Popping up in softball is annoying, frustrating, and everything between. The amount of training and expectations every softball player has done and has when taking a position next to the plate is often high, and when your performance goes wrong, it certainly is awful. Good thing that you came to find answers, as I can proudly say there are!
In general, popping up in softball can be a result of many things. Your stance might be too tight or too loose; you might grip the bat from the wrong position and with the wrong intensity. Also, improper swing timing, precision, and follow-up will most certainly make you pop up more in softball.
When you have waited your turn to swing and keep popping up, it is very frustrating and can make you angry or sad, depending on the day. Lucky for you, popping up is a cause of something gone wrong in your technique so that it can be fixed!
By fixing the things that I’m about to explain, your pop-ups will decrease, your swing power will increase, and you will become a more consistent hitter. That’s a lot of benefits from usually easily fixable things. So, without a further due, let’s get to work!
How to Prevent Pop Ups In Softball?
To get a hold of your popping-up habits, there are three things you need to get right to swing much better. Note that if one of these things isn’t in order, your performance will be drastically worse, and you might pop up again. So, let’s start with the proper stance.
Everything starts with your stance. It is the core of your performance to get stability and strength, so it certainly is important to get it right.
When you are popping up more than you would like, I suggest reflecting on your stance. Was your stance too uptight or too loose? Regardless, both are bad, and you need to have a mixture of both.
So, what does a good stance look like? A good stance is secure and strong, yet flexible and bending.
You can get the strength and stability for your stance by taking a shoulder-width standing position, keeping your back and legs in connection with each other in a line. The flexible and bendy feel comes from relaxation, bending your knees with purpose, and avoiding tensing up your neck and shoulders.
The final part of a good stance is the distance you should stand from the plate. You will get the right distance by looking at the pitcher and aligning yourself with your feet, hips, and shoulders. A good distance from the plate is usually 6-12 inches (15-30cm).
The grip on the bat is surprisingly often somewhat wrong, which can cause more pop-ups in addition to lack of power and inaccuracy on the swing.
The issue often lies either in the location on the handle or the intensity you are holding the bat. Let’s take a look at the location first.
When coaches advise the players with their grip position and notice it’s too low, they often refer to the term ”choking up” the bat. This means that you should take a slightly higher grip on the handle towards the barrel, not that your hands touch the knob.
However, don’t go too up as it will decrease your swing power and accuracy. Do a couple of shadow swings and see which location is the best. Often, it’s a couple of fingers width of the gap between your first hand and the knob of the bat.
The second part of the grip technique is the tightness you are holding the bat.
The goal is to get a firm grip without squeezing too hard, limiting the moveability and making you prone to joint injuries.
So, take hold of your bat and grasp it lightly but firmly. Again, it’s a good idea to do a couple of swings, and you should notice whether the bat is too loose on your hands or too tight, which limits your power, among other things.
Now that you have your base in order, you can start focusing on the swing. However, swinging isn’t as simple as grip or stance as there are many different areas you need to get your swing right to reduce pop-ups. These are the timing, precision, and follow-up.
- Timing – Hitting the softball at the right time is crucial to reducing pop-ups and increasing accuracy and power. If your bat makes contact with the ball too early or too late, it will likely go way off where you intended. The right way to time the contact point right is to experiment whether your timing is more often too early or too late, and adust the swing accordingly.
- Precision – Hitting the softball with the right part of your bat is very important. You need to strike the ball with the middle of your barrel. If the ball makes contact with the lower part of your bat, it will result in a ground strike, or if it hits the upper part of your bat, it will be a pop-up. This is one of the most common reasons you might swing many pop-ups, so try to focus on the ball and hit it with the middle of your bat.
- Follow-up – Following through with your swing is important to maximize the power of your swing. Making a simple tap swing isn’t enough, and it will make your pop-ups, ground strikes, and line drives easier to catch. When you swing, follow the ball with your bat giving it a boost in power.
You might have noticed that the right method is often in the middle of two extremities. For example, the right grip is found by having a firm grip, yet not too tight, and so on. That’s often the case, and with a little practice, you will most certainly get your popping-up habit under control.
Anyways, when you have your stance, grip, and swing in order, you will not only reduce the number of pop-ups, but you will also become a much more consistent and powerful hitter.
My Favorite Softball Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Here are my top softball equipment recommendations that I think will take your game to the next level.
- Bat: My favorite certified fastpitch softball bat is the Easton Ghost. This bat has a double-barrel construction which is incredible if you are looking for a great feel and are a fan of satisfying pop and sound. The handle is a great bonus as it’s great to hold on to and very thin. The technology used for this bat provides great durability and flexibility. This bat comes in various styles and sizes.
- Softball: The best softballs, in my opinion, are the Franklin Sports Official Softballs. These affordable yet official featured balls are perfect for practice if you want to train with a similar ball as in a real game. These balls have the official 12-inch circumference and weight. The yellow color makes it easy to spot, and the flat seams enable minimal air resistance so that they will fly consistently and far.
- Glove: Rawlings Liberty Advanced Fastpitch Glove should be introduced to every softball player. The 12.5″ size makes it a breeze to catch and secure softballs. The glove is very comfortable as it’s made from full-grain leather, and the pull-staps will perfect the fit. The design is breathtaking as well. Be prepared for a little break-in time tho.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.