Saturday, 30 June 2012

How to Improve Your Bat Speed in Fastpitch Softball

There's little doubt there are men reading this who are either macho, muscle bound jocks, or beer bellied want to be athletes, who will scoff at the idea a player, most likely female, needs to know how to increase their bat speed for fastpitch softball.

All I can say is that just shows their ignorance of the sport. Obviously, they don't realize that female fastpitch hurlers, such as Jenny Finch, have struck major league batters out in pitching exhibitions. They don't have a clue that a softball pitcher can throw a rise, drop and curve ball, as well as a screaming fastball which rival any baseball pitcher when pitching distance is factored in.

So we won't bother addressing issues with these types of people, let's address methods of increasing our bat speed through the hitting zone. In actuality producing bat speed for softball hitters differs very little for the same desired goal in baseball.

Physical strength, like it or not, is the initial step in increasing our bat speed through the hitting zone. The Core of the body, the legs, hips, fingers and arms are the muscles of the body directly utilized to create the explosive energy required to swing the bat. Weak core strength equals a slow bat.

Therefore, the initial building block to increasing bat speed is increasing core body strength, of which the legs are first. Squats and lunges are old fashioned, yet still the undisputed best and quickest method to increase leg strength. The squats can be performed with or without weights. Should you decide to use weights, reps are more important than the amount of weight lifted, as reps builds endurance as well as muscle mass.

Lunges are an excellent method for not only increasing leg strength, but hip strength as well, which is imperative to being able to quickly open the body and create the explosive speed required to effectively hit the ball hard.

The fingers are the next body part we strengthen. No, I did not say hands, I said fingers. The hands essentially consists of two parts, the fingers and the palms. Palms have no strength, they are only there to affect holding an object, while the fingers squeeze the object. Squeezing a tennis or racquetball will increase the finger strength and there are balls designed for specifically squeezing which will also work.

Now that we have strengthened our core body, let's look at some drills you can perform which will also help increase bat speed as well as hitting in general.

Balance is a huge factor in maintaining body control which is essential to a good quick bat swing.

Here's a very simple drill for training hitters to not over stride. A rule of thumb is the hitter's stride should not exceed the length of his bat. Have two players working together, each with the same length bat.

The hitter takes a stride and swing as if he were hitting a pitch. He stops before his follow through. The second player lays his bat down between the hitters feet. If the stride is

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