Softball Flaws and Fixes – Muscling the Ball

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 25,504
    Softball coach Suzy Willemssen discusses muscling the ball.

    Suzy Willemssen: Hi, I am Suzy Willemssen and I am Head Coach for the Blue Jays Gold, that's an 18 under Junior Olympic Girl's Fast Pitch Softball team. We are talking about common hitting flaws and their fixes. One of the most important things you can do for your players is to help them get a right tension level. With that, I mean if we are on a scale of 1-10, one being the girl is not ready, she is almost like a flimsy wet noodle, and ten, she is very tight, tense and wants you to swing through like that. Usually, when you ask a player on a scale of 1-10, where are you when you have your best hits? Quite often, they will say, "I was around a five or a six." So on this drill, we call it effort drill. I will be pitching to Megan and I want her to think in terms of a five or a six. What you will want to do with your player is pitch to them and ask them, "Where were you?" After a while, they will be able to pick it up. If they weren't ready and they were too relaxed, too loose, they will say they were probably like a three or a four. As a coach, as you start doing it, you will be able to see it yourself. If they are too tense, often times that will show up in the shoulders and you will see the hands coming too quickly, everything will be really super-tight up here and often the player say, "Yes, I feel like I rushed it. I felt like I was like a seven or an eight." Again, it is a great thing for you as a coach, as a player to get feedback. If you watch any of the great hitters hit, we watched the Olympic teams hitting the other day taking batting practice, they were fluid and flowing and that's what your players need to be. They are going to be successful when they are going to be relaxed. A relaxed muscle is actually going to be quicker and by relaxed, I mean a good, nice, relaxed tension. You have to be ready on time, but you can't be too tight because you are going to be slow. So again, this is called the effort drill in softball. I like to use front toss with it so I will be pitching to Megan and she is looking to be a five and six, nice and slowing, a nice, good rhythm and in fact, I am going to talk about rhythm for a moment. You want your body to be in a proper sequence. So the rhythm would be -- Megan wants to get nice and flowing. Now if she has a faster pitcher she wants to keep at same rhythm, her tempo might need to be a little quicker. So it might be a ---. If it's a slower pitcher, same rhythm, but she is going to keep it down a little bit to help her compensate for the slower pitcher. It all stems from her effort, her tension level. Again, we want to be five and six. A good indication that a player is at five and six, again is that they are heading those line drives, hitting fives. Often, I will tell the player, I want them to aim right for my face because that means they had everything to get it. Good job Megan. Again, I only want my players to be hitting strikes as well. As a coach, make sure you stay behind the screen, don't get out here, you get your good players, you will get nailed. So stay behind, give a good rhythm, have your players only hit strikes and again, they are looking for fives and six. I like my players to make an adjustment if they don't hit it square. I want them to come right back like Megan did right there and I want line shot right up the middle, again, a great indication like when we are doing long tee and other things. But again, Megan is looking for a nice five, six. There we go, there we go, that's it gal. There you have our softball effort drill.