Slow pitch softball is much like baseball, with batters using different techniques to beat the other team. Slow pitch softball requires extra force in order to hit the ball a longer distance, and because of this, there are multiple different techniques a batter can use in order to improve their hitting.
The rest of the article will include what these slow pitch softball techniques are, why they work, and what mistakes should be avoided.
- The first thing you should learn to better your technique
- How can you have a better stance?
- How should you adjust your grip?
- Other things you should consider when evaluating your grip
- Where should your hands be located?
- What is the best basic swing technique?
- How swing and stance come together
- Why shoulder position matters
- When should you hit the ball?
- Where should you hit the ball?
- What to do for an inside pitch
- What to do for an outside pitch
- Some mistakes players make with their technique
The first thing you should learn to better your technique
One thing that a batter can do to help their technique is to practice their stance. This helps you hit the ball better and farther by creating the bat speed and momentum required in order to concentrate your power into the bat, which then transfers to the ball.
How can you have a better stance?
As you swing, concentrate on leaning forward and placing all your bodyweight on the balls of your feet so that you’re ready to run after your hit. You should make sure that you are in a power position, with your shoulders squared and your legs shoulder-width apart.
When it’s time for your softball swing, take a step forward with your firm front leg in order to transfer power to your front foot.
How should you adjust your grip?
In order to swing the softball bat correctly and hit the ball hard, you should make sure that you have the correct grip. Your hands should be stacked on top of each other, similar to the grip you would have on a golf club.
Your dominant hand should be at the top, your grip firm, while your non-dominant hand should act as your guiding hand below it. This should be a tighter grip than your dominant hand.
For a right-handed player, this would mean that your right hand should be at the top. Your left hand would act as a guiding grip below it and would be holding the bat tighter than your right grip.
Make sure that your bat is gripped with both your thumb and index finger, helping you to swing the bat quicker.
Other things you should consider when evaluating your grip
Your bat should sit towards the top of your palms, where calluses tend to form. A common hand position mistake people make is crossing their wrists, which should always be avoided.
If you are having problems batting and have made sure to follow all these steps, try to move your hands up the bat a little bit for a choke grip. This creates the feel of a shorter bat and makes bat control easier because the hitting surface is shorter, but it will also give you less power when hitting the ball.
Where should your hands be located?
Make sure that your arms are bent close to your body and your hands are located about three or four inches in front of your chest. Your back elbow should be bent and raised until it is almost level with your shoulder.
Your batting stance should be relaxed so your shoulders stay down. This is incredibly important because it will allow your softball swing to have more force.
What is the best basic swing technique?
The most important part of softball is mastering the basic swing. By combining your stance and grip, you can be sure to hit the ball far.
When swinging, you should aim for the ball to hit the bat about five to seven inches below the bat head, making sure to follow through on your swing all the way. Your goal should be to hit the ball at an upward angle in the strike zone.
After your bat makes contact with the ball, you can let go of the bat with your top hand, following through with the lead hand until that arm is fully extended.
How swing and stance come together
The batter should push off the back foot when the softball approaches the plate, and the back knee will move in, with the hips in a good rotation. Hips stay parallel to the ground during this time.
For a right-handed batter, this would mean that the batter should push off the right foot and swivel toward their front hip as they make contact with the softball.
In order to make sure that you know where you are hitting, it is imperative that you make sure that your eyes remain level and alert to different pitches. Your lead arm should be at a 90-degree angle.
This batting stance will result in power hitting. Doing this will result in more power being swung at the ball.
Why shoulder position matters
If your shoulders are not in a tension-free, balanced position, your swing will be off. If your back shoulder drops down, creating an unlevel position, you will not be able to complete a powerful hit.
Additionally, if your front shoulder is rounded too high or dropped too low, your hands will be at an awkward angle, causing you to grip the bat loosely. In turn, the bat loses speed and will not hit the ball with maximum blow.
When should you hit the ball?
Slow pitch softball players should aim to contact the ball when it is about one foot away from the batter’s box.
For an outside pitch, this contact point is between the center of the body and the back hip. The player’s hips remain parallel to the plate in a straight line, as the player’s weight remains on their back leg, until your bat makes contact with the ball.
Once the bat makes contact, the back toe begins to pivot inward as the back leg turns while the hitter moves through the swing. The front leg turns as well, allowing the hips to rotate as the body flows through the swing.
Where should you hit the ball?
Believe it or not, where you hit the ball can be a huge factor in where it goes, and how far. If you hit the ball on the underside, or “under spin,” it will make the ball carry farther than if you hit it directly in the middle.
During batting practice it’s a good idea to practice aiming for the bottom half of the ball until you have enough skill to utilize the under spin.
What to do for an inside pitch
An inside pitch happens when a pitcher throws the ball close to the batter, which can be difficult to hit. The ball contact will likely be sooner on inside balls, and the contact will be in front of the player’s body.
In order to make the most of this, the batter’s shoulder pulls to drive their elbow back in a little movement so that they can swing sooner. This also allows them to open their hips faster, and complete a more compact swing.
What to do for an outside pitch
An outside pitch is when a pitcher throws the ball over the edge of the plate that is located farthest from the batter. With this pitch, the contact spot will be between the center of the body and the back hip, which means that the batter must wait for the ball.
At the point of contact the back hip should drive through to add power to the swing. Your hands will be ahead of the bat when a pitch is outside, almost leading it through the swing.
Some mistakes players make with their technique
There are many mistakes that players can make, but one of the most common is that they try to hit the ball too fast. Instead of sitting back, letting the ball come to them, and appraising it before they decide whether to swing, they swing at it and are unable to hit, which can lead to getting them out.
Players can also have the wrong grip, or swing too slow with no follow through.
Anyone can be a great player if they put the time and effort into practicing. Use these techniques to impress your teammates next time you step out onto the slow pitch softball field!