In order to have a short, compact swing through the zone, you have to understand hitting mechanics. In today’s article, we break down the swing and discuss the important factors that lead to hitting success.
The first thing you have to do is understand that your trying to drive the knob of the bat inside the path of the ball.
Prior to the pitcher putting the ball into play, players should be taught to focus on the entire defense area, almost looking through the pitcher with a wide focus. As the pitcher begins the motion of the play, we then go down to a fine focus at the release point.
So, you have the ball that’s come down the middle of the plate. Your eyes are doing all the homework, and telling your brain what it sees. First, you try to pick up the spin or trajectory of the pitch. This is going to help you in terms of knowing where that ball is going to end up.
Remember you only need about 15 feet to react and carry out the swing. Many softball players have a tendency to be out in front too much when they make contact, and then you have no power. But if I do a good job of being in a power position when you get ready to swing, where there is a slight bend in the elbow and a bend in the wrist, you’re going to be able to have more sting on the ball when you make contact.
Hitting Mechanics – Phases of the Hit
Phase 1: Take a short quick stride. The distance of that stride is based on the height of the player. The stride foot heel has to land on the ground, so you’ve got a good strong base in your balance when your hitting.
Phase 2: Snap the hips. The hips start to open first in the pivot stage of the swing.
Phase 3: This is when we begin the unlocking of the shoulder, elbow and wrist. In the upside down V position, your hands are at the top of the strike zone or even a little bit higher (whischever is your personal preference) and what you are going to try to do is keep the barrel slightly higher than the hands. But in putting that barrel on the plane of the ball, you want to be able to get the club head on that plane as soon as possible and carry that club head through the plane making contact through the ball and follow through.
The key in Phase 3 – the actual swinging of the bat through the zone – is to get the knob of the bat inside that path of the ball. Remember, when we’re in the swing position, the relationship between the hands and the body are still pretty close, because what we have done is brought the knob inside the path of the ball. You still have a bend in my elbow and a bend in the wrist.
Now when you get ready to swing, my front toe is slightly closed – not open – you don’t want to commit those hips early. Snap those hips open and now you’re ready to go ahead and swing.
At this point you are going to unlock the shoulders but my body is not rotating away from the ball. The shoulder unlocks, the knob of the bat is going inside the path of the ball, and now you’re going to get ready to unlock the elbows, and make contact with the ball, with both eyes on the contact area. There is still a slight bend in the arms and the wrists are still cocked.
Once you make contact, you extend through the ball with that wrist snap and then follow through.
What do you think? Are you going to be teaching these hitting mechanics in your next practice?
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