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Ever wonder why the ball just jumps off of some guy's bats? Why aren't you going deep as often as you would like? It's all about SwingMechanics!
If you are like most softball players, you are constantly trying to improve. That is, after all, why you came to this page isnít it? The problem you may encounter on your quest to improve your swing may very well be getting solid information. There are no good, current books on men's adult softball power hitting mechanics. So you turn to the web, and encounter several websites dedicated to bat speed and swing mechanics. The problem is that they almost universally assume that generating power is the same in baseball and softball. It DEFINITELY IS NOT. They often times spew the same MIS-INFORMATION that has been around forever even though it is decidedly wrong.
The biggest difference between baseball and softball is that in baseball the batter is battling pitch speed. That means that a batter can't really load up. He may be trying to catch up to a 95mph fastball on one swing, and trying not to be out ahead of a 73mph curveball on the next. In softball, however, you don't need to worry about pitch speed nearly as much. While pitchers may throw different speed pitches, the difference is easily recognized since the pitches are coming much slower. This means the hitter needs to do less speed adjustment, and can spend more of the early portion of his swing on generating power. The softball batter can really load up during the 'coil' portion of his swing. Another reason the baseball batter can't load up as much is that he has to spend the early part of his swing determining what pitch has been thrown (pitch recognition). Again, the softball batter has the luxury of not having to judge speed or what pitch has just been thrown. In softball, the batter has more time to generate power. The emphasis switches from quick, fast movements, to strong powerful movements.
On other websites I have been to, certain questions get answered in very interesting ways, such as what weight bat someone should use. I have seen it suggested that a lighter bat is always better. This is just not the case. I have also seen this question addressed in a way that goes completely against the laws of Physics. It has been stated by certain former players that if everything else is equal, a lighter bat will retain more bat speed than a heavier bat after contact. Now I am not sure who is crazier, the first person to say this, or the people who believe it without questioning it. The laws of inertia and momentum clearly show that with everything else equal (including bat speed) a heavier bat will retain more of its speed after contact than a lighter bat will. Picture this example. I swing a wiffle bat and an aluminum bat with the same bat speed at identically pitched softballs. Which bat is going to slow down more during contact? Clearly the wiffle bat has less momentum before contact (Remember {M=mv} or Momentum = mass x velocity), and since they will be striking identical balls pitched identically, the same force will be applied to each bat. That force will have a greater effect on the bat with less momentum, the lighter bat.
I always advise people to try to figure out at what point they lose bat speed. Start with a 26oz bat and move up towards a 32oz bat. At some point, you will start to lose bat speed. that weight is too heavy for you. I find that I swing a 26oz bat and a 27oz bat the same speed, but when I go to a 28oz bat, my bat speed starts to drop off. Because of that, I swing a 27oz bat.
Too often, vital questions never even get asked, let alone answered. Where should I stand in the box? What muscle groups should drive my swing? Where and how big should my stride be? What parts of my swing should remain constant, and what parts should change based on the pitch? Where in my swing should I make contact? Does linear or rotational movement drive the swing? What components of the swing generate power? Do I push or pull the bat? And quite possibly THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION, what grip should I use?
The grip, which is maybe the most essential component of the swing, is by far the most overlooked. Other websites overlook the grip as if it is only of minimal importance. You will never come close to reaching your power potential if your grip is mechanically poor. Read that again, because it is that important.
I have been to websites that preach the exact opposite of what I have researched and field-tested. Everyone that plays this game wants to improve, but it is hard to find good, accurate information. Everyone has an opinion about what you are doing wrong, and how to fix it. Unfortunately, most of the people giving the advice arenít any better than the ones they are trying to help. I want this website to become something that people can go to when they are struggling, or just want to better themselves. I know that there are several different ways to be a successful hitter. I want this site to be a resource for people who believe in my hitting style and for people who want to give it a try.
On this website, I will touch, in great detail, on all aspects and components of the swing. I will answer the above questions, and I will tell you why. I know that this website will help you generate more bat speed, and more power. You can also check out my 'Power SwingMechanics Vol 1 & Vol 2' slow-pitch softball hitting videos if you can find them. I have closed the storefront, but they can be found on ebay sometimes. They cover everything you need to know to turn you into the absolute best hitter you can be.
†SwingMechanics - Todd Graham
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