One thing has become very clear to me over the last 18 months or so. There is one thing that almost everybody believes about hitting. And I couldn’t disagree more.
Belief: Hitting problems are mechanical problems.
Well, let’s get into it. Yes, there are some mechanical things that all hitters need to do well. I’m not saying that mechanics have nothing to do with hitting problems. but they’re rarely the most important thing that needs fixing.
Coach Don and I just had this discussion on our Everything Fastpitch podcast and I would really recommend you listen to that discussion to help you get a more complete understanding.
Here’s the “Cliff’s Notes” version:
Hitting problems are tied to two things that are very closely related: Inconsistency of the swing and timing! We’ve all heard at least a hundred times that hitting is timing, right! Well, if we want good timing, we need to have a swing that stays consistent. When a player can’t repeat her swing she has no chance of making the timing adjustments she needs to make.
Coaches, we need to look at our hitters through a different set of eyes. When you see a hitter who’s late, is it really a mechanical problem, or does she just start too late?
Too many of us want to think that it is the mechanics when it is almost always the fact that she just starts her preparation too late.
She starts her preparation too late because she has no idea which swing she just took. What do I mean which swing? Watch your kids closely and for many of them they have at least a handful of different swings. They don’t mean to, but they do. When they don’t repeat their swing they have no chance of making the adjustments they need to make to get back on time.
Ask your kids this question: Would they rather have to take one really hard test tomorrow or would they prefer to take five really hard tests tomorrow? They will look at you like you just grew an extra eyeball in your forehead! Studying for one test is a whole lot easier than studying for five. But when it comes to hitting, they really are often studying for more than one test because they change their swing from swing to swing.
All hitters need to be more aware of their bodies and what they’re doing. Without that awareness, they can’t hope to repeat their swing. If they can’t repeat their swing they are going to be lost like last year’s Easter eggs!
It’s not mechanics, I promise!!
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.