Suzy grew up in Waterloo, Iowa where she was the first female to play in the boys baseball program. She was a 4 sport athlete in high school and was an all-state player in volleyball, basketball and softball. She played softball at the University of Iowa, where she also earned a B.S. in Physical Education. Suzy is currently the head coach of 18u Glory Gold, an ASA junior olympic gold team. She has been the head varsity coach at Episcopal and Chantilly High School and an assistant varsity softball coach at West Springfield High School. She has over 38 years of experience either as a player, coach or teaching professional. In addition to her private lessons, she has run or been an instructor for numerous youth, high school and college softball camps and clinics. Suzy gives instruction on all facets of the sport and is known for her knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for the game.
Softball Batting Skills - The Swing
Softball coach Suzy Willemssen demonstrates how to swing the bat in softball.
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Hi. I am Susie Willimson and I am a Travel Ball and high school softball coach and I have got Aaron here helping me. We are going over some basic fastpitch softball skills. We have been talking about hitting. Weve talked about the grip, bat selection, things we want to look for in our stance and now we are going to talk a little bit about the actual swing itself and some key elements, principles that you want to make sure you have, again, to give you that nice, good, powerful, quick swing. Aaron is already a bit in her stance so she has a good two-eyed look and her bat is at 45, now what she needs to do is what she does in her case to get things going to load her body, so she can get her weight shifted and get a good firm front side and then she will actually initiate the swing. Aaron does not pick her foot up. She does it more like an internal way shift, so she will come back a negative move but then she comes forward from front side. Youll notice she kept her hands back. What this does is it creates a good stretch. So, now everything is tight, locked and now I would like to say that shes got a good stretch. Now, its time for fire and now she is actually going to be swinging the bat. So, shes got again her good firm front side, thats pretty much where we want our center of pressure to be. We dont want it left on the back, we dont want it to be squashing the bug, anything of that nature. That can cause some problems, I will discuss later on, but shes got a good firm front side. Her bat still at the 45 degree angle and now Aaron would be starting to a rotational part of her swing. You can see she is maintaining her connection and she is making sure that her elbow is getting inside her body. This allows for a couple of things, as she is coming through the bat will stay in a good part of her hitting zone and it also is very important that she is maintaining her wrist in a cocked position. She wants to maintain this position till finally her body decides its to release and whip the bat head into the ball she had extension and then follow-through. So, we will go one more time with Aaron, kind of showing how she has her dance in her stance, gets herself going and then we will bring in Christie because she has a little different way of doing that, and in fact this is a try and error process. You got to find out as a hitter whats going to get you in the best position to allow for bat quickness and bat speed to get that stretch and fire so you consistently hit the ball hard and you can consistently hit the ball square. So, again Aaron is ready to go, she has got her good stance, the good two-eyed look and now she is thinking okay, I got to get things going, I got to get myself good stretched, so she does her weight shift, front side, bat is coming around, she is keeping connected, her hands are still staying back. She is not pushing them forward. Thats very important and her elbows there getting in and she is coming through, coming through and then her wrist are cocked, now its time to release, bat head whips in, shes got extension. Now, her wrist will roll and there is her follow-through. Okay, Christie, why dont you come in. You have a little different way of getting things going. This is where people think its style, but I look at more thats the way this person is found out to get things going for them. So, here is Christie. Her stance is a little different than you can see from Aaron but again shes still got the good two-eyed look. She is a little more upright. Now, as Christie gets going -- who is, kind of go in slow motion, but she actually takes her step. She comes forward, same thing, connecting, wrist cocked, bat whips through, contact, extension and follow-through. Both players very important are getting to their front side and this is where their center of pressure kind of the weight should be because you want to be hitting against a firm front side. I will use Christie and I will show some things that happen and that are flaws that I see quite often when I am working with students. If they dont have any movement and theyre just going to try to just turn and swing as quick as possible, try to overcome inertia, often the player will do it by dropping their hands and thats going to cause some problems or they will take the bat and they will get it flat and when you get the bat too flat, would also often occurs that this elbow doesnt get where it needs to be and then it end up swinging around the ball and so doesnt it matter where the ball is pitched. Everything is going to be going towards the left side. Pitching tip; pitch that girl some inside heat, and shell never get it. Another thing I will see players do is that they un-cock their wrist too soon. So, right here again, we want to make sure we keep this cocked all the way. Often the players when they start to swing, they will release that weight back here and again you can see what kind of problems that causes for swinging around the ball. Again we want to keep this 45, some people have a little higher, thats fine, but keep it cocked as you are coming to the zone and now, ready to go. This, in fact, will allow you to get about any type of pitch. If its a little lower, your hands will go down a little bit, but you're still connected and then you release down here. On an inside pitch, you keep in a cocked, cocked, cocked coming holding, holding it and then you will be able to take that inside pitch and actually drive it fair. Be careful about the old adage about squashing the bug if you tip your weight on your backside and you try to swing, often it will happen is in that swing you get that huge, big, upper cut and that causes problems as well. So, hopefully those are some tips that will help you, some flaws and then kind of a emphasizing points of getting little dance, getting a little rhythm and just some basic principles as you want to do when you want to start forming a powerful, quick softball swing.