Website Manager

Approaches to Hitting

There is no "universally accepted" approach to hitting. Many people talk about aspects of hitting without ever really having studied it. Some repeat what their youth coaches taught them 20-30 years ago. Even among those who have studied hitting, there are huge disputes (just ask two coaches to debate linear vs rotational hitting!). And those who have hit for a living (professional softball and baseball players) are always attempting to make adjustments and improvements. They are always analyzing their swing to tweak their mechanics and change their approach. 

One way to demystify hitting is to examine what the best hitters do. For example, what do US National Team members look like at contact?

What do you see in common with regard to feet, knees, legs, hips, hands, elbows, shoulders, head?

How many arguments have you heard that the "baseball swing" is different than a "softball swing?"

Here are some of the best hitters in baseball, what do you see in common with regard to feet, knees, legs, hips, hands, elbows, shoulders, head?

Look at Adam Jones and Nicole Schroeder  Side-by-Side

Now, let's breakdown Nicole's swing at contact:

What does this mean for coaching hitting?

Teach hitting as a progression.
Use drills that break the fundementals down. 

For example:

Drill #1
Using a Tee, have the players slowly move through their swing mechanics and stop at contract. Ask them to check their posture. 
1. Did they unweight and rotate their back foot so the back knee can drive forward?
2. Is their front leg strong? Where are their front toes pointing?
3. Where are their hips? Are they too closed or over-rotated?
4. How are their hands? Are the palm up/palm down? Are they making ball contact at their front foot? (depening on their approach they may hit inside itches in front and outside pitches behind their front foot)
5. What is the bat angle and shoulder angle? Are the parallel and forming a good attack angle to the ball?
6. How are their elbows? Are they flexed at contact? Is the front elbow above the hands and hands above the ball? 
7. Where is there head? Are their eyes focused on the ball? Does their head position allow them to see the ball clearly (i.e. down and behind the ball)?

Drill #2
Hit through extension. Using a tee, have the player swing less than full-speed and stop when they reach full extention. Their bat should be pointing at the second baseman (if batting righty) or short stop (if batting lefty).

Ask the player who they felt at the end of each swing. Coach looks for the proper mechanics from the feet up. Sometimes it is hard to see all mechanics at the same time, it is okay to focus on one or two areas of the swing at a time.

Drill #3
This is where to do full swings of the tee. Ask the players to try and drive the ball up the middle. Keep observing the players for proper mechanics. When players get tired of hitting off the tee remind them of two things 1) It is hard to a moving ball if you can't hit one on a tee; and, 2) college players and MLB players hit off the tee every day!

Drills: There are litterally dozens (maybe hundreds) of different drills. Some drills help with timing, some help fix mechanical issues. Start with these basic three and build up from there!

HELPFUL TIP: Use your phone or the player's phone to record a few of their swings. The girls like to compare their swing to the still photos of the TEAM USA Players. Stick with it and the will be able to discuss their own mechanics and make adjustments along the way.

Coaches and parents can use these drills daily with a net and tee. It doesn't take long. Girls can get 100+ swings in 15-20 minutes!


Copyright © 2021 Apponaug Girls Softball  |  Privacy Statement |  Terms Of Use |  License Agreement |  Children's Privacy Policy  Log In