interesting lesson with a great athlete
My daughter picked up with another team last weekend and hit well. One of that team's players, a slapper I have known since she was 12U, asked me to work on "hitting away" with her, so last night we met for an hour.
This player is an excellent athlete, bats in the two spot for a high-level 18 Gold team, very fast of course but tall and slightly built. She has been slapping her whole life and, like almost all slappers, when she swings away she's quintessentially linear. Like all good slappers, she gets her share of crisp line drives to the opposite field when she swings away, but never pounds the ball and almost never pulls it. (And jamming slappers is standard fastpitch fare.)
Last night I told her I would be asking her to experiment with some things that she'd probably never been told to do, and suggested she just "play with it".
I "cued" the inward turn by telling her to aim her front shoulder at the shortstop, told her to "hide her hands" from me by pulling them back and setting them on her back shoulder, and told her to initiate her swing simply by turning into the ball using her front shoulder, keeping her front arm straight and her hands back, with her weight "between her legs". All these terms have come, one way or another, directly from this site; I take no credit for them whatsoever.
I had about 25 balls. I pitched her five rounds of short toss from behind a screen, maybe 100 swings or so.
As I say, this kid is a great athlete and "got" what I asked her to do right away. She was pulling the ball hard within 10 pitches, though she was still moving forward some and popped some up.
By the second round she had settled into rotating around the axis. She was putting liners off the regulation fence on one or two hops to center, right center and right field.
Third round she took three off the fence and one over it. It was the first ball she'd ever put over a fence, ever, in practice or a game.
I spent the next round working her inside and she crushed maybe 17 or 18 line drives to right.
I spent the next round working her outside and though she pulled some soft grounders to the right side at first, she settled in and began crushing more liners to left and left center, one off the fence to dead center.
It was fun watching a great athlete go from Ground Zero to Out Of Here in ten minutes but of course the point is that everything I told her came directly from this site.
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