Every batter that approaches the plate has a scene presented to them. Are there baserunners on? How many outs are there? What is the current score? Having an educated plate approach within these situational hitting scenarios can help your team advance runners and maintain offensive momentum.
Your tasks in the batter’s box can vary greatly in certain instances. One at-bat might call for a line drive up the middle. Others might call for a sacrifice bunt or a knock toward opposite field to advance the runner. Knowing how to match your softball swing to the situation can be a great skill to have as a hitter. Follow along as professional softball player Amanda “Chiddy” Chidester explains her approach to situational hitting. Find out how you can successfully bat with intent with these softball hitting tips.
READ THE FIELD
One of the key points to being successful in situational hitting is knowing the task at hand. A great way to get your approach dialed in is to read the field before your at-bat. Chidester notes to survey the scenario at hand before you step to the batter’s box. Studying the field can help provide insight into what you’ll need to accomplish with your swing.
“So, when you’re on deck or when you’re in the dugout, in the hole, you’re looking at the situation ahead of you. ‘What’s going to be asked of me in this situation? Is there going to be one out? Is there going to be two outs?’” Chidester says.
Knowing what’s in front of you can also help calm your nerves, according to Chidester. Having a specific job at the plate can make some players anxious. Studying the field before digging in can help remove some of the guesswork and improve your confidence at the plate. “Preparing ahead of time really helps me calm those nerves and know, when I’m up to bat, I’m ready to go,” Chidester says.
SITUATIONAL BUNTING TIPS
Bunting is a common task associated with situational hitting. Oftentimes, players are asked to bunt in softball to advance baserunners or to take advantage of a defensive mismatch. When called upon to bunt, Chidester says to look at the pitcher and figure out her tendencies.
“What kind of pitches is the pitcher throwing? Is she a riseball pitcher? Is she a drop ball pitcher?” Chidester says. “Whatever it is, knowing what kind of pitcher she is, so when you have to bunt in that situation, you’re ready for it and you know what you’re getting yourself into.”
Because of the added skill set required for bunting, any information can be helpful before the pitch. If you know your pitcher’s tendencies, you can better prepare for the incoming ball and square up properly.
BONUS PRO TIP: Looking to boost your bunting potential? Use these Pro Tips for additional softball bunting drills and training for your next big at-bat.
IT PAYS TO PREPARE
While your confidence might be radiating in moments that call for situational hitting, you shouldn’t rely solely on your talents. Chidester says you should still go through the proper prep work in order to progress toward a successful plate appearance.
“It’s a lot better to think ahead of time than it is to get up to bat and then just do it. That’s where we mess up. That’s when there’s too much at one time,” she says.
Studying the field and scenario can help you come ready for whatever the pitcher throws at you. Think of it like a test in school. If you study, there should be fewer opportunities for questions to catch you off guard. In softball, if you know the defensive lineup and the pitcher’s tendencies, you can have a better chance to perform.
When the pressure’s on, a solid approach to situational hitting could be the difference maker for your team. With these Pro Tips, you can swing away knowing you’re ready for any situation.
Situational hitting requires plenty of mental toughness, but what does it mean to be mentally tough? Learn how to train your brain for success on the diamond with these additional Pro Tips from Amanda “Chiddy” Chidester.