A slow-pitch softball pitch travels slowly -- of course -- toward the plate, seeming to hang there tantalizingly, like a juicy piece of fruit ripe for the picking. Smashing the large ball anywhere you choose may look like the easiest possible task. In reality, it’s important to know how to swing correctly. Proper hitting mechanics can make the difference between hitting a lazy fly ball for an easy out and driving the ball on a line between the outfielders.
Transfer your weight from your back foot to your front one by striding forward as the ball approaches the plate.
Keep your hands well in front of the barrel of your bat during the first half of your swing. This allows you to snap your wrists and extend your arms in the moments before the ball arrives.
Rotate your hips aggressively after you’ve planted your front foot. The hip rotation and wrist snap, combined with your forward weight shift, supplies most of the zip in your line drives.
Adjust your swing plane, depending on the type of hitter you are or on the game’s situation. If you’re trying to rock the fences, your swing plane should be angled slightly upward. To hit lower line drives or to send hard ground balls through the infield, use a more level swing.
Learn to hit to all fields by angling your body or adjusting your timing. Defenses tend to shift toward a hitter’s pull field, so it’s often advantageous to hit to the opposite field. Close your stance by moving your front foot toward the plate to better align your body with the opposite field, and let the pitch travel a bit farther before you swing. Just make sure you still extend your arms completely at impact, no matter which field you’re aiming for.
Study each pitcher and adjust your stance accordingly. If the pitcher throws a flatter ball, move up a bit in the batter’s box. If she uses a high arc, stand slightly farther back.
Practice hitting as often as possible. The more pitches you see during practice, the better you can time your swing in a game. Many private batting practice facilities include slow-pitch softball cages.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.