6 Bad Habits That Affect Baseball and Softball Hitters
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One of the most common complaints from players is the lack of power behind the plate. No matter what philosophy of hitting you believe in, none of them will help you reach your greatest potential if these top 6 bad habits are not stopped in their tracks. This is true for baseball and girls’ softball. If you have any of these bad habits, ridding yourself of them will automatically increase power and bat speed.
Smushing the Bug
If you were taught to smush the bug, you have dug yourself into a hole. Smushing the Bug involves a small muscle movement that reduces power and bat speed. Some hitters are taught to twist or turn their back foot to create more bat speed and power in the swing. Nothing can be farther than the truth. Additionally, it is nearly impossible for you to hit middle or outside pitches with the sweet spot of the bat if you have a spinning back foot problem. A sure pop out! This is the most major of these six diseases because it also throws off your balance. This bad habit needs to be fixed right away, but it’s not easy.
Correction: Try swinging the bat while your back foot is planted flat on the ground. See if you can swing without moving your back heel off the ground. Also, it may be helpful to work on hitting outside pitches off of the tee. This will help you hit from your heels and keep that foot from spinning too soon.
This common bad habit affects batters who were trained in the “back elbow up” theory. If your back elbow goes up when getting your weight back, the bat will start to wrap around your head and throw off the timing of the swing, ultimately adversely effecting power and bat speed.
Correction: In your stance, bring the elbow down right away. If this doesn’t work and your elbow keeps popping up, lay the bat back in your top hand when you move your hands and weight back. This should help prevent the bat from wrapping around your head. You should iron this out by practicing this correction technique until you’re confident that the habit is broken. This disease is most likely going to keep coming back, so monitor it and drill it out of your system!
Back leg collapse
This disease is pretty serious and must be addressed. When that back leg collapses, you lose all of the power in your big muscles, and your eyes and head do too much bobbing. This type of batter pops out a lot!
Correction: Stay as tall as possible in your stance and when swinging the bat for power.
If that doesn’t work, do some swinging drills where you swing off your back leg only. If it collapses, you’ll fall down swinging. Remember, stay tall and hit the ball!
This player was led to believe that if he dives his head near the contact zone, he’ll see the ball better. This action causes your eyes to move off the ball path and throws you off balance. It also locks up the large muscles and prevents power and bat speed production.
Correction: Concentrate on thrusting your back muscles. If you’re a head diver, you’re trying too hard to hit the ball with your eyes instead of letting your body bring your hands to the ball. “Crack your back” and keep your head behind the ball. It is nearly impossible to have any kind of power or bat speed when you are off balance. Once you contact the ball, remember that it’s OK to let your head come off of the ball for a complete follow-through!
Bent Lead Arm
If hitters’ are swinging slightly up and popping up often, you can look to see if their lead arm is bending too much at the start of their swing. This problem is rare, but easy to fix.
Correction: All you need to do is concentrate on keeping the lead arm straighter when starting your swing. Most advanced or experienced hitters will not have this problem, but it’s something to be aware of. Remember; only make adjustments when the ball is not flying like it should in batting practice. If you’re hitting rockets and your lead arm bends a little, then who cares? In the swing, the lead arm will usually straighten at first and then possibly bend at contact depending on pitch location (Especially the low pitch).
The hitter who twists his upper torso while getting his weight back before he swings will have problems hitting the ball. There is way too much eye movement and upper body movement when the hitter has this problem. This throws your timing and swing path out of synch.
Correction: This is a rare disease that can be cured by religiously practicing getting your weight back without turning your shoulders. Your hands should move straight back without the shoulder turning much. It makes a big difference!