Softball can be boiled down to three fundamental aspects: hitting, fielding, and pitching. Of those three, only the former is required of every player in a game. Everyone must be able to hit the ball, whether you're a power hitter, an on-base hitter, or just a bottom-of-the-lineup hitter, you've got to practice and utilize good fundamentals every time you step up to the plate.
There are hundreds of great hitting drills out there, and most will focus on the same basic principles that go into a good swing. Here we take a look at three of our favorite batting exercises in the game of softball:
1.) Tire Blocks For Your Feet
A good part of the hitting process comes before the pitch is even thrown. As a hitter, you need to be in a comfortable but explosive, loaded position when you settle into your stance. Balance is important, as is keeping the power on the insides of your legs, not the outside. A good rule of thumb is to have the weight planted on the balls of your feet underneath the big toes.
One great drill to work on this aspect is to get a pair of tire blocks and place them outside of either foot in your stance. Have a tee set up and just practice driving your weight off the back block and through the swing.
The same concept can also be worked on with a tennis ball cut into two halves, or any number of items. The idea is that you keep the weight on the toes and the power loaded in between the knees.
2.) The Colored Ball Drill
One key aspect of hitting is keeping your weight back and staying patient through the pitch. As a hitter, if you move your weight forward too soon, you'll lose the power you have in the legs and wind up with an all upper-body swing. Try to stay loaded on the back foot until you are swinging through the ball.
A great exercise for this concept is to have a partner stand next you and toss up two differently colored balls for you to hit. While the balls are in the air, he or she will call out one of the colors and that's the one you will swing at. The idea is to keep that weight on the back foot and stay patient until you are ready to react.
3.) Drop Toss Hitting
Another important facet of hitting is quick hand speed. With a whole array of pitches that could come your way at any moment, you have to have quick hands able to react to different movements and speeds on pitches.
A good way to develop quick hand speed at the plate is to pair up with a partner and stand face to face. Your partner will hold the ball right out in front of them at shoulder height and drop the ball straight down and then move their arm away. As the hitter, you'll want to react quickly and put a good swing through the ball before it hits the deck.