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As important as bat speed is for baseball players, it may be even more important for

softball players.  The distance from home plate to the pitcher is significantly shorter,

reducing the amount of time a player has to react.  Not convinced?  Jenny Finch has

pitched to about 30 big league hitters and only two have made contact.  Albert Pujols,

Mike Cameron, Dimitri Young, Mike Piazza, Paul Lo Duca, and Richie Sexson have all

failed.  These are/were some of the best hitters in Major League Baseball and the fact

that they didn't make contact gives you an idea of how difficult hitting a softball can be.

Becoming a better softball hitter, much like baseball, can be accomplished through

better mechanics, vision training, and of course bat speed training.  Think about it this

way - If you have less time to react, you are at a great disadvantage.  The easiest way to

increase reaction time is to increase your bat speed.  Take two players with the same

hand-eye coordination and similar hitting abilities.  Player 1 has a bat speed of 60 mph and player 2 has a bat speed of 75 mph.  Player 2 will have have a major advantage.  That means they have a better chance at making contact and it gives them a better chance of picking up off-speed pitches.  

There are players who posses great hand-eye coordination yet they always seem to hit

weak ground balls or shallow pop-ups.  Often times this is a tell-tale sign of poor bat

speed.  These hitters possess enough hand eye coordination that they can put the bat on

the ball; however, they have to start their swing so early that they can't differentiate

well enough between off speed pitches.  So although they might get the bat on the ball,

the chances of reaching base are still slim.  Take that same player and give them an

additional 10 or 15 mph in bat speed and suddenly they can sit back and wait longer on

the pitch.  Now the same hitter will be hitting line drives rather than the typical weak

grounders, and pop flies that they could never square up.

One of the most dominant hitters to ever player softball, Crystl Bustos, generated a bat

speed around 80 mph.