When you're looking to improve your softball hitting stats, even the slightest variations in the way you stand, hold the bat or move toward the ball can help. While your coach may have told you time and again not to drop your shoulder, you won't necessarily have to worry about keeping your shoulders even at all times. The trick is to know when to keep them even and when not to.


1 Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart in the batter's box, and then raise the bat back over your back shoulder. Your hands should be about shoulder-height.
2 Elevate your back arm so that your shoulders are at the same level while you wait for the pitch. If you're having trouble seeing where your shoulders are positioned in relation to one another, ask a coach. At this point, your back shoulder -- the shoulder facing the catcher -- should not drop below the front one. Lean onto the ball of the back foot as the pitch approaches

3 Push off the ball of the back foot as the pitch gets close to you, and then rotate your hips toward the ball. You might have previously heard a coach tell you to keep your shoulders level at this point. Instead of turning toward the pitch with only your upper body, you need to involve your hips as well as your trunk.

4 Drive the front shoulder toward the ball as you move your hands up or down slightly toward the height of the ball. When you don't drive your front shoulder toward the ball, your back shoulder will tend to drop down, says softball performance coach Marc Dagenais. Your back shoulder may drop a little below the front one as you swing, but the effect will be minimized by that shoulder drive.


5 Aim for the middle of the ball. Hitting the ball too low will cause you to hit pop flies. If you're hitting a low pitch, your back shoulder is naturally going to drop to meet the middle of the ball, reminds longtime coach and player Cindy Bristow. However, this "drop" should happen when your hands are moving forward and not when you're preparing for the ball to approach.