Recently I posted about some goals I had and one of them was to fix my swing for softball. I think in my head I had some ideas about changing my mechanics and maybe swinging up at the ball, or something like that. In my head I was going to hit home runs, probably.
I didn’t put any thought or practice to this other than just going up to the plate and start swinging. I went to one practice a couple of Fridays ago, and that’s where I started to work on it. My first step to everything was to just ease into swinging – I haven’t swung a bat all Fall/Winter, and judging by how sore I’ve been the last week, my muscles are geared toward curling, not softball (and especially not running). This part was easy – I think I would score 100% on “taking it easy” in the first practice.
But the results weren’t great. Mostly a lot of weak hits, a lot of opposite field, a lot of foul balls. Fast forward to the first two games and I hit a heck of a lot of little ground ball dribblers. I couldn’t tell you for sure but it felt like I was either just on top or just below the ball with the bat. I definitely wasn’t making solid contact.
We had another practice this past Saturday. I came in with a specific focus: I needed to fix my swing. I spent a bit of time watching everyone else hit, until finally I took my turn up to bat. I know you should always practice the way you want to play, but since I wanted to hit a lot of balls, I was going to swing at everything. In a game, I probably want to avoid the “bad” pitches, but I’m also not going to get nearly as many pitches as I would in practice.
Making the decision to swing at everything was my first step to fixing my swing. The second step was again to just ease into it – I wasn’t concerned about how far I was hitting the ball, I just wanted to make solid contact. I made sure to take some practice swings, remaining cognizant of my wrist positioning and keeping the bat level, and not “swooping” it up.
When I first got to the plate, I had a sudden realization: I was waiting too long to start my swing. For two seasons I’ve been going opposite field, and had many weak grounders (because I was on top of the ball, usually). All because I was swinging late. With that in mind – and the decision that I was swinging at everything – I just started my swing a little earlier than I had been, and not waiting on it to see where it would end up across the plate.
And I was hitting everything. Solid contact across the board. Some hits were a little shorter than others – probably due to the height of the ball across the plate more than anything. But I had some real good, solid line drives. I hit to the fence (including the top of the fence), to the warning track. You name it. No home runs but I wasn’t worried about that. I was also pulling everything again, something I hadn’t done in a long time.
I was really excited after my at-bat. At the time of writing I haven’t played yet – I will add an update before posting though. I’m not sure how I’m going to approach the in-game situation – I don’t necessarily want to swing at everything. But I know at least that I can’t decide too late for my swings.
I think I hit 3/6 or something like that across two games. I didn’t have everything going too well in the first game, but the second game was a marked improvement. My last hit in the 2nd game was a grounder up the right side because I decided too late to start my swing. However – I would rather be able to change which side I hit based on timing, rather than making it obvious and shifting my body.
All in all, a good week of softball!