Recently I was asked, “If I had one tip that to give to any parent about their daughter’s softball career, what would it be?” Without any hesitation my answer was Batting Practice.
The happiest player on the field is the player that just got a hit. Just look at any girl’s eyes after she gets on base. Beaming and bright like a Las Vegas night. Girls that can’t hit don’t stay with the sport for very long. Girls that can hit will love the sport for years to come.
Naturally this led to the next question being, “So what is the one thing you would do to teach them to hit?” Just swing the bat, a lot! When they are young, it’s pretty easy to get out in the backyard and throw poly balls (wiffle balls) to them. However, if you really want a long term solution, I would invest in a Jugs Toss Pitching Machine. It’s pretty small and it pops the ball into the air similar to soft toss practice.
This little gadget will make practice time so easy. Your daughter can go to the backyard, by herself, turn it on and hit away. This eliminates the problem of the parents not having the time or taking the time to practice with their daughter. Yes, you will need to buy or build a net for them to hit into, but that’s a pretty small task.
It holds about a dozen baseball size balls or fewer softball size balls. I would suggest getting the baseball size pitching machine balls because it holds more and learning to hit a smaller ball will sharpen their targeting. I would avoid the poly balls as the machine is set for a heavier ball and the wind will affect a lightweight ball.
It’s appropriate for any age group. I particularly like it for younger age groups as it really helps develop hand/eye coordination and timing. But it is certainly appropriate for high school players as well. Just go to any tournament and you will see EVERY team practicing their hitting utilizing the soft toss drill.
How much practice is required to improve a players hitting Any practice is better than none, but I believe if you could get your daughter to practice for 20 minutes a night, it would make all the difference in the world. And if you could get just half of your team to do this, your team would be FREAKING SOFTBALL MONSTERS! No kidding. If you can get half of your team to hit the ball to the fence, who is going to be able to stay on the field with you?
So, if I had just one thing I was going to do to help my daughter’s softball career, it would be to build a hitting net, buy a Jugs Toss Machine, and have her practice hitting for 20 minutes every evening.
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Be sure to check out the great hitting Videos and DVDs at
USA Softball DVD
Now, “Go Get ‘Em Coach!!!”