Fastpitch hitting: that magical moment
The other night I was doing a fastpitch softball hitting lesson with a high schooler named Becky. She has developed a nice swing overall, but I wasn’t quite seeing the pop I was looking for. She was trying, but it just seemed a little off.
Then all of a sudden it happened. Her timing was right, and she just turned like heck on the ball, and the ball really jumped off her bat! Like Lucy instructing Schroeder on how to play the piano I got all excited and said “That’s it! Keep doing what you did there.” And she did.
And that’s the thing sometimes with fastpitch hitters (and their instructors). We all get so caught up in trying to perfect the mechanics that sometimes we don’t put enough emphasis on just plain being aggressive. So what you wind up with is a swing that looks awesome when played back at 60 or 120 frames per second on video, but that doesn’t deliver a particularly well-struck ball.
That whole idea of being aggressive, or swinging with enthusiasm as I like to put it, is very important. As I’ve said many times there are no style points when you’re hitting in a game. On a tee, or in a drill, we’re going to work on getting the mechanics as close to what we think is perfect as possible. But when you’re in a game, or facing live toss or a machine, you need to forget about all that, go with what you have, and hit with the intent of driving the ball.
It’s an awesome sight when it comes together. With Becky I could just see the magic happening. She’d gone through her load, had gotten to toe touch at just the right time, and at that point she was able to let go and just finish the swing with a determination to hit the ball hard. If you’re not trained to it you may not know exactly what you’re seeing, but you just know it’s right. And it’s a beautiful thing.
What has your experience been? Have you seen a “magic moment” like that from a hitter, where it all just comes together?