Fastpitch softball isn’t that difficult to learn, as the rules are very much like baseball, and the key to scoring hits is to have good hand-eye coordination, bat speed and practice.
While there are literally dozens of drills that can be practiced, a select few are considered essential. Among these, the following are the top 5 Fastpitch Softball Hitting Drills.
1. The Knob Drill
This focus of this drill is to keep your hands in the ball by leading the swing with your bat’s knob.
Choke up the bat handle and get the tee ready so the ball is close to the top of the strike zone.
Lead with your elbow and throw your hands across an inside path so they move in a straight line along your chest, headed towards the ball.
If done right your bat’s knob will lead to the ball. After a few rounds at the tee, try it again with someone doing a soft toss.
2. The Knee Drill
This is one of the best fastpitch softball hitting drills for beginners. It goes a long way towards improving your power and balance.
To keep your upper body isolated, kneel with your back knee and have your front leg extended so there’s balance.
Use a tee, partner or soft toss machine so you can work on your swing in different ways.
Make sure to use at least a couple of buckets every swing with at least one for a fast toss.
During your first couple of swings, you’ll find it’s simpler to choke up the bat and wrap your hand on your waist so it doesn’t get in your way.
- For the first round use just your bottom hand and lead with your elbow prior to swinging.
- In round 2, use only your top hand and make sure you’re swinging through, with emphasis on the follow through.
- For the third round you need to use both hands.
3. The 1, 2, 3 Drill
For this fastpitch softball hitting drills for power, you’re going to work on contact points and pitch location.
You’ll need a plate wood cutout or an old home plate to indicate the outside, inside and the down the middle pitch.
The circle is going to mark the areas where contact needs to be made (provided you are right handed).
- For number one the focus will be on the inside pitch, so you need to be situated in such a manner that your front foot is close to the plate and your front shoulder is closed. You’ll be diagonally set along the box so you’ll be striking the ball in front of your body.
- Number two will concentrate on those pitches thrown in the center, and set up will be regular.
- For number three you’ll be focused on the outside pitches. Here you’re going to be open away off the plate, and your back leg will be nearer to the plate.You should be extended away from the plate diagonally and your front leg is far from the plate. With this posture you’ll be able to hit the ball much deeper as you’re hitting off the hip.
Remember that every pitch here needs to be struck at its own field. That means outside to right field, inside to left field and those down the middle go back up straight in the center.
If you want this drill to be effective, don’t position your body so every hit ends up in the middle. Make adjustments so you can work on the right contact point for every pitch.
4. The Drop Drill
The drop drill is one of the most popular hitting drills for fastpitch softball. This is because it improves bat and hand speed while enhancing hand and eye coordination.
Here, a pitcher stands a step and half at the side –and a bit in front- of the batter. Your eyes are looking straight ahead.
The pitcher sends a ball in the strike zone and you try to hit the ball before it touches the ground.
Do this with a regular sized softball and when you’re successful try hitting with golf balls, tennis balls and even smaller ones so there’s a greater challenge.
5. The Frisbee Drill
The objective of this drill is to improve your hand and eye coordination.
In the Frisbee drill the pitcher stands 15 ft. from you (the batter). The pitcher hurls a Frisbee (but really it can also be a can lid) in your direction.
Since the flight path of the Frisbee or can lid will change as it heads towards you, you’ll learn how to track their flight and how to establish bat contact.
The bunting drill helps improve your bunting, so it’s considered essential too.
Use a spray paint to mark / number areas on the home plate, with each number signifying a point value that goes up according to the significance of being able to hit in that particular area.
Usually this drill is performed with two teams with points collected for each successful bunt.
The Hands to the Ball drill is also designed for improving hand and eye coordination as well as ball tracking.
Here you stand in the normal hitting position except your bat rests on your shoulder.
The pitcher then throws a softball towards you. Rather than hit with a full swing, you go after the ball using your bat’s end cap or butt.
Finally there’s the Quick Hands Drill. The pitcher throws either to your side or the front. As the name implies six pitches are thrown quickly, allowing only enough time for you to prepare for the next swing.
By following these fastpitch softball hitting drills, your muscle memory will improve.
Muscle memory is the product of a motor task that through repetition, allows you to perform the action without making any conscious effort.
In other words, the more you practice these drills, the more it becomes second nature to you, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a power hitter.