Softball Hitting Clips

As many of you remember, we used to post a multitude of hitters, both baseball and softball, to illustrate the mechanics we teach. We have decided to only post a few on our new website because basically it showed the same "hitting envelope" that hitters are obliged to enter as they swing.

One of my definitions of the "perfect" swing is "the adjustment the hitter makes to the pitch he gets." Being able to make these adjustments, i.e., matching the swing plane to the pitch plane, is paramount to staying in the contact zone for as long as possible.

Consider that all softball pitchers are taught to to get the hitter to hit the top-half of the ball. Why then do so many teach the hitter to hit the top-half of the ball? Does this make sense? Does it sound logical that hitters are taught to do exactly what pitchers want them to do? 

Mike's tip: "Swing level to the BALL—not level to the GROUND."

Enjoy!


Nicole Koszowski
Mountainside, NJ
16 years old
Mike & Jake,

Time does pass by quickly - sorry we haven't written you sooner to thank you and Jake for the time spent working with us at your facility in June.

In the last game of her last tournament of the summer, under international rules with a runner placed on second base, she knocked it way over the 200ft fence in left field to take the lead. It was an exciting moment for her and us.

Before every game, she practices your Enforcer Drill. (She says she doesn't like it, but it certainly works!!!)

We are looking forward to visiting with you again. —Ed Koszowski
 
Mike's note: Nicole is currently being hotly recruited by D1 schools.

Jackie Vasquez
Arizona State University

I came upon this hitting clip of Jackie Vasquez, a senior for 2008 NCAA World Series Champion Arizona State University and one of the best softball hitters at the collegiate level. Here she is shown hitting a long one out of the park.

Mike's note: I have talked incessantly about the difference between a hitter's "style" and their "technique." They must be separated for an instructor when working with a student. Most fastpitch hitters are taught to "stay on top of the ball" and to hit "the top-half of the ball." This is taught by placing the hitter's hands high in the stance and "forcing" a swing down and through the ball. If your daughter is one of the very fast runners on her team, and perhaps a bit size challenged, this would be an appropriate approach for her. Unfortunately, many girls do not run well and are bigger framed. Their game should be one of line drives and driving the ball—not a running game.

A hitter's style is also known as "pre-swing" movements. It becomes "technique" when the front heel drops initiating hip rotation and torque. The hands drop into the universal launch position during the stride, facilitating matching the hitter's swing plane to the pitch plane. The universal launch position is defined as when the top of the top hand is at the bottom of the arm pit. Matching the swing plane to the pitch plane is an adjustment all good hitters make; it enables staying in the contact zone as much as five feet!

In the clip, Jackie's hands-high style is her way of breaking inertia and establishing rhythm as she strides. Ted Williams used to tell me that a hitter's hands need only be as high as the highest strike that will be called by the umpire. He also said that no matter where a hitter starts their hands, they always defer to the universal launch position, where the greatest leverage, strength, and bat speed is generated.

I don't know where Jackie learned how to do this, but it's no wonder she is such an accomplished hitter. She does it right!

Before After

Amanda Buckley
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
17

Amanda going through our 7-Day Instruction Package.

Before After

Meredith Owen
Jackson, MS
15
Through 14 games of High School fast pitch ball this fall (8/25/08), Meredith is 30 for 45 with 3 HRs, 14 doubles and 0 K’s.  Many of the doubles have hit the fence on the fly or bounced over it. It is amazing how hard she is hitting the ball.  The SEC schools here are already looking at her.  — Doug Owen

Update (9/10/08): Meredith hit her 11th HR of this fall season yesterday, a walk-off grand slam. Including summer travel ball, she has hit 19 HRs this year. Meredith has been asked to play with the Germantown, TN Red Devils Gold team next summer (2009). This team won the NAFA u-18 “Elite” national tournament in Sulphur, LA this year.

Mike's note: Doug Owen is a long-time Epstein Certified Hitting Instructor located in Jackson, MS.

Brittany Burgess
Seattle, WA
17

Mike's tip: Brittany is not a very big girl, so her swing has been "flattened" somewhat to hit balls on a lower trajectory than someone possessing more power. When looking at hitters, we often only see the hitter's "style;" not their "technique." In subsequent lessons, we corrected her stylistic "leaning back" too far after contact issue by simply getting her to bend her rear leg a little more and consciously straightening her back more. This aligned her body more favorably to her ideal vertical axis, producing more off-the-bat ball trajectories suitable to her physcial capabilities.


Amy Weinberg
Pleasant Valley, NY
15

Mike and Jake,

I wanted to let you know that Amy has tried out for -- and made! -- one of the East Coast's premier 18U ASA Gold teams, TNT GOLD (she's still only 15).

At the tryout, Amy was hitting in a cage.  After two swings, the coach stopped the practice and told his team to watch Amy swing, particularly the way she was keeping her hands inside the ball and the position of her back elbow.  The coach said she has some of the best hitting mechanics he has ever seen, and this is a man who has coached for years at the top level of softball.

This is due to the training she received at your hitting camps and, primarily, eight months of working with Joe Espinosa in Danbury.  We can't say enough good things about Joe.

I just wanted to let you know how well your system works!! - Stephen Weinberg 

Mike's note: In this clip of Amy, she is using a Hands Back Hitter™ at our Danbury, CT hitting camp. Notice the perfect arm placement which must occur for hitters to stay inside the ball!

Mike's note: Joe Espinosa is a four-year Epstein Certified Hitting Instructor located in Ridgefield, CT.