Stuff to know about hitting a softball 3

The Grip

The Swing

Step 1

Grasp the bat with your small finger wrapped around the knob. This is the bottom piece of the bat and will give you the most leverage when you swing the bat. You may lose a bit of bat control when you hold a large and heavy bat by the knob, but you will get more leverage when you swing.
Step 2

Take a shuffle step prior to swinging the bat in slow-pitch softball. As you step into the batter’s box, stand in the rear area, closest to the catcher. In slow-pitch softball, you need to generate your own power and you can do this by sliding your front foot forward in the box, followed by a similar step with your rear foot. Take another slide step before driving your hands to the ball. This will give you a chance to get all of your body’s momentum behind your swing.
Step 3

Drive the ball in the direction that it is pitched. You don’t have to try to pull every pitch in slow-pitch softball. A right-handed batter who tries to pull the outside pitch will often end up hitting a ground ball to the shortstop or a weak fly ball to the left-fielder. However, if you drive that same pitch to the opposite field, you have a chance to hit it for a much greater distance.
Step 4

Swing with a slightly downward motion and try to make contact with the lower half of the ball. This will create a back spin on the ball that will allow it to remain in the air longer and fly further. Extend your arms as far as possible on contact and follow through with speed.

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The Bat

If you could choose and I know many times you can’t unless it’s your own practice, but if you could the ultimate ball for lets say a Miken ultra or another high flex bat it would be high comp. 525lb.ball with 40 COR as opposed to 47 COR. Most times though 525’s are paired up with 47 COR and most people think its the core 47 that is allowing the ball to fly farther, but it is in fact the compression not the core.

Lets look at a low comp ball 375lbs. and a bat with a lot of flex ie: ultra,rocket tech,synergy,pst,etc., Typically a low comp ball and a bat with a lot of flex is not a good combo especially over time(time being the more the ball is hit the mushier it gets). A better pairing is those above named bats and a hi comp 525lb. ball. Hard ball meets ‘soft’ bat = long hit. Simple.

OK, so what would a better bat be for the low comp 375lb. with core 44 and 47 balls? Something that dosen’t flex as much and guess what, this is how the world record of 530 some feet was broken back in the 70’s. A ‘hard’ bat (no flex) was used with what kind of ball? Answer: more like what the low comp balls are becoming. Back in the 70’s the balls flexed incredibly and made of a type of ‘Surilyn’. The flex on the ball was incredible and rivaled what a superball is like today. They quickly were outlawed and now the bats of today are the focus of bannings like the balls were in the 70’s.

So now we as players, should find out what comp balls are being used in our leagues and tournaments so we can match a better bat to the ball we are using. In fact a better bat now for the low comp balls, which are becoming more prevelent may in fact be the bats of long ago that didn’t flex as much. What new bats out there now don’t flex as much? The original Techzilla comes to mind immediately. It flex’s for the very hard hitter, but for the average hitter who can’t flex it as much, it may be exactly the bat that the Dr. ordered for these low comp. balls, for even the average hitter.

The New Anderson CK(Composite Killer) line however, is the company to come out with a bat expressly made for hitting mush balls like no other. The new Rocket tech CK is a bat that is a must have is you play asa and hit mush balls. It is rated in the top ten of all bats of ALL TIME already, on bat review sites and it only hit the market in August of 04! It is the only ASA bat rated this high.

The Ball

Softballs are rated based on two metrics – Coefficient Of Restitution (COR – pronounced like core) and compression. COR represents how “bouncy” the ball is. The higher the COR, the more bouncy the ball is and, generally, the farther it will fly. COR is the percentage of reduction in speed for a ball bouncing off a wall. If a ball is thrown at a wall at 80 miles per hour and bounces off at 40 miles per hour, the speed has been reduced by 50%. The ball would be rated with a COR of .50 (referred to as a fifty COR ball). If your league plays with a .44 COR ball, the speed bouncing off the wall would be 35 miles per hour.

Softball compression is a measure of how hard a softball is. The higher the compression, the harder the ball, and generally, the farther it will fly. Compression is measured by how many pounds of force are needed to squeeze two sides of the ball in by a total of one-quarter of an inch. If a test shows that it takes 375 pounds of force to squeeze the ball by one-quarter inch, the ball is certified as a 375 pound compression ball. The ASA has only approved two levels of compression – 375 pounds and 525 pounds. 375 pound balls are softer than 525’s. The ASA “rounds up” to assign the compression rating. For example, if the test shows it only takes 325 pounds of force to achieve the one-quarter inch squeeze, the ball will be rated as a 375 compression ball. This means your league may be playing with a ball rated as 375 compression, but it is really softer than a true 375 compression ball because of the “rounding up.”

Testing has shown two main things as it relates to softball COR and compression and on-field performance. First, a change from a .47 COR, 525 pound ball to a .44 COR, 375 pound ball decreases performance by up to 6%. All other things being equal, this means that a 305 foot home run using a .47 COR, 525 pound ball would be a 290 foot fly out using a .44 COR, 375 pound ball. Second, reductions in compression have a much greater impact in on-field performance than reductions in COR.

The Weather

As a player, you should also be aware that weather has an enormous impact on the compression of a softball. Studies have shown that when the temperature is 100 degrees, an average softball looses 200 pounds of compression as compared with the same softball at 60 degrees. This means that a softball that is a 525 pound compression ball at 60 degrees may play like a 375 pound ball at 100 degrees. In addition, clouds, rain, and humidity also affect the compression of a ball. 70 degrees and sunny creates lower compression balls than if it was 70 degrees and cloudy. Leather balls generally take on more moisture in rainy or humid conditions than synthetic balls. This will generally raise the compression and level of play up to a point, then performance will decline once the ball takes on too much water and becomes too heavy.

Keep these factors in mind when deciding which bat to use and when determining your approach for each at-bat. If it is hot and humid, it may be best not to try for a home run, but instead try for a base hit.


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