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Hitting is probably the most analyzed, discussed, celebrated, exhilarating, and frustrating parts of fastpitch softball.  So much so that many parents will pay a lot of money to fastpitch softball instructors that can provide effective hitting tips to their daughter. 

So how can we help, especially if we are dealing with a player that has a LONG way to go? 

In this post, we will cover some very intentional ways of helping your hitters progress. Whether the hitter is a beginner or a veteran, these tips will have application. 

Let's dive in...

Fastpitch Softball Hitting Tip #1:  Use the Tee and Dry Swings Over and Over

If you are doing a mechanical overhaul for a hitter, the batting tee is the best place to do this.  When a player has a ball moving at them, it is really hard to be thinking about mechanics at the same time.  If you want to create proper muscle memory without frustrating the snot out of your player then be sure to use batting tee drills primarily.

Wondering what type of batting tee to use? 

Here are a couple of quick recommendations. These are 'higher-end" tees, so if you have a limited budget these might not be the best fit.

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  1. We currently use the Jugs Pro-Style Tees and they have held up well.
  2. We have also heard great things about Tanner Tees as well as G-Tees.

However, we haven't used the Tanner or G-Tee options (yet), so we can't speak from personal experience. We just know they received great reviews and recommendations. If/when we use them we will update this post. 

Tip #2:  Show the entireswing broken down, and then begin working on one skill at a time

I believe it’s important for players to see the entire swing demonstrated to give them some background information of the swing as a whole. But after that, you need to begin breaking it down one aspect at a time.  Once again, work with dry swings and the tee when changing mechanics.

A key point here is that we coach one aspect at a time until it is mastered.  If you try to have a player change 3 things all at once, they will become overwhelmed and frustrated.   Give them 1-2 things to master before moving on so that they feel like they are making progress.

Softball Hitting Tip #3: STAY PATIENT AND POSITIVE

So much of working with our hitters is psychological.   For some players it can be an extreme challenge to stay positive.  Every player is different, so we have to “read” each player accordingly. 

But regardless of personality, it is important to stay positive with the player to help them see their progress and remind them of what they are doing well.

As coaches, it is easy to pick things apart constantly (with good intention).  If this is all that a player hears from us, they will soon become discouraged.

Tip #4:  Use front-toss drills (Appropriately)

Once the player is ready, begin incorporating front-toss (or machine) drills.  It is important to see how a player is swinging when a ball is coming towards them. 

Often times a player can do things properly off of a tee, but then their swing breaks down in the cage or a game. 

It is important to identify when their swings don’t “transfer” from the tee to the game so that the player understands what to work on.

Softball Hitting Tip #5:  Avoid picking apart swings during games

When I first started coaching, I thought my job during games was to remind each player of every little thing they were doing wrong with their swing during the game.  I learned the hard way! 

While giving some hitting tips during games is ok on occasion, we want our players to have the mindset of “see the ball hit the ball” when they are in the batter’s box.

Thinking about every mechanic in their swing during a game only creates “clutter” in her mind, and “clutter” is bad.  Practice is the time to pick things apart as a coach…games are not.  Players perform the best when they are feeling confident and “free.” 

The reality is that muscle memory is very hard to change in the middle of a game. So in most cases loading their brains with tiny mechanical "fixes" during a game just doesn't help.  

Hitting can be one of the most rewarding parts of the game, as well as the most frustrating.  And mechanics are only half of the battle.  

Will you need to give hitting tips and instruction to your softball players?  Absolutely!  Just be sure to be intentional about HOW (and when) you do it!

(By Tim Covey, Founder of Covey Sports)

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