Skillz Corner: The Softball Hitter Stance
The most basic part of girls’ softball hitting is one that does not get as much attention as is should—the stance. How a player stands in the batter’s box, and the way they set up to face the pitcher, is extremely important.
A hitter’s feet should be “square” to the plate. Very often we see either a stance that is too closed, meaning the front foot is closer to the plate, or a stance that is too open, that means the front foot is farther away from the plate than the back foot. We like to see that the feet should be parallel with each other, and should be even with the line of the plate.
There should be a little flexion in the ankles and in the knees, with the knees squeezed together a little bit, and a slight bend in the waist. What happens many times is that the hitter will get locked up if she bends down too much in the knees and the waist. The muscles in the legs begin to tighten up, and there is no way that she’s going to have a smooth, fluid swing. We advocate only a slight break in the knees and a slight bend at the waist.
Shoulders should be level. We don’t want to see players trying to keep their front shoulder down too much because that will cause you swing to have an upward slant.
You want to hold the bat as far out in the fingers as is comfortable. We don’t advocate holding it way out in the fingers because there is no way that our hands are strong enough to propel the barrel through the ball. On the other hand, we don’t want it way back on the thumb because this restricts the freedom of movement of the wrist. Finally, don’t squeeze the bat too tightly; the grip should be loose and relaxed.
We advocate having the hands even with the back shoulder or, at the most, the knob as far back as the back foot. Your elbows are down. Many ex-baseball players tell players to get their back elbow up, but this is one of the worst things that a young hitter can do. The flight of the bat’s barrel dictates that our elbows stay down. A key coaching point is that the front elbow will be even with the sternum, and the back elbow will be hanging down even with the back hip.
One of the most important hitting fundamentals is to get a good, two-eyed look straight at the pitcher. Don’t let your head tilt too much or you won’t get a good look at the ball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand. Your number one responsibility is to see the ball early, see it big, and see it as long as you can. The only way you can do that is to get a good two-eyed look at the ball.
When players learn the correct stance early in development, the adjustments needed to develop a full softball swing are minimal.
Adapted from: http://www.softball-spot.com/girls-softball-hitting-stance/1982/