7 Fundamentals Every Hitter Needs to Know

(AP Photo)

Hitting a softball is not easy if you don't have the right fundamentals nailed down. Coaches emphasize correct softball hitting fundamentals because they know: for players to be successful at the plate they need to have the fundamentals properly aligned.

If you're a softball player and want to learn more about the hitting fundamentals of the game here is a quick review of what you need to know:

Softball Fundamental No.1: The Right Grip

When gripping the bat, the hitter needs to apply pressure with the fingers, not the palms. She grips the bat where the calluses are. The bottom hand which would be the left hand for a right-handed batter controls the bat, and the top hand supports the bat loosely. The bottom hand grips the bat just like a person would grip a hammer or a golf club.

The top hand is placed against the bottom hand with the door-knocking knuckles (middle knuckles) of both hands in a straight line. The arms are not crossed. The bat is gripped loosely and the wrists have some flexibility.

Some hitters curl the index finger of the top hand so that it only lightly touches the bat. For better bat control the player may choke up on the bat by moving both hands several inches up from the knob. A choke grip means a shorter bat and less power.

Softball Fundamental No.2: Hand Position

The hands start close to the body about three to four inches in front of the chest and between the shoulders. Both elbows are down, and the shoulders are tension free. Some players prefer a little movement back and forth with the hands and shoulders to keep them loose. This position is known as the power position, or power alley.

Softball Fundamental No.3: Stance

The player positions herself in the center of the batter's box so she can swing at pitches all over the strike zone. The batter keeps her feet parallel to the direction home plate is pointing and digs them in around shoulder-width apart.

She bends her knees slightly, and keeps her weight evenly distributed on the balls of her feet. She moves her hands about 5 to 7 inches away from her body and approximately even with her shoulders. She points the bat upward and angles it slightly toward her body and then turns her head toward the pitches and focuses her eyes on the upcoming pitch.

Softball Fundamental No.4: Stride

As the pitcher is moving toward the release, the hitter is starting to make some preparatory movement -- the stride, which moves the front foot to establish momentum into the pitch. The stride should not be more than eight inches.

At the same time with the stride, most hitters will cock their hips and also have some movement with the hands. The hip cock is the inward turn of the front hip. The front shoulder also turns in a little as the front hip turns in. The hips remain parallel during this cocking action and the front shoulder should be a little lower than the back shoulder. The front knee turns in slightly and points at home plate, and the back knee remains firm but flexed.

As the hips and shoulders are turning, the hands are moving as well. Just after the stride, the hitter's top hand turns slightly so that it is closer to the pitcher than the bottom hand. As the pitcher releases the ball, all preparatory movement should be completed.

As the stride is completed, the hitter's weight is back on the inside of the rear foot. The hands should now be in the hitting position, just off the rear shoulder as the ball is released. The knees should be flexed and ready to initiate the swinging motion.

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