Suzy WillemssenSuzy is an instructor at the Frozen Ropes Baseball/Softball facility in Chantilly, VA, the head coach of Blue Jays Gold, an 18u ASA junior olympic team and is also the Varsity Softball Head Coach at Chantilly HS. Prior to the Chantilly position, she was the Assistant Varsity Softball Coach for West Springfield High School from 2003-2005 and the Assistant Junior Varsity Softball Coach in 2002. In 2004 Suzy was awarded the Patriot District Assistant Coach of the Year. Suzy played softball at the University of Iowa where she majored in physical education. She has worked numerous softball camps and clinics throughout the Northern VA area and is known for her knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for the game.
Hi. I am Susie Williamson and I am a Travel Ball and high school softball coach. I have Aaron here helping me. We are going over some basic fastpitch softball skills. In particular, were going to be discussing some key parts to hitting and we are going to review the stance and how we want to get rhythm and movement and why thats an essential to proper hitting mechanics. Also I want to say that all great hitters have common elements to their swing. So, it doesnt matter if you are Lisa Fernandez, if you are Dereck Jeter, if you are A-Rod, if you are Crystal Bustos, all of them actually swings the bat the same way. So, I know theres controversy that there is a softball swing, there a baseball swing. No, there is a just one great swing and it doesnt matter if you play baseball or softball, these swings all has the some common characteristics. One of then, we will talk right now about is the stance and you could either be start out with an open stance. In the open stance your front foot is going to be back a little bit, so we call this is an open stance. You can have your feet squared so this is you know square and/or you can have start off with a closed stance and in that case, your front foot is going to be closer to the plate. It doesnt matter really how you want to start, but what you want to do is make sure before you start swinging the bat that you have your feet in pretty much straight alignment and that your body is square to the plate. So, whatever you would do you have to get into this position. Its also crucial and key that you have both your eyes looking straight at the pitcher and that their level. Often players will have their head tilted and theyll have one eye looking. We dont walk around this way, I dont see girls eye aiming each other like this, so youve got to have both eyes leveled; imagine you had a laser coming off your nose and it should be going straight towards the pitcher. As you know, its here Aaron. Shes got a nice flexion in her knees and both of her knees are inside of her feet. She has a slight bend that her waist and she has her hands up around her armpit, a little about shoulder level. Again, nice and relaxed and she has her bat at a 45 degree angle. So, this is where we want to be before we start initiating our swing and you can see that her elbows are nice and relaxed. They are nice and down. Its easy. Shes got her front elbow down, all the way little bit and her back elbow is down, but we have got still little bit of separation here from her back. So, this is going to be a position again that she wants to get to before she starts to initiate her swing. As we talked about earlier, hitting is all about timing and what you want to do is make sure you get the bat to the ball in contact consistently and hitting the ball square every single time. If you start late, you cant get that time back. In fact, if one-one hundredth of a second is ten inches. So, lot of times people will be like a little statue and they will just be rigid, they dont have any movement, they dont have rhythm in their swing and then there they wait, wait, wait, wait and then they try to go. Thats often difficult. So, what Aaron would be doing here in her stance that she is nice and relaxed. Shes got a little movement. Youll see some of the major leaguers and some of, in fact, fastpitch softball players. You know they might have a high leg kick. Kelly Kretchman starts open and then it gets here, but they all do some kind of movement to get themselves going to have a little dance in their stance, so to speak, so they can make sure they get everything ready, so when its time to initiate the actual swing part of the swing mechanics that they're ready to go and that will help make sure that they're going to be on time, consistently, and have the bat hitting the ball hard, thats what we want, hitting the ball hard consistently, hitting the ball square. So, lets just review again a little bit here with Aaron. Again, shes got the bat about 45 degree angle. She has got both the eyes are going to be looking towards the pitcher lever, nice and soft, she is going to create in her way whatever she wants to do for a little bit of rhythm, a little bit fluidness right now in her stance. In next segment, we will talk a little bit our negative and positive moves and then the actual swing part itself.