Comforts of Hitting…. Written By Troy Olson
Hitting what does it take to be a successful hitter? One could spend their entire life just writing about this one aspect of the game, all you need to do is search youtube and you soon realize there is a lot of experts out there. Everybody seems to have an opinion on this topic, and everybody seems to have a different way to be successful at hitting.
Is there one key that can make you or your child a great hitter? The answer to that is no, there is no magic spell that will make you a great hitter in this game. I do truly think after playing for almost thirty years on the mens side and talking with hundreds of other players there are a couple of key points.
First is comfort, if you aren't comfortable in the batters box the cards are stacked against you from the start. Some people grab a bat and head for the batters box only to look like a deer in the headlights of on coming traffic. Pitchers see these batters walking up there and they just start to drool, they know three fast balls and this ones heading back to the dugout. So how do we attain this comfort, the best remedy for this is obviously success. Nobody feels uncomfortable once they have had some success, doesn't matter if its doing Algebra or batting, being successful breeds confidence which makes us comfortable in these situations.
The batters that I have talked with who have had great success at the plate all say the same thing, we do live hitting practice. Well this makes sense doesn't it, live hitting simulates game time hitting and will help us achieve a more confident attitude in the box. I can relate to this because as a young fastpitch player starting out, my uncle threw hours of batting practice for me, this really helped in the development of my hitting.
I am a firm believer in making practice as game time like as possible, practice should be tough and challenge players to get better. Once we start to do this then games become fun, the reason they become fun is games become easier than our practices. I am not huge on pitching machines, but if you don't have someone to throw batting practice its better than nothing. Pitching machines allows one to kind of focus in on a small spot and swing away, live pitching still makes you pick good pitches to swing at….
I still think that using a pitching machine, hitting off a tee, and using other drills will help make you a better hitter. I also understand when I was younger we had several guys that worked on pitching and threw batting, many teams don't have this luxury either. This is probably why every time a guy volunteers to help out with a club the first question is, can you throw batting practice?
This can be tough to accomplish, throwing batting practice to people isn't easy. Usually you throw into a net, which is tough for me I prefer a catcher back there. Many times there's only one person to throw batting practice and you get tired trust me… Pitching to 15 girls and not getting a breather is not all it is cracked up to be. So if you are coach or a person involved in your club I highly recommend you ask around and try to find a guy that can throw or maybe a girl who played in high school or college who can help with these duties. Your team can never get enough live pitching and you will never find enough pitchers to throw to your team, kids love to swing a bat and they will keep hitting as long as you can throw that ball over the plate… Good Luck
Troy Olson has been playing mens fastpitch since he was 11. He grew up in a family of fastpitch players. His dad had 7 brothers and a cousin that made up their team in the 70's and 80's. This is his 30th year of playing this wonderful game. He helps coach a 16u team and is a member of their softball board. He has played in three National Tournaments over the years. His team the Siren Steel had his Dad playing 3rd, his cousin played SS, his brother played 2nd, his uncle pitched, and a couple cousins played outfield, and Troy played 1st. It was an awesome experience getting to play with his Dad.
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