The Anatomy of a Power Hitter by Rob Crews

The Anatomy of a Power Hitter by Rob Crews
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The Anatomy of a Power Hitter by Rob Crews 

Here are 3 reasons why just about everyone in softball should/could be a power hitter:

  1. The BATS are ridiculously juiced up.

  2. The FENCES are unbelievably short.

  3. There aren't that many dominant PITCHERS (mainly because there are too many teams).


Let's be real honest here. The game of softball has evolved. On offense, speed and power are Queen. If you're not fast or able to drop bombs, you will not be on the radar of major D1 programs  -and there's nothing a recruiting service can do about that. Top 25 college teams are fast at the top and strong in the middle. Now you may say well I can strength train and that will help me hit home runs. Well ... maybe. Nothing against strength training but home run power is largely due to hitting mechanics and more knowledgable hitting coaches. Coaches who have a better understanding of proper hitting mechanics and players who can implement what they’re learning. There a lot of strong female athletes out there. But strength is about less than half of the necessary ingredients for dropping 225 foot fly balls over the fence. The majority of it is pure mechanics. The proof is that there are plenty of strong bodied young ladies who never gain an understanding of how to execute their natural strength. Just ask all the college teams who wake up at 5am for weights and still can't hit home runs. It's not because of weak hitters and not always due to a mediocre hitting model -but lack of implementation of proper mechanics. I'm simply saying that if you can get your smallest, skinniest player to execute the power she already has, then she is indeed a power hitter. Make no mistake about it, with the right combination of talent, work ethic, and instruction, a legitimate power hitter can be created. A hitter who never thought she was a power hitter can suddenly realize it.

Most young players dream of and aspire to compete at the top 25 college level more than any other level I can think of. At the top 25 college level, you don't see a lot of innings where hitters are getting 3 singles to score. Top 25 college pitchers are holding batters to batting averages of under .125 and only walking about .5 batters per inning. Hence it's not about batting averages. If you wanna win, you don't need more hits, you need more runs than your opponent -that's doubles and home runs.

Even if that petite second baseman lived in the gym and drank daily protein shakes, she still needs to execute whatever strength she gained from those lifestyle changes. Her natural strength by itself should be enough to split a gap or pop a few over the fence. The execution of that strength comes from body position, sequence and direction of movements -also body rhythms and tempos. Please don't confuse softball with baseball. Baseball is 410 feet dead center, 375 in the alleys and 335 down the line. Yeah they need weights, maybe steroids too (joke). But softball isn't girl's baseball. Softball is a sport so similar to baseball's rules, but the game and it's culture, especially it's players are so different. And at the highest level, it is actually more difficult. That’s another book.

This is my short version of the anatomy of the power hitter.  And I'm gonna keep this quick and simple because it really isn't very complicated:

Let's work backwards:

3.  Spin and Flight -the last thing that has to happen in a perfect home run swing is perfect spin at ball exit. The only reason a ball can scientifically make it over a fence is due to the amount of backspin a hitter can combine with the amount of force (mass x acceleration) that goes into impact. Proper spin gives a ball enough lift-force to become that fly ball outfielders run out of room for.

2.  Hand Path - proper hand path enables a hitter to create the spin which creates home run trajectory. We create the possibility of good spin because of hand path and no other reason. But hand path itself is born out of the correct leg position, which has been proven to be no easy task.

1.  Leg Position -if I see one more hitter spinning their back foot I'm gonna loose my mind. Squishing the bug went out with VHS -seriously. Teaching young hitters to understand the leg position is easy, but maintaining the balance for the duration of ball flight is the hard part. The position or direction of the back foot can contribute to front hips that open too much and too early. Open front hips contribute to wrist rolling. And wrist rolling contributes to poor bat angles and top-spin which gives us the ground ball. Ground balls don't go over the fence. Power hitters (especially slow ones) need more fly balls to increase their chances of hitting HR's.

 

 

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