Flattening out the bat

It’s an inescapable fact that the earlier in an athletic movement a mistake occurs, the greater the effect on everything else it will have.

That’s what is puzzling about the tendency for fastpitch softball hitters to flatten out their bats at the start of their swings. I see it a lot with girls. The second they begin their swings, their first move with their hands is to lower the bat head until it is parallel with the ground, or nearly so.

That’s a terrible mistake. You need to maintain a roughly 45 degree angle on the bat as you begin to rotate into the ball. Otherwise it’s a pretty random chance that you will be able to get the head of the bat to the ball. Instead, you’ll enter a condition called “bat drag” which is just as bad as it sounds. You’ll be pulling the knob forward, but the bat will not be getting into the hitting zone. If it’s a low pitch it’s unlikely the hitter will be able to get to it.

If a hitter is striking out a lot, or hitting wimpy little ground balls, start by looking to see if she’s flattening her bat before launch. Help her maintain the proper angle and you’ll see a lot more well-hit balls.

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