Babe Ruth once said: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” He said it probably during the heat of a particular baseball game. All softball players and coaches know that getting a strike count is crucial in any game play.
Even if the best softball bats are available in the market for grabs, players should not only be dependent on the quality of their equipment but instead, be very well equipped with the techniques of batting. Players should also learn how to gain composure and confidence after hitting the ball with two strikes to aim for that first run.
Whenever a coach shouts to a player any of these lines: “choke up,” “reduce the zone,” or “inside/out swing,” your eyes should intently stare at the batter and you should wait for some major adjustments. It is essential for a coach to know that the best way of getting that last pitch is to just let the player do her own thing; assuming that the batter has good bat control, maintains focus, is relaxed, and has a disciplined strike zone.
Any coach should know that suddenly deciding to have the batter’s mechanical structure change would ultimately be detrimental to the batter’s psyche. All players in softball must be aware that the best softball batting strategy is to make no physical adjustments and just bring the practice into the game.
However, players and coaches should be aware that if a player has a poor at-bat performance, alternatives should be taken into consideration. Any hitter should take in mind the following adjustments:
1. Choke Up
This grip is ideal to use as an alternative to control a heavier or larger bat. This is when the hitter moves her grip further up the handle of the bat. This technique shows significant improvement in the bat control of the hitter. When a player adjusts the grip on the bat’s handle, her balance and comfort might be affected.
2. Split the Grip
The split grip is an ideal technique to use when players are struggling with the concept of using both hands at the same time. The split grip is when a player adjusts the top hand making an approximate three to four inches space between the hands. By having the hitter split her hands, the hand tends to act separately from each other, something that the hands are used to doing. Theoretically, this alternative batting technique is said to also improve bat control. However, players and coaches should ask themselves whether a choke or a split grip reduces bat speed.
3. No-stride Technique
This technique is when a batter begins in a balanced position with feet about bat-length apart and the front toe closed. Using this technique, the hitter may actually allow the bat to reach the impact area quicker. This technique is simple and it eliminates poor striding mechanics of a hitter.
4. Inside/Out Swing
The inside/out swing is when a hitter lines up her belly button and back heel depending on the location of the pitch. Using this technique allows the hitter to be more selective in the pitches thrown at her. This is when a hitter decides to adjust her hands during the swing to outside or inside pitches. The inside/out swing is the most helpful technique in a two-strike adjustment.
5. Reduce the Zone
This technique employs philosophy and good technique. Coaches and players should be observant and should anticipate where the ball is being pitched in different zones. Deciding to reduce the zone from a low outside strike will lead to a foul ball. If the hitter is then asked to watch for a strike from the middle to outside, the inside pitch will have problems. Players should be aware that if a pitcher locates for an inside strike, hand adjustment is critical. Coaches and players should work on being mentally tough especially when the ball is contacted down on the handle; hitting through and finishing properly should be deeply worked on.
Whether you are playing baseball or softball, the first goal is to hit the ball and aim for that first run. All players know that a step to a base is a step closer to a home-run. Batting is a skill that involves great practice. Practice the right technique with the best softball bat equipment available in the market; all players can generally be successful in reaching this objective in softball.