Welcome to Drill of the Week, a series on ACTIVEkids.com that explains individual and team drills for parents and coaches to help kids improve at the sports they love.
This week's drill is Hitting the Outside Pitch, a softball drill brought to you by CoachUp.com.
In softball, a pitch thrown to the outside of the plate may look like a ball to those just learning the sport. However, not only can these pitches be hittable, but they can also be strikes as well, so understanding the concepts behind hitting an outside pitch is crucial. The key to hitting an outside pitch is not to change the mechanics of your swing, but rather where you make contact with the ball.
Once you determine that the incoming pitch is outside, move your hands to the ball. Then wait for the ball to get deep into the strike zone before making contact. Waiting that extra fraction of a second for the ball gives you a better chance to hit the sweet spot of the bat and make the ball go to the opposite field.
Jesse Hutchins, former USM first baseman and CoachUp coach, insists that when moving your hands to the ball, make sure they stay on the inside path of the ball. Pivot your back foot as you rotate and swing fully. Always follow-through high, behind your head, and in the direction you want the ball to go.
Hutchins demonstrates what a good swing on an outside pitch looks like in this video.
Pro-Tip: Don’t cast the ball!
“Casting” means throwing your hands outward immediately from your starting position. Think of throwing your hands at the pitch, always following the inside path to the ball. Casting will put your hands outside of the ball, which means you won’t make solid contact with the ball, a full extension, or a strong follow-through.
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