Tuesday, 10 January 2012

5 Tips For Getting Better at Hitting a Softball

There comes a time in every athletes' life, they must admit the reflexes aren't what they used to be, the energy level is reduced and the muscles are sore after a workout, which at one time was more of a warm up activity. It's hard to admit, but you're past your prime and can not compete with the youngsters any longer.

However, that doesn't mean you can not satisfy that urge to compete as a weekend warrior and enjoy the camaraderie of team mates, both male and female, while indulging in your favorite beverage. The game of Slow Pitch Softball can be your answer to all your problems.

Slow pitch leagues, "over 50", Co-ed and several other divisions, exist in every town and city in every state and are mostly played on the weekends, in case the players require recuperating before returning to work Monday.

The game is more or less identical to baseball, with a few variances, and the slow speed and large size of the pitched ball makes hitting it extremely easy, but that is not always the case. Most former baseball and fast pitch softball players, have a different swing that slow pitch requires, and can be quite frustrating when you trickle a slow ground ball after taking a mighty swing.

In order to hit well in slow pitch softball, you must modify your swing. Here are a few tips which will help you develop a good swing for the game.

1. Softball bats are different in shape and length than baseball bats, both in the handle and the barrel size. Choosing the correct bat is, of course quite important, but the rule of thumb is "choose the largest bat you can still swing comfortably." If a 34" bat feels good, but you could go to the 35" with little trouble, go to the 35".

2. Most players will grip the bat at the bottom against the knob in order to create the most power. If choking up a bit feels better for you, do it. Remember, identical to baseball, the speed of the swing is more important to power than the weight of the bat.

3. The ideal softball swing is from a level cut or swing to a slight upper cut, which gives the ball a lift into the air, which is what power hitters want. This requires practice because there's a very fine line between hitting a towering home run blast and a high pop fly in the infield. A level swing will produce line drives and ground balls, which are ideal for less muscular power hitters.

4. Keep your head level and eyes on the ball. This is nothing new for former ball players, however, the flight and arc of the pitch is totally different from a baseball or fast pitch. It is quite natural for a player to pull their heads, taking the eyes off the target, as they mightily swing at the "balloon" approaching them. This results in hitting little dribblers back to the pitcher.

5. Patience, patience and patience. Again, baseball and fast pitch players were given a split second to determine if they would swing because of the speed the ball got to them. Watching and waiting for a high pitched ball, which will have a back spin if properly thrown, to reach you may seem to take forever. Controlling the urge to swing too early can be a monumental task for a normally anxious hitter.

These 5 tips, although not earth shattering, will make you a much better hitter in slow pitch softball. Practice these tips with the same work ethic you've always used and you'll be a star player once again, regardless of your age.

Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth, shares his advice on running baseball drills on his exciting info packed website: http://www.learn-youth-baseball-coaching.com

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