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How to Hit a Softball

By Craig Berman

Whether you’re trying to make contact in a fast pitch softball game or looking to pound a slower pitch over the fence in a more casual contest, the softball swing requires multiple parts of your body to work together. In particular, keeping your hands in the right position and shifting your weight forward at the right time help generate the swing path that leads to contact and power.

Pick the Right Equipment

Choose a bat you can handle comfortably. Heavier bats generally increase power, and you’ll want a bat with a large sweet spot that’s hefty enough to hit the ball for distance -- but the bat has to be light enough that you can whip it through the strike zone and generate the power needed to get the ball aloft. It should be long enough that when you step slightly forward and toward the plate, your swinging bat covers the outside edge.

Lock and Load

When getting into your stance, keep your feet shoulder width apart. Start off with your weight on your back foot and your knees slightly bent. Think of yourself as an animal coiled and ready to strike. Keep your grip on the bat loose, which promotes bat speed and keeps you from tensing up. As the pitcher starts his motion, take the bat back and keep your elbow up. When you’re ready to start your swing, you’ll shift your weight forward, exploding into the ball.

Take Your Cut

When the pitch is released, step forward with your front foot, striding slightly toward the plate, rather than directly at the pitcher. This makes it easier to hit the outside pitch. Once you’ve made the decision to swing, push your hands toward the ball as you bring the bat forward and keep your hands in front of the bat. This approach helps get the sweet spot of the bat in position to hit the ball. Feel your hips and torso pulling forward as well, getting your whole body moving as a unit.

Primed for Power

Keep the bat level as you swing. Focus on hitting line drives rather than getting the ball in the air -- this keeps you from developing a hitch in your swing that could lead to weak pop-ups. You want to hit the bottom half of the softball, which generates the backspin that leads to greater distance. Be patient and wait for a pitch you can hit, even if it means letting a strike go by.

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