Time to put away the squishy bugs and weight back

It’s funny how some things seem to go on and on, despite the evidence to the contrary. One of those is the old notions on how to hit.

Back in the day, the standard way of describing how to go into the launch phase of hitting was to reach the foot forward softly, keep the weight back, squish the bug and swing. If you’re still teaching that, stop. Stop right now. It’s not how good hitters hit, either in baseball or softball.

Here’s an example from a couple of years ago. It’s Kristie Fox of Arizona hitting a home run.

If you slow it down and watch step-by-step, you will see the first thing she does is shift her weight forward, onto her front foot. She establishes a new center point ahead of where she started, and then rotates around it. She is still leaning back a bit with her upper body, but that could be due to the type of pitch.
That’s just one example. Since we’re heading into the college softball season, set your DVR for some Division I games, especially out of the PAC 10. As usual, they’re out ahead of it. But you’ll also see Michigan, Lousiana-Lafayette, and dozens of other schools doing the same thing. The same as major league baseball hitters.

Still not convinced? See what Mike Candrea has to say. You can preview the USA Softball video at SportSkool. Coach Candrea knows a lot about hitting. Between the U of A and the USA Olympic team he’s demonstrated his knowledge and ability to apply it. He used to teach soft stride and keep the weight back. He doesn’t anymore, because he found it wasn’t true or necessary.

Again, if you’re still teaching hitters to keep their weight back because that’s what you were taught when you played (softball or baseball) it’s time to do some homework. High speed video has allowed us to see what hitters really do instead of what we think they do. The best in the game don’t squish the bug or keep their weight back. They drive their weight into the pitch, establish a new center point, and rotate around it.


About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on March 9, 2008, in Hitting. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Agree with your post but Mike’s changing of what he teaches, thanks to Don Slaught, begs the question, how much should we trust him, or any other resumed expert? Perhaps we should continue to compare everything anyone says about hitting or pitching to slow motion video, lots of it, of elite hitters.


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