Finding ways to become a better hitter is really a lot easier than it sounds. Just like anything else people want to improve on the keys are to focus on the basics, practice, listen to your coach, be consistent, and of course practice. I know that sounds a little trite, but I can’t emphasize enough how important practicing is. Here are five exercises that have helped some of the biggest lost cause batters start to hit consistently for the wall.
Practice your swing
The first exercise is simply hitting. Get a bucket full of balls and a friend who can pitch, or go down to the batting cages and let a machine pitch for you. No matter how bad you are, eventually you will hit a few balls. When it happens, try to remember how the bat felt, where your arms were when you swung, and what you were focused on when you made the connection. Each time you connect, you will notice that it becomes easier and your body seems to act more and more like hitting the ball is something natural. Don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen right away. Give it time, and be consistent, and keep at it.
Turning Foul Balls into Fair Balls
Having trouble with fouls? Are you noticing that the majority of your hits aren’t centering and are popping off in sharply to the right or left, and you just aren’t getting the meaty hits you need to clear the infield? One of the fastest ways to improve is to get several different bats. You can see our top choices of softball bats to see if any are right for you.
Now here’s where it gets tricky, and there are two schools of thought on how to do this. School one says that you start with the widest bat, and as you practice and start getting meatier hits, you switch to a thinner bat and work your way down to the size you plan on using. The other school of thought is that if you practice with a skinny bat, you will find it easier to get solid hits from your regular bat. Both are legitimate options and are based on personal preference.
Do you find your hits are short, and you aren’t getting the distance you want? This next exercise is for you.
Practicing your follow through can be one of the best ways to not only learn how to get farther hits, but to also help you get better overall direction control. This one is best if you have a coach or trainer there to help when you first get started, there is nothing more depressing than learning something the wrong way. Have your coach eyeball your movements to make sure they are smooth, and slowly run through the motions of a swing. The trick is that instead of just your bat, you have it weighted, so your body builds up muscle exactly where it needs it to be to add power to your hits.
Another great exercise, but a little trickier option, is the cut out. If you find you really can’t get a good swing, and you are at your wits end, this is a great option. Get a sheet of plywood, and a bat, cut out the path you want the bat to follow, and ensure that the bat fits and that when you swing it follows the track you have made in the plywood. While this exercise is a little more involved, once it’s set up, you can practice over and over until muscle memory takes over and you are swinging the perfect swing each and every time without even trying.
Use of Video
The last way we will look at today is one of the best ways to get an extremely detailed look into your batting ability and what, if any, mistakes you are making.
Just like golf pros have people film and play back there swings in slow motion, having your swing recorded, and then walking through the footage with a coach or trainer who can tell you exactly where you are going wrong, is a perfect way to see and understand exactly what you need to do to improve. As you practice and find yourself improving, this is a great time to re-take the video and go through the whole exercise again. Each time you hit a new plateau, you have the chance to improve even more. When you find yourself unable to find any mistakes, and you coach or trainer says your form is perfect, you will be happy to have taken the time to become a better hitter.