing: 10 Important Things To Keep In Mind” below for more information.
If you do not have the right grip on a softball bat, then it will become quite hard to make a perfect swing. Players need to apply adequate pressure on the bat using the fingers as opposed to the palms. For a right-handed player, you should the left hand to control the bat while the right hand should loosely support the bat; thereby allowing for a smooth and steady swing.
When holding the bat, it is important to ensure that the arms do not cross each other and the wrists are flexible. Both hands should be maintained in a steady position that allows application of the right force. For some players, particularly those that use the index finger to control the bat, moving both hands a few inches from the knob helps in achieving the right grip.
The hands should be maintained at approximately 3-4 inches from the chest and should be strategically between the shoulders. The elbows should be down and the shoulders tension free. This hand position is crucial for ensuring that the hands are flexible to swing from one side to the other. You can move the hands slights on a back-forth motion for a perfect loose position. In softball, the right position is also referred to as a power alley or power position.
There are several body parts involved during a softball swing. The legs, hips, and shoulders make the first movements before the hands swing. When preparing to swing a softball perfectly, the back knee should move in while the hips rotate and the same time ensuring that the hips are in a parallel position to the ground. When the body (legs & hips) is making this movement, the eyes and the head should not only be still but also be maintained in a level position.
Before the bat comes into contact with the ball, the player needs to keep the hips closed and the hands placed at least 3-4 inches from the chest. This position ensures that the player is ready to strike the ball using a perfect swing resulting in an excellent shot. The player should wait for the ball to reach her as opposed to meeting it halfway using the bat. In addition to this, she needs to be able to calculate the location and direction of the pitch that she wants the ball to go to.
Follow through the swing
Swinging in softball does not stop when the bat strikes the ball. Instead, it continues even after hitting the ball and as such, the player should follow the swing through. After the ball comes into contact with the bat, the player should extend her hands and roll over the wrists to end the swing with the back shoulder being close to the chin. While doing this, the player needs to ensure that she is able to keep the hips and knees well aligned. The coordination between the hands, hips, wrists, and knees is crucial in achieving a perfect swing.
Like in other related sports such as baseball, warming up is equally important in softball. This is because warm ups help in relaxing the muscles and heating up the muscles to eliminate the likelihood of muscle stiffness arising. Even before you head to the plate, warm-up a little with exercises such as jogging, stretching and jumping. Swing the hands on a back-forth movement from one side to the other. The most important thing about warming up is that it readies the body to play softball effectively by ensuring that the muscles are well powered up and energized.
Achieving a perfect swing is also determined by your stance. This is because you should stand in a perfect position within the plate such that you are able to swing freely with ease and power. Your stance’s position is dependent on the plate you are playing in. The best stance to stand at is one that makes it easy to ensure that all your swings at inside pitches, down pitches, and outside pitches are within your reach. You can use your playing experience to calculate the best stance for you depending on where you are aiming the softball as well as your playing technique.
The position of the bat also has an effect on the ease of achieving a perfect swing. It is recommended that you hold the bat in an upward position. This position is incredibly useful when swinging the bat to aim the ball at a far away location and high into the air. However, you need to be careful when making this hit as if you use too much power, it is possible to hit the ball very high in the air but it covers a short distance. You should always use considerable power when hitting the ball so that you are able to aim at the location of interest.
Practice swinging regularly
Achieving a perfect swing does not always come about automatically. Instead, it requires you to practice regularly so that you are able to improve on your weaknesses and enhance your strengths. Additionally, swinging involves a couple of different activities such as holding the bat appropriately, swinging the body correctly, rotating the hips perfectly, and maintaining a good-eye condition. Excelling in these activities requires continued practice and skillfulness to accomplish successfully. It is also important to note that all of these activities need to be done in perfect synchrony.
Use the right bat for you
For you to swing perfectly, you have to ensure that you use the right bat. There are predominantly two types of bats: light and heavy bats. Each of these bats has its own pros and cons. For instance, a heavy bat is perfect for hitting the ball farther at a long distance while a light bat hits the ball at a closer distance. On the other hand, a heavy bat is slower than a light bat. Ideally, the choice of the right bat should have a good weight-speed balance.
Doing strength training also goes a long way in making it easy for you to achieve a perfect swing. There are countless exercises that you can use for strength training including crunches, back bows, leg raises, and squats among other exercises.