For Heaven’s Sake, Let’s Stop Squishing the Bug and Start Hitting With Power!
A Few Reasons Why That Old Teach Robs You of Precious Hitting
by Performance Coaches, Bill Mooney, and Dennis Muir of Diamond Pro NW
Now we realize when we talk about the old conventional wisdom and myth about squishing the bug while swinging the softball bat in a negative light, we might upset some people.
We’re not worried about upsetting people; We want to help you become a better hitter.
Hang in there with us and follow our logic on why this old teach actually hurts the power in your swing and makes it difficult for you to adjust to off-speed pitches.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not slamming the instructors that use that teach. In fact, we’ve all seen this teach on late night infomercials. And that’s exactly what it is, just a teach. Some instructors believe it is a hitting principle…or fundamental, but we will show you it isn’t. These instructors are not bad people; we just have found that using that logic of squishing the bug won’t help you get better. And here’s why.
Let’s Take a Look At Some Basic Hitting Mechanics
Now there are tons of books, DVD’s, and manuals on hitting and pitching mechanics out there on the internet, bookstores, and anywhere else you can find these types of things. We’ll give you the quick and dirty on hitting mechanics, and how the body works when you hit a softball well.
First off, you need to have an athletic stance. A well-balanced body will help you swing aggressively and drive your energy to the ball.
To drive that energy, you first need to generate some. How do we do that in hitting? Well, getting your body weight going towards the pitcher. Some College World Series hitters take a big stride, others little or no stride. But, they all get their momentum going towards the pitcher.
To be consistent delivering the bat to the ball, you need to keep that athletic stance in place. The more you change your athletic stance, or posture, while you swing, you leak energy and will deliver the bat to the ball less consistently.
There are only a couple of things we can think of that the batter has control of during an at bat. If she swings, and when they swing. So, our fourth principle is your timing mechanism. Your timing mechanism is transferring your weight from back side to front side. Your hands and shoulders should not rotate before you transfer your weight to the front side. For faster pitchers, you transfer the weight a little early, for slower pitchers, a little later.
Diamond Pro’s fifth principle is power. Once you’ve transferred your weight forward, your hips should rotate before your shoulders and hands do. This will generate torque. Torque is the separation of your shoulders and hips. It’s like a big rubber band winding up. The big muscles in the core of your body are winding up. Those muscles will help you rotate your shoulders faster and quicker which generates bat speed.
Funny thing though, when this happens, the better hitters don’t have much weight on the rear foot. The toe is usually just touching the ground only. There’s no bug squishing going on.
When you are aggressive with your torque, it will help you firm up your front leg. A firm front leg helps you control your momentum and also acts like a lever. Something firm to hit against.
To us, squishing the bug says there is weight on the back foot. If you look at the pictures above, there is no weight on the back of the leg until well after contact. The squishing the bug is an affect after contact. A recoil after the energy has been transferred to the front leg.
Isn’t it the great contact position we are looking for anyway? If you get in that great position, everything else will take care of itself.
To generate more power, you first need to generate more energy. To generate more energy, you have to transfer weight to the front leg.
So, our suggestion is to not focus on the ending…the squishing the bug. Focus on a great stance, attack the ball with your lower half, make sure your posture is steady and your shoulders and hands don’t rotate before foot strike, and learn from your finish. If your finish is well balanced, you’ve probably kept your posture along the way.
Train like a champion today!
Bill Mooney & Dennis Muir
Diamond Pro NW
20915 SW 105th Ave
Tualatin, Or 97062