Sunday, May 9, 2021

Let’s Play Ball!

Mike Puskar shows good foot position. Photos by Maria Lamb

Mike Puskar shows good foot position. Photos by Maria Lamb

Slow pitch softball is a fun game for all ages and for all skill levels.

For many players in the Marco Island Senior Softball League, softball is serious fun and also a major source of entertainment. How hard can it be to hit a ball the size of a grapefruit coming at you at you at ten miles per hour? If you can swing the bat, you can get a base hit, regardless of your batting technique, so they say.

There is a lot of truth to the saying, “As you get older, hitting a softball is one of the hardest things to do,” in senior slow pitch softball. Trying to learn new things and remembering the proper fundamentals of hitting isn’t easy, even for the younger players. Being a consistent hitter takes hard work and lots of practice.

Mike Schwab can’t wait to “Play Ball!”

Mike Schwab can’t wait to “Play Ball!”

When the pitcher releases the ball, and it is on its way to the plate, you do not have time to think. You only have time to react.

Here are some tried and true tips to improve your hitting technique, some of which may be good enough to get you picked in November by your favorite team.

Feet: Experts say feet are the foundation of your swing! Balance from the beginning of your swing to your finish is crucial to track the ball accurately. Keep your weight balanced on your back foot and step into the ball when hitting.

Ball: Hit the ball where it’s pitched and hit it hard. It means that if the ball is on the outside part of the plate, you should try to take it to the opposite field. If it’s on the inside part of the plate, you should try to pull the ball.

Eyes: Track the trajectory of the ball at all times as it leaves the pitcher’s hand. As you make contact, your eyes should see the bat hit the ball.

Pitches: Study the different pitchers in the league. Each has his own technique of delivery. Some usually pitch short or just in front of the plate, in which case, you’ll need to move up in the batter’s box. Others like to throw a first pitch strike, so be ready to swing at strikes. Swinging at balls out of the strike zone will get you demoted.

Confidence: Maybe the most important ingredient in successful hitting is confidence. Give yourself some positive feedback. Even the pros work on their confidence level regularly.

The key is to remember all of these tips, as the ball is moving towards you at the speed of a bullet. When in doubt, duck!

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