Hitting and timing
Tried a little experiment this morning. We’ve been working on hitting mechanics for a while now, but last week during an indoor game we just didn’t hit the way I’d hoped. I would describe our hitters as looking surprised when the pitcher delivered the ball. We seemed to be defending more than attacking.
So we went back to the ol’ Jugs machine. I watched the first group as they approached their swings, and they were consistently behind the ball. Their timing just didn’t seem to be there. So we talked about loading and weight shift, and when to go about it. Essentially we went with a slower load and shift, with toe touch occuring about as the ball came out. The object was to get rid of the panicked or rushed feeling, and give the hitter more time to see the ball before committing.
The other thing we did was reemphasize turning the hips before the shoulders and hands move. This is kind of hitting101 these days. But I think because of that we’d quit looking at it, and our girls had started going upper body first. As we emphasized starting the swing from the hips, again it seemed to make a difference. They were in a better position to see the ball, the timing was better, and they started taking the fat part of the bat to the ball with more consistency.
Now, a pitching machine isn’t the same as live hitting. But it does give you a feel for how well you’re tracking the ball. Put another way, hitting off a machine doesn’t guarantee success. But NOT hitting off a machine is often a harbinger of failure.
Only time will tell how much difference it made. But right now it at least feels like a step in the right direction. Hopefully it will help make all the work on hitting mechanics pay off in a big way. You can never have enough offense!