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Swing batta batta batta KENNEDY KENNEDY KENNEDY SWING BATTA

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Kubla Kahn, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. Kubla Kahn

    Kubla Kahn
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    So I've signed up for a Softball League here in Shanghai so that I can get out and meet people. We had our first team party last night and it is a mish mash of world traveling heavy drinkers. I was recommended this team because they tend to be into the drinking aspect of the game and less about the whole competitive thing. Outside of a brief stint as a middle school wrestler this will be the my first time participating in a organized sport. The team captain owns a bar here that the team gets shit housed at. Our Team name is "The Hookers." So it's not taken too seriously with them.

    The only thing phasing me a little, is being totally green on the subject of actually playing the game. My worst fear is that I am horrible and become known as the dipshit that can't hit a fucking softball. Ive played maybe a week of softball each year I was in high school gym class (two of the four years when the weather permitted). Besides hustling on defense I was TERRIBLE at batting. They informed me that the team has a rule that requires anyone that strikes out to buy a round of shots (of fucking absinthe, the bar's signature drink) and that this didn't happen in the last season since no one on the team struck out.... They don't have batting cages here, something the local softball commissioner is thinking of opening, and I'll probably have one chance to practice with my team before we start in a week or so.

    Focus: What tips would you give to a ubernewb to the sport? Ill probably be playing outfield so tips on how to keep the ball on target when throwing to the infield would help too.

    Alt Focus: What league sports do you play in your free time? Does your team play to win national titles or just see how many players can be ejected from the game for being black out drunk?
     
  2. Disgustipated

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    I don't know shit about Softball. Try and get hit by the pitcher as often as possible for the walk.
     
  3. Degenerate

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    Is it 3-pitch or Lobball?
     
  4. hawkeyenick

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    I love playing softball, but then again, I played 14-15 years of baseball growing up, and I'm usually one of the better players on the field. During law school, I played on a few intramural teams. The best was annual law school tournament at the University of Virginia. My school sent 2 teams down there, and I was captain of one of the teams. We had a blast drinking on one of the greatest college campuses I've had the pleasure of visiting, and then playing a bunch of softball before doing more drinking. The best part of the weekend for me was when we beat the Duke team something like 25-5. Overall, my team wasn't too great, but it was fun beating the snot out of the arrogant Duke kids.

    As far as advice on picking up softball on the fly, when batting, try to keep your swing level and just try to swing straight through the ball. If you try to have a big home run swing, you're more likely to miss the ball entirely. And frankly, unless you can crush the ball, you're more likely to succeed in getting on base by hitting line drives and grounders.

    If you're playing the outfield, just do your best to keep the ball in front of you. When throwing, remember that its better to get the ball to your target by having it bounce in, rather than having it sail over someone's head or go off to one side or the other. Honestly, I would spend some of the time you have to practice hitting to also play some catch. Just throwing the ball and getting experience with the motion will help you to be able to hit the target when you're out on the field.
     
  5. D26

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    Tip 1: Don't try to crush the ball. I played in co-ed and all male softball leagues and the biggest mistake I saw people who weren't baseball/softball players make was trying to just go up there and hit the ball as hard as they could. Most of the time, they'd close their eyes and just hack away. They would either strike out, ground out, or hit a fly ball for an outfielder to catch. Everyone wants to be Barry fucking Bonds or Babe Ruth in softball. Fuck that shit, be Ichiro, just get some singles and make contact.

    Tip 2: Do NOT close your eyes when you swing: always keep your eye on the ball. I know this sounds simple, but it is a major mistake people make. Watch a few pitches. When taking practice swings, make sure you turn your head so you actually SEE your bat swinging through the strike zone. It is easy to fall into the trap of just trying to crush it and closing your eyes.

    He said it better than me. He is completely right.

    When it comes to hitting, that is honestly all there is to it for softball, especially if it is slow pitch. Just put the ball in play, and try to run it out. Half the time, you'll ground out or something, but the other half you'll either find a hole in the defense or someone will miss the play, and you'll get on base. Unless you know you can hit home runs (which, given your total lack of experience, you can't), just keep your eye on the ball, wait for a decent pitch, and swing for contact. Even if you don't get a single hit out of the infield, at least you won't be striking out.

    As for outfield defense, it is pretty simple: run like hell, always use 2 hands to catch the ball, and hit the cutoff man when throwing back into the infield. Balls will get past you or drop in front of you: just get the ball back into the infield as fast as possible. When it comes to fly balls, be sure to use both hands to make a catch. No one will be impressed by your one handed catch, but EVERYONE will give you shit if a ball hits your mitt and bounces out.

    Alt. Focus:

    In my old job, I played on their softball team for 4 years, and managed a few of the teams (at one point we had 2 teams). I've done co-ed and all male leagues for softball. I was always astonished at how seriously some of those people took their slow-pitch fucking softball leagues.

    Our first year we were dominant and won the league handily. The next year, they moved us to the top division, and my boss (the team captain) would absolutely LOSE HIS SHIT every time we lost a game. He'd scream at umps, talk shit to the other team, and do his best to be a giant douche. He was the pitcher, and at one point he felt an Ump wasn't calling strikes properly, so he started to do silly, passive-aggressive shit like pitch behind his back or throw at the batter (in slow pitch, mind you). He ended up walking in a few runs, and when the inning was over, instead of just putting the ball on the mound like a normal person, he chucked it into the outfield, and the Ump threw him out.

    He got thrown out of a fucking slow-pitch softball game.

    If he weren't my boss at work (and the boss of the vast majority of the team), we'd have told him to shut the fuck up and stop acting like a whining bitch, but he could make our lives at work a living hell, so we just let him act like a douche and apologized to the other team after the game, explaining that he didn't speak for the rest of us. He would always get pissed cause we were a co-ed team, but he couldn't get enough girls to show up, and it always baffled him. He never understood that no girls wanted to deal with his angry shit when we were losing, or god forbid they didn't play like a guy. When we joined the all-male league, I was voted team captain cause they were sick of his shit. I thought it'd be an issue, but I think he was relieved to not have to be the captain. Luckily, on that team, a few of the guys weren't his employees, so when he acted like a douche, he was called on it by teammates who told him to chill the fuck out and have some fun, instead of being an overly-competitive dick who whined like a child when a call didn't go his way.

    I do miss playing, as I had a lot of friends on those teams, but I REALLY don't miss dealing with his silly shit over a fucking slow-pitch softball league. It is okay to be competitive and want to win, don't get me wrong, but he took it to a whole new level of jackass.
     
  6. Sherwood

    Sherwood
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    God I love adult intramural sports.

    Whether or not it's fun all depends on how much people care. If they care too much, it gets pretty intense and you start to care too much. This happened in an adult hockey league I was in, where everyone cared too much. Fights, hard hits, slashes, injuries, etc. I think that's just the nature of the sport though, it really pisses people off.

    This summer I played in a Wiffle Ball league where people cared too little. The games were a hell of a lot of fun, but there was always problems with people not showing up and shit. But... my god was wiffle ball fun. I hadn't played in any kind of organized baseball/soft ball/wiffle ball league since tee-ball, but that didn't stop me from hitting .571 this year.

    Oh yeah, keep track of your batting average. Nobody on my team did except me. How could you not want to know that shit?

    Coming in the fall I'm joining a kickball team with some friends. They won the championship last year, and everyone always goes. If I can hit, this will be fun. If I suck? At least I know there's an organized drinking activity after the game.
     
  7. Nitwit

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    I'd say right field before first base.

    Like the others said, "Eye on the ball", swing easy, and make contact.

    Can you get your hands on a ball and bat before your time arrives? If so, find someone to pitch or play pepper with or just throw some up in the air and hit into a fence.
     
  8. Elset

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    Agreed. At first base you have to worry about people making bad throws, then picking the ball out of the dirt. And in a drinking softball league I would expect this to happen pretty frequently.
     
  9. jrussellmikkelsen

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    AGREED!!

    There was one thing I did when playing slow pitch softball that helped me way, way, way more than anything else and way more than I imagined it would.

    One day, I went to some batting cages with some teammates and practiced. We spent about 4 dollars each. We were all infinitely better hitters the rest of the season because of it.

    Batting cages have "soft ball" options. Switch the pitch to from "baseball" to "softball" and practice hitting line drives toward right field (because that's where the weakest defenders are placed). We were there about an hour, had a blast, and all suddenly became pretty good hitters for the team.
     
  10. pterodactyl

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    As far as keeping the ball on target square your shoulders at your target and use your glove arm to aim, keep your hand on top of the ball and try not to throw your shoulder out. Good way to practice throwing with good mechanics is to get on one knee and just practice turning your hips and throwing.

    Here are the softball jerseys I made for our team.
    [​IMG]
    They are a hit at the bar after the game.

    The co-ed volleyball team I play in is fucking terrible. I try not to take it to serious and not care, but when you get fisted 15-1 its hard not to get pissed off. Me and my buddy have been trying to explain to 2 of the girls that if the ball is at/above your head to just set it up in the air instead of jumping and swinging your arms trying to dig it. god we suck.
     
  11. ssycko

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    I've played volleyball for the better part of 8 years, and god damn do I hate gym-class (shitty) volleyball. It's frustrating on its own, but it's even worse when you give someone some advice that'll improve their playing tenfold, and they just ignore it and continue to play like they have dildos in their hands.

    As for hitting, one important thing- stay lose. Nobody else has mentioned it yet, but if you go up to the plate all freaked out and shit, you'll tense up, miss a lot more, and when you do hit they'll be little dribbles that are easy to scoop up. Relax up there.
     
  12. Viking33

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    I'll stay out of the technique session- I played baseball my whole life and everything about keeping your eye on the ball and not swinging for the fences is dead on.

    Alt Focus:
    What league sports do you play in your free time? Does your team play to win national titles or just see how many players can be ejected from the game for being black out drunk?

    I play rugby. Fall and spring seasons are taken seriously (placed 3rd in men's Division III South bracket two years ago. Got prison raped by Pensacola in the South semi's. Missed playoffs by a point last season) while the summer is get fucked up at 7's tourneys and see how many opposing team's tents we can nail with a 3 man water balloon launcher. Cans of Four Loko (a six pack in a can) are everywhere and we usually drop a player or two every tourney due to alcohol/sun dehydration. I also play for the Georgia U23 Selects and the Gypsies Men's Selects and those are taken very seriously due to the high level of competition.

    Intramurals... I play flag football and dodgeball as much as my time permits. We were Team Ramrod for football and "I Don't Like Cocaine, Just the Smell of It" for dodgeball. The coordinator banned the name before our first match so we switched to Touched By an Uncle for the remainder of the season. As if that's more politically correct. But we play and then head for the bars afterward. Not too serious there.
     
  13. iczorro

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    You do know the actual quote is not kennedy kennedy kennedy, right? It's he can't hit he can't hit he can't hit. Love that movie.

    I played company softball teams a lot, but after I broke my leg, I could only play catcher or first, since I'm no good at running. Also got real good at hitting the ball just over the infield to get a single.
     
  14. dan ruckus

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    I don't get to brag about much in my life, but I can't resist this one. It's not that I am the Ichiro of slow pitch softball. It's more like Ichiro is the me of baseball.

    I have been playing slow pitch for 6 years now. Although I play in the weakest league in the city, I am probably the best all around hitter not only in the city, but of anyone I have ever seen play. (minus those insanely jacked guys that hit the 500ft homers on ESPN2). I have only ever tried to hit a home run out of the park once and I was successful, but it just isn't worth it for me. Not bad for never having played any organized ball before I joined this team.

    Like that other guy said, why wouldn't you want to know what your batting average is? In 6 years, I have never hit under .750, and if you've never played softball, you have no idea how hard that actually is. Also considering the fact that I'm not one of those guys that plays every single day, I only play on one team once a week, so the margin for error is extremely small to hit that high an average. I'm talking like if I get 6 less hits that I finish with, that can effect my average by 75-100 points.

    There is no magical secret for the way I hit. I keep my hands in close to my body and go with the pitch to opposite field every time. I figured out early on that most pitchers struggle pitching inside to batters, so more often than not the ball drifts towards the outside. I have only walked a handful of times in 6 years and it's easier to get a hit if the ball is actually outside of the strike zone for me.

    In the league I play in you start with a 1 ball and 1 strike count before you start the at bat so that the games are sped up. This makes it even harder to get hits and one bad strike call can completely throw you off. If the ball hits the plate or a mat they have behind it representing the strike zone it is also a strike so if you have 2 strikes on you, you have to bat defensively or you'll strike out. Just from watching the same guys on my team and other teams for the last 6 years, I would bet maybe 5 guys total even come close to batting .500. If you try to hit a home run every time, you will fail. I pride myself on being a contact hitter with an uncanny ability to place the ball between the 2nd baseman and right center fielder 4 out of every 5 at bats.

    As far as advice goes, the biggest problem I see guys doing is that they will try to swing at a high pitch and upper cut the ball. This results in an easy pop up every single time. Stand a little farther back in the batters box and let the ball come to you. It is also much easier to get a hit if you have to reach for it outside rather than upper cutting or using your lob wedge for it.

    As far as fielding, if you end up in right field, just please always hit the cut off and for the love of god keep the ball in front of you. They won't like it if you drop an easy fly ball but they will be very disappointed if you let that ball roll all the way to the fence, all but guaranteeing an inside the park homer.
     
  15. Degenerate

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    Let me just preface by saying that my New Year's Resolution every year is to hit a mother fu$king dinger in softball and come every fall I am homerless.

    - If you're playing in the outfield always remember to look for your cut off man before hurling it to home on an opposing player's routine single.
    - Also in the outfield, be mindful of any big divots in the grass.
    - If it's the type of team that just drinks in the parking lot after the game, don't be the dick that forgets his turn to bring booze.
    - Wear a cup.
    - Wear a cup.
     
  16. lust4life

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    I played in an adult softball league. Our team name was "Jerry's Kids." Understandably, I have no tips to pass on.
     
  17. redbullgreygoose

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    Sign up to become the pitcher. Then take LSD before each game and you'll throw no-hitters every time.
     
  18. Kubla Kahn

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    This is how they play it in the league I joined. They also allow what they call a "moon ball" where there is no height ceiling on the pitch and it can be thrown as high as the pitcher wants landing on the plate with an almost vertical drop. Im probably just psyching my self out a little here. I really just need to find a place to practice.
     
  19. D26

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    I don't suppose there are batting cages? If there are, go. Trust me, it can help a lot with the basic mechanics.

    However, if not, try soft toss. Get a few softballs, and another guy. You stand about 5 to 10 feet from a fence, and have him toss the balls to you, and you swing and try to hit line drives or ground balls at the fence. If you hit the ball over the fence, you're swinging under it. If you hit a lot of ground balls, you're swinging to high. The goal is to hit line drives, and practice a level swing while keeping your eye on the ball. It is a good way to practice hitting without a batting cage or a full practice.
     
  20. Crown Royal

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    Right Field or "Rover" (Tenth fielder) are the easiest positions. Or, you're like me you can teach yourself to pitch accurately in three days. Pitching is an EASY position since the throw to any base is short and if it actually does get hit to you, and as long as you have reflexes and can catch the only real worry you have is to spear one 100 mph comebacker every two or three games. That's actually easier than it sounds.

    When you're hitting, if you try to kill the ball you'll pop up or hit a girlie ground ball practically every time. Most softballs usually have "flight restrictive" hides, so swing at about 80% power and you'll hit it best more often than not.

    Only swing at a pitch in your wheelhouse (below chest, above shins).

    It easy to direct your hit because the pitches are slow, so always direct your hits at the weakest outfielder. Then, take out the second baseman cleats-up.

    Never take softball seriously. People expect you to get drunk during it, but go ahead and throw your glove down in disgust and call the ump an asshole! After all, you had so much riding on this big game. Tool.