Suzy Willemssen: Hi, I am Suzy Willemssen and I am Head Coach of the 18 and under Blue Jays Gold, 18 and under girls Fast Pitch softball Team. Today we are talking about very common hitting flaws and some fixes to help your players meet their goals. A super, super common softball hitting flaw is casting of the hands and there are some misconceptions on what is actually is happening and I want to go over that a little bit with you and then give you a drill to help your players. Make sure that they are keeping their hands and where they need to be and when they make contact with the ball it will be square and solid.
Very often when people think of casting of the hands, they think their arm gets barred out and then the player is coming around and swinging this way. Usually, that's not what it's happening. Usually what happens is that the player releases the wrist too soon, so actually they uncork the wrist. The back gets -- and essentially drag through the zone and then you can see how they are going to swing around the ball and if they come up with anybody that has any speed and comes inside on them, they will never be able to hit it.
So what we want to make sure is that we keep -- I would like to call it the hinge angle or keep your wrist corked all the way through the swing. Right now we have bat lag so then at this point, Megan is determined -- is now it's the time to release the hands and there she goes. So you can see the only way this is going to occur is by keeping her wrist corked. Now again, if it's going to be an outside pitch she would release out here; if it's going to be an inside pitch she would be holding that a little longer and release over here.
Again, we always want to be hitting the ball nice and square. So you say, "Okay, that's great; how am I going to -- what is the drill I can do for my players?" well, it's something kind of fun and it's called the chuck it drill and actually this is a dog toy that you can get at the pets store; they cost for $11 or $12 and just take your tennis balls and what Megan is going to demonstrate for us is she is going to take a little chuck it; she is going to get in her hitting stance and she is going to swing as if she is swinging out a ball.
Now what you want to be looking for with your players is that we want the tennis ball to be on a straight line going straight-back into our back stop. That indicates that she released her wrist right at the point of contact if we are having a pitch going down the middle. If the ball is going out to the right then we know that Megan released a little too soon. If the ball is released and it's going to the left, that's a good indication that she pulls out and start to get a slicing action and then another indication of a poor hand placement. So again, we want to keep the wrist corked, we want to see Megan's ball going straight back.
Another thing when Megan is swinging and again you want to look for with your players; if the ball tends to be going a little high, lot of times look at their hips. If hips are being tilted back you are going to get two grade of a swing plane when they are coming through. So a lot of times, I like to tell my players instead of keeping the back shoulder up I like them to think in terms of keep your hips nice in level and a lot of times that seems to help make sure that everything is coming through on a good nice line. Wow, trying to get me Megan, I love it. A good nice line and so we want everything to be released going. Again, fun softball drill and it get into your players and the coaches instant feedback.