Hey guys, something inspired me to play today… Talk about remembering the past.
In my previous post I mentioned my son had finally got his first job. His mother rewarded him for doing a good job by taking a trip to our hometown; Victoria, British Columbia. From what I’ve heard they’re having a blast, visiting family and friends. My wife and I are firm believers in rewarding people for their accomplishments, whether it’s a small or a big reward it always creates incentive for the individual to do their best, and focus on winning. My son got his first job and got in their good books on his first day; we saw it as an accomplishment and we wouldn’t generally take him on a trip for something like that, but he’s been doing really well in every aspect so we decided it was time to treat him. Anyways my family being away from home I’ve had time on my hands and instead of my regular routine, I decided get out on the field with some friends and play a round of softball. The game brought back lots of memories, and refreshed me on what the most important things really are in this game. I’ve decided to talk about 3 key factors that are crucial and that you should be practicing if you want to become great in softball:
1. Your stance, most importantly when up to bat – Your stance is the foundation of your swing. You want your feet firmly on the ground, back foot slanted on your tippy toes, and legs spread to what feels right to create leverage, and do this while maintaining equal distribution of weight between your two legs. If your stance is good, you will understand leveraging your swing power with your feet, as well as create maximum control. Practicing stance will make a lot of other important essentials in softball fall into place naturally; things like your swing, confidence and readiness.
2. Getting good at ‘The Change Up’ – The Change Up is an interesting, more advanced technique used in softball when pitching to throw the batter off of what he’s expecting from your throw. See, in softball speed is everything. Yes you want your throw to be as fast as possible, however with The Change Up, you’re actually misleading the batter to believe your throw is coming at him faster than it really is. As you will go head to head with the same batter multiple times in a game, keeping them on their toes and unknowing of how fast your pitch is really going to be, is a game changer. You don’t want to be predictable in this game as your opposing team will know exactly what your going to do, counter it quickly, and you will lose. When applying The Change Up, you should be pitching anywhere between 10-20 mph slower than your original pitch, change it up! Learn more about the essentials of The Change Up here.
3. Grip and hand positioning – If you don’t have the fundamentals of swinging down your life is going to be very difficult in this game. You should have your left and right hand placed together with your knuckles lined up, bat gripped loosely so your wrists have some wiggle room. The bottom hand should control the bat while the top hand supports it lightly. Once practiced a few times with the proper grip and hand positioning your swing should be as natural as it can be. For some getting the technique down may be right away and for others it may take longer, however following these steps will ensure maximum results in your softball career.
Now when I say 3 key factors, I’m not saying they’re the 3 MOST IMPORTANT, however they are very essential to your success. I picked these 3 because they were things I noticed when I went to play the other day, after not playing for quite some time. I don’t think there’s a specific order for the most important factors for success in softball, I think practice and obtaining confidence pretty much takes the cake, but there’s no specific trend you should follow, just do what feels right and take advice from those that have done well over the years.
You do need to find your personal rhythm to determine what the most important things to work on are, for everyone is different and unique. Once you find that rhythm though, oh man is it ever a beautiful feeling.
Anything is possible folks! Take action and don’t be afraid to make mistakes!