Difference between a strike and a ball.

by Shad Robinson
(Abilene, TX)

My daughter plays 12 and under fastpitch. She has problems knowing if the pitch is a ball or a strike soon enough to either swing or lay off the pitch. What can I do to help her?

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Relaxing in the box ...
by: Coach Dan

Hi Shad,

What your daughter is struggling with is one of the the most fundamental issues of the game: Do I swing or not? What it really comes down to is two things: Recognition and how quickly can I react.

There are a few things you can do to help her. The first is repetition. Work with her by playing pitch and catch. Initially, have her just use a glove and call out whether it is a ball or strike. This will help her get used to where the strike zone is.

Secondly, let her actually hit the ball while you pitch it to her. Taking her to the batting cages will also help with her swing, but the machine "always throws strikes" so that will only help with the repetition of her swing and not balls and strike recognition.

Here is another thought. It might not be the ball or strike recognition but rather how quick is her swing. If she has a long swing (swing starts way behind her versus taking the bat to the ball), then she may be recognizing balls and strikes fine, but her swing mechanics are leading to her issues. Review our pages on softball hitting instructions with particular attention to the page and video on the short swing. If, after reviewing, you do not feel you can help her with the hitting mechanics, go to a professional who can provide your daughter with private lessons. One of my daughters had a similar issue. It turned out her recognition was fine, but her swing was to slow. The short swing made all the difference.

Let me know how things work out and best of luck.

Kind regards,

i have trouble with that too
by: celine

ok I have problems with that too and io ma goin into to 13u at east Asheville and 12u was my first year so I cant swing at them to scared I get walked first couple times up to bat ever and then I started getting out every time but I practiced by throwing the ball up and hitting it like that for contact help

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