Some basic tips to help the beginner or younger softball players
Hitting: How can you get better at hitting? By hitting. Hit off a tee, in cages, do soft toss, in games. Michael Jordan once said: "The hardest thing to do in any sport, is to hit a ball as it was rapidly heading toward you with a 2" stick"
There’s nothing anyone can do to
make you hit the ball, except practice, by watching and keeping your eye on
the ball. Ted Williams said " I watch the ball from the second it leaves
the pitchers hand, until it hit’s the bat". He said he could see
the direction of rotation and from that tell which direction or path it would
NOW, on the other hand there an awful lot you can do to make the ball go a lot further when you do hit it. First off you must have a full swing, start with the bat as far back as it will go. With the bat back, you get that much more distance to get the bat moving and accelerating. I mean way back. Next when you swing you must hold on to the bat with both hands the entire swing and you must go all the way around, or follow through, all the way. Just like in golf if you don’t follow through, the ball won’t go very far. When you see films of Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle swing they end up with the bat on their back! With both hands still on the bat. Watch the college softball world series, all the homerun hitters have a homerun swing. Way back to start and all the way around to finish.
This is different then the way boys are thought to swing. Boys are stronger they can use a short choppy type of swing. The new way to teach boys is: get a hit and get to first. They only want the 3rd and 4th batters to get the big hit and bring everyone home. When you watch the 3rd and 4th hitter they have the Babe Ruth swing! With girls you want a good sharp hit out of the infield before a infielder can get to the ball, now you want that hitter on 2nd or 3rd.
Hit off a batting Tee several times a week, many major league players hit 100 - 300 off a tee to keep the swing level and strong.
Use soft toss with wiffle balls or even 1" golf ball size wiffle balls. Watch the ball! As you watch, you will start hitting.
Believe this or not. Use a plastic bat with wiffle balls in the driveway or backyard, use the 2" plastic bat and the 4 ½" plastic bat. Try to make the wiffle ball go as far as you can. This is used in college when hitters get in a slump.
Go to the batting cage. There are several in our area. Look in the phone book under Baseball- Ranges or cages. If possible hit in the boys hardball cage. Use the medium hardball speed. This is much easier on the girls then hitting the 4" cage type softballs. They’re hard and usually set at 45 mph. After a couple rounds with the softballs, the younger girls say it hurts there wrist and arm. The hardballs don’t do this. If they can hit a hardball, softballs are easy.
Bats: This has to be the most misunderstood part of softball. At this age don’t go out and spend several hundred dollars on a bat. Bats are sold with the weights and lengths stamped on them. Using the wrong weight and length may cause a batter to hit nothing. Borrow bats and use team bats, notice the sizes. When you find one that works, then buy one, a cheap one $50.00 is to much. Next year that bat won’t work. The best players use a different bat for each pitchers speed. In college the coach hands the batter the bat she will use, that day.