Can Baseball, Fastpitch, and Slow Pitch be Very Similar?
by Robert Canary
Baseball Swing v. Fastpitch Softball Swing
Okay I am going to open a can of worms here that has been an on going debate for sometime.
As an active participant in both baseball and fastpitch (girls softball), I see an extraordinary resemblance between the two sports. Slow Pitch, ahhh NO. Slow pitch requires the batter to move forward on the front foot, and definitely a different swing, even the slot position is completely out of tune with a baseball swing.
With that said I want to talk about swinging at a Fastpitch versus swing at a Baseball.
For many years Slow Pitch was very dominant in women's sports. I feel as a result, as the sport shifted to fastpitch, the whole softball community has taken old baggage with them to the batters box. In an effort to glorify the Fastpitch sport they try desperately to negate the similarities of batting mechanics. Which, for the life of me, I don't no why.
I have a 10 year old son who can flat out drill a 12" ball in Fastpitch. Yes, it takes him about 10 pitches to get him in the grove. But once he is there, he absolutely creams the ball, consistently. He filled in for a scrimmage game and the 16U girls on the other team were laughing. Wow, did he shut their mouths. He simply is targeting a lower outside pitch, the same pitch that kills most baseball batters at the plate.
Although he is killing the ball, and he is using "Baseball Hitting Mechanics", I still could not get the parents and coaches to admit they are teaching the wrong mechanics for batting. The die hard coaches even into college levels, still insist on developing 50/50 weight distribution, and minimal rotation. Yes, the girls hit hard. Looking at the TeamUSA Faspitch these women were swinging the same mechanics as the MLB players. The one woman was hitting 300' balls, and had full rotation on the lower half and a direct follow through in the impact zone. THAT'S THE SAME SWING MY 10YO IS DOING.
So tell me, do you see any need to change the swing mechanics while hitting a 12" fastpitch verses a low and outside baseball?
Swing Smarter Response:
You know Robert, you bring up a good point. Myself not spending much time in fastpitch softball (only in hardball and slow pitch softball, which I agree about the difference in swing there), I heard the fastpitch softball and baseball swings were different because the ball is rising in softball as opposed to the ball coming from a slight downward plane as in baseball.
I always described baseball and fastpitch softball as as similar to humans and chimps. There's only a 2% difference in our DNA coding, but that difference is HUGE. Now, I may be wrong here, but like I said, I don't have a lot of experience in fastpitch.
I do however, agree with you about the USATeam Softball young ladies swinging like Big Leaguers, so your argument might have some merit there.
On the other hand, I would've agreed with you about 50/50 weight distribution except just the other day I had a talk over Facebook with an ex-teammate of mine at Fresno State, Anthony Acevedo. He played in the Astros organization for some time and shifted my perspective on weight distribution.
You see, our bodies naturally want to be balanced, and when we load up on the backside say 70/30, then as we stride our body comes back to 50/50 and we allow our eyes to shift forward, which is bad in respect to building above average plate discipline. So, loading our weight onto the back leg like that is a waste of movement.
Unlike slowpitch softball as you mentioned, we get our power from hip and core rotation, and NOT our forward movement to the ball.
That being said,
I believe 50/50 is the way to go, however full range of motion hip rotation is a must, and those fastpitch softball gals are missing out on a lot of power by not rotating at the hips and core. I know they're just trying to be quicker to the ball because they only have a 45 foot distance to make a swing decision, but it's at the expense of power. Just get the stride foot down earlier is what I'd say.
Glad to hear your thoughts Robert, hope your son can keep showing those gals how a real stick and ball athlete can swing it! :P lol