Softball is a familiar and fun pastime that is enjoyed by many people. Everyone wants to make a great hit, bring the runners around, and maybe even get a home run. The following tips will help you increase the power of your swing for that great hit whether you are playing at the company picnic or in a league. Each part will create a relatively small increase in your power, but together they will create a mighty package.
To be able to fully utilize your strength, you need to start from a good position. Your feet should be shoulder width apart and facing the plate. Keep your knees bent and most of your weight on your back leg. That will allow you to drive your weight forward on to your lead leg as you swing, which creates more forward momentum.
When you ready your arms, straighten your lead arm back instead of keeping it tightly bent; that will keep your swing level and allow you to lead with the handle to be ready for the snap. This will result in your lead elbow being higher than your rear elbow, which will help you achieve a slight upswing at the end to launch the ball up and out.
Loading and Striding
When the ball is in its arc, you will start to load for the hit. What this means is that your weight will shift entirely to your back leg so that you can take a good-sized step forward with your lead leg. You will start transferring your weight into the lead foot as you plant it and follow through with the rest of your weight. A strong stride will help the next step by allowing for a more powerful hip rotation.
Hip and Wrist Snap
The timing of these two actions is precise – they must be performed together. As you push your weight onto your lead leg, your hips need to rotate forward in a quick snap to create more power. When this is done right, your hips will be squared to the pitcher as you make contact and follow through, and your back foot will rotate toward the pitcher.
Your arms will have pulled the bat forward during the start of the weight transfer, but it will still be pointing mostly backward. When your arms are out over the plate, a strong and effective snap, or rotation, of the wrists will quickly accelerate the bat and bring it around for contact with the ball.
Speed, Swing, and Follow-Through
Your swing will start out slow and exponentially increase as you transfer your weight, drive your hips, and rotate your wrists. That is intentional, as it gives you time to watch the pitch and evaluate where the ball is going to come in and when to ramp up speed to knock it out of the park. However, that does not mean that there is a lag in the swing – that will only slow it down. The swing is a continual movement that starts slow and builds dynamically.
The bat should travel in a straight line from loading to contact and then have a slight upswing during follow-through. An important note about contact: if you hit the ball slightly below the horizontal centerline, not only will this create some lift on the ball, but it will create an under-spin which will help take the ball further out. During the follow-through, you will initially still be applying power through the bat, as stopping the swing short will decrease power. As the follow-through progresses, your top hand will necessarily let go of the bat. Now, drop that bat and run while the ball goes soaring over the outfielders’ heads!
Knowing these things in your head is one thing, but knowing them in your body is more important. That is why it is important to practice. Use a tee to practice; it allows you to get more hits in, which helps you build muscle memory faster. When using a tee, after you ready your stance, look up over center field before looking at and hitting the ball – it’s a classic example of going where you’re looking.
That’s all there is to it! Get out there and practice today so that you can wow everyone at the next game.