Back to Back Issues Page
Coach Andy's Hitting E-zine, #41 - Hitting Tips and Answers
April 27, 2007
Hi

Hitting Tips and Answers to your Hitting Questions

As promised, I want to give you hitting tips and answers to more of your hitting questions, so that all of you might benefit from similar questions you may have, but haven't voiced them yet.

Question: I hear coaches talking about training players to hit the ball with the knob of their bat. What's that all about? And when I see them act out this "hitting the ball with the knob of the bat" technique it looks absurd. And I've NEVER seen a hitter do this. I guess you could say slapping sort of looks like this because the batter begins to run forward in batting stance form but they hit it with the barrel...Anyway, help me out with this one!

Answer: This is a linear swing cue that is similar to the Karate Chop / Punch move. As you move your knob of the bat down toward the ball it would look like doing Karate Chops, so most coaches are saying "hit the ball with the knob of the bat" as a reminder to their batters how they want them to move their hands, not to actually to do it.

I say most coaches, because there are a couple of coaches that have seen a kid or two once or twice in their lifetime actually use the end of their bat for a bunt. It's very effective and catches the other team off guard if executed perfectly, but the risk to the batters hands and the possibilities of an easy out far outweigh the benefits of using this as an actual strategy, but it is an answer to what a couple of coaches could actually mean by hitting the ball with the knob of the bat. (But by yelling it out, takes away the element of surprise, so I'm really confident that it's the former that they're saying it for.)

Question: Andy my daughter is 12yrs old and plays fastpitch softball on a travel softball team. She is a very good athlete, But the one part of her game that is not consistent is her hitting. We are currently learning the rotational hitting system that you have provided through the internet. The biggest problem that I can see is that her batting level changes. What I mean by this is she is under every pitch. It looks like she is over striding, and her back knee will sometimes hit the ground going after a low pitch. What can I do to make a immediate impact. She is very competitive and is getting very frustrated.

Answer: The lessons are one way to learn rotational and fix a kid's swing, but ultimately she and you need to know that you've committed to learning a new swing that you both believe will take you where she wants to go in the long run, so you need to stick with it. I don't hear anything that is out of the ordinary for a beginning rotational hitter. Make sure you do get good coaching for this swing. Maybe review the points of the swing. If you need a video of the rotational swing (or the linear), you can check my page at http://www.theinternethittingcoach.com/hitting-video.html

Question: I am 33 and in a few softball leagues. I never seem to be able to hit to the right field. Any suggestions?

Answer: I have to assume you're a right handed batter with this problem, otherwise my answer would be different.

It's best to get an outside pitch. I tended to like the higher pitches for this as well (low and in, down the left field line, high and out, to right field). I really learned how to do it by hitting infield and outfield practice for my teams. Throw the ball up and hit it where you want to and the type of hit you want, fly ball, line drive, grounder. It forces you to concentrate on where you want the ball to be (pitch to come to you) and what type of swing you need to get it to where you want it to go.

Question: I have an 11 year old who's been playing they were 5. In the batting cage they hit on the high school machine and at all star practice can hit the machine at 70 mph and hits the ball solid almost every time. However, when it comes a game, there are only weak shots that barely get through the infield or bounce straight down to the ground.

Any ideas on what's going on and why there doesn't seem to be the same outcome from the cage to the field? What should I do to help because frustation is starting to set in?

Answer: Unfortunately there are kids that are great machine hitters but have trouble translating that skill to games.

Generally it revolves around two areas, 1) the machine doesn't have a release point of the pitcher's pitch, so you don't time your swing the same, and 2) The machine a lot of time will pitch in the same area so a kid can start grooving the ball, but pitcher's don't throw in the same area over and over and can even hit the batter, creating the in ability to stand in there and put a great swing on the pitch.

I would find a kid who wanted pitching practice against a live batter and have them hit against that, or learn to pitch yourself, so she can get used to seing the ball come out of the release point and timing the pitch.

Choosing a Bat Hitting Tips and Answers

Question: Do heavier bats increase the power of a hitter?

Answer: The short answer is a qualified "Yes, if you can swing it quickly".

Since the formula talks about mass times velocity squared we see that the velocity is the most important ingredient, so it might appear that the answer would be no, but if you can swing the bat with the same velocity, then the heavier bat (the one with more mass) would make it go farther, but only then. So keep focusing on velocity first.

Question: I'm coaching 4th and 5th grade girls in a slow-pitch softball league whereby the kids pitch to one another for the first time and my team has approx. 1-2 years experience per gal.

DO I WANT THE HEAVIEST FAST PITCH BATS I CAN FIND IN THE 28 - 30" SIZE RANGES? I KNOW FASTPITCH BATS TEND TO BE LIGHTER IN WEIGHT AND I BELIEVE I'M LOOKING FOR A HEAVIER BAT GIVEN I'M SLOW PITCH...AGREE?

Answer: See the answer above. It still applies. I think one of the bad assumptions coaches make is that if the pitcher is slower, you can use a heavier bat to slow your swing down. You do not want to do this. You still want the quickest swing with a bat you can handle.

Question: What's the right bat size for you?

Answer: Well the right bat size for me is a 34" 26 oz. bat, but I suspect you really mean "What's the right bat size for me? (Which would be you.)

Ignore that answer I'm just being goofy. Here's the real answer to the serious question.

There are a lot of considerations before picking the right bat, such as age, size, game played, years played, type of hitter you are (power hitter, line drive hitter, or base hitter), and bat speed. There are others too.

The best way is to swing the bats (in a perfect world even practice or use them in a game) to see which one feels the best to you and which produces the best results.

Borrow some from your teammates.

If the "Bat Wars" come to your area (Sat, May 5th, 2007 9:00am - 5:00pm Mira Loma, CA - Big League Dreams for baseball, Sat, July 7th, 2007 9:00am - 5:00pm Sterling Hts, MI - Liberty Park for slowpitch, and Thurs, July 26th, 2007 9:00am - 5:00pm Disney's Wide World of SportsŪ Kissimmee, FL for fastpitch. Also check their website for more baseball and slo-pitch wars) they'll let you try a number of the latest bats. www.batwars.com


Again, if you have any questions or comments you can write to me via e-mail.

To see other hitting tips in past newsletters, go to the past issues of my hitting newsletter page.


Welcome to you who are new to my hitting e-zine.

Thanks for reading and talk to you next time.

Coach Andy

6801 Dove St. Ventura, CA 93003

805-642-5827

Coach Andy Collins has been helping players achieve their goals in softball and baseball for over 30 years. He's an advisor to national teams and can help you be a better hitter. He offers free information on his website www.theInternetHittingCoach.com and through free e-mail hitting lessons and has just introduced a new hitting video discussing and demonstrating how to hit great with either the rotational or linear hitting methods. http://www.theinternethittingcoach.com/hitting-video.html

Back to Back Issues Page