There is one thing that takes place in the world of fastpitch softball instruction, every week, week after week, for eternity. It goes something like this:
Dad – “She was dropping her hands (insert whatever flaw you can imagine here) all weekend long!”
Me to player – “Which of the adjustments we work on every week did you try?’
Player – “None, all I kept hearing was I was dropping my hands, so I tried to not drop my hands!”
Me to Dad – “Did you remind her of any of the adjustments you hear us work on every week?”
Dad – “No, I just kept telling her to stop dropping her hands!”
Next week, new verse, same as the first, except with a new problem that Dad wants fixed.
I tell hitters all the time. You can learn how to hit or you can keep doing what you’ve been doing.
What does that mean?
Most people think hitting instruction is a new drill every time a new problem comes up in the hopes that the new drill will solve the new problem. And like the shampoo bottle – rinse and repeat!
Unfortunately, anyone in education will tell you that the Band Aid style of hitting instruction is just that, a short-term remedy that offers no long term relief. You trade one problem for another problem for another, until you get back to the first problems all over again.
When you start math class or English class, or in my case, shop class they don’t tell you all the things you are not supposed to do, do they? No they start off with teaching you the basics, and then adding layer upon layer of new information until you master the skill.
After you master the first skill, pass the class, you move on to the next, higher, level and you repeat the process of learning the basics and building upon them until you master the skill. Yes you make mistakes but you are not taught how to correct those mistakes by being told not to do the same thing wrong again, you learn new positive based methods to solve the problem.
Dads, Moms. Coaches and Players:
Hitters General Warning:
The use of band aid style hitting instruction is bad for your mental health and batting average. The use of this style of correction has been proven to cause massive pain, suffering and heartache for all involved!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.