Why do so few Fastpitch hitters feel “fly” in the box? Define fly? Very good, excellent, cool and awesome are several options listed in the Slang Dictionary. Most hitters are tense, nervous and over-anxious in game situations, but to maximize power and consistency, hitters must remain both relaxed and intense.
The gentlemen from the music group Far East Movement came out with a popular song that is helping us with our Fastpitch hitting skills this week. Although Kev Nish, Prohgress, J-splif, and DJ Virman may have other interpretations for their lyrics, watch us apply it to successful hitting.
As hitters, maintaining flexible strength in our hands and upper bodies is essential for maximizing power and consistency. The 2010 Far East Movement song, G6, refers to the Gulfstream 650, the fastest and longest range business jet available. Like this massive machine, hitters work to develop the fastest hands to produce the longest-range line drives possible. Of course we desire to achieve these exhilarating results!
Therefore, I suggest hitters actually fly like a G6. During the swing, our hands should literally move like an airplane in flight. Think this sounds crazy?! Let’s break it down. Use your imagination and picture yourself on a ball field. Then, picture yourself stepping into the hitter’s box. Now, see a line from the back of home plate extending all the way through center field. Take three seconds to close your eyes and visualize the field and, of course, the line.
This imaginary line is called the Power Line. In simplest terms, hitters who maximize their power and consistency keep their power and energy on the Power Line throughout the swing. In order to stay on the line, our hands should move like a plane coming in for a landing, touching down on the runway and taking back off.
Take another three seconds and picture a plane coming in for a landing, touching down on the runway and taking off. Now picture yourself swinging. The angle you see is from a vantage point directly across home plate from you, the hitter. From this angle, the hitter’s hands should move like the plane.
All of our activity in the box should encourage movement that is parallel to the Power Line. After loading, we want to simply throw our hands forward. Throwing our hands on our Power Line, not just to contact but through contact, creates a short, quick stroke to the ball, like a G6! I like using the chalk line of the hitter’s box as a visual. This initial forward movement corresponds to the plane’s approach and landing. When approaching contact, come in smooth and find the level of the ball, just as the plane must smoothly finds the ground.
Then, like the plane rolling down the runway in a straight line and at the same level, we want the bat to “touch down on the runway” for as long as possible. This phase is commonly called extension. We want to find the level of the ball and keep the bat on that same level while moving down the Power Line toward center field.
After contact, we should point down our Power Line with arms fully extended. Finally, we want to take off again. This is the follow through and finish of the swing. To maximize our extension, we must finish high.
Have you seen Fastpitch softball players who hit their backs, creating a loud thud on the follow through? If their bats were planes, they would crash every time! Hitting the back of the front shoulder does not maxi mize a player’s power or consistency. Although the thud may sound tough, this habit causes girls to cut their swings short and decrease the fast hands and long-range line drives they desire.
To maximize our effectiveness as hitters, we want to stay through the ball as long as possible. This increases our likelihood of connecting with the ball (increasing batting averages). It also increases our power and pop because all of our energy is focused in the direction we want the ball to go. Swinging hard does not guarantee maximum results, but swinging like a G6, like a plane in flight, can help hitters maximize potential.
Think about it this way. Flex your bicep. Yes, right now. Flex it!
Did you pull your arm in close to your body, or extend it out away from your body? Of course, you brought your arm in close, right? When we cut our swing short, we do not ever reach full extension. Full extension means both arms are completely straight and pointing down the Power Line. When we cut our swings short, we keep our arms in close to our body, and we are flexing our muscles. When we flex, our muscles are tight. Tight muscles are slow muscles.
Ever been popped with a towel? A towel snaps (and hurts!) because it is loose and flexible. The same result cannot be achieved with a piece of cardboard. I may be able to whack someone with cardboard, but I will not be able to pop them, like snapping a towel. Cardboard is too rigid.
When we keep our arms in close and never reach full extension, we do expend more energy. However, this makes us slow and rigid which decreases our chances of driving the ball consistently.
Find your rhythm. Feeling like a G6 is about feeling fly, feeling cool and awesome. Be yourself in the box, relaxed and confident. In practice this week, think about swinging like an airplane: come in for a landing, touch down on the runway for as long as possible and then take back off. In order to achieve this exceptional kind of extension, you must trust yourself. You must trust your hands. You must be willing to let them fly!
|Charity Butler is respected nationally & internationally as a pro athlete, writer, speaker, collegiate coach, hitting instructor and Certified Intrinsic Life Coach®.Currently, as a Pro Speaker for Sports World, Inc, Charity travels the country speaking to more than 40,000 people annually. As a recognized expert in confidence training, she also presents at various conferences, colleges & universities.Charity is the founder of Exceed Sports, LLC, and of the I Heart Fastpitch Campaign Join Charity On: Twitter, and on Instagram|
Have A Question or Some Feedback? Click and send me a voice message.
This content is provided with a Creative Commons Share-Alike License. Feel free to use this content, so long as you give credit to Gary Leland, of Fastpitch.TV and link to www.Fastpitch.TV