> I play in a slow-pitch softball league and I was wondering if the type of
> pitch affects the batting. I notice some pitchers put underspins on the
> the ball and I usually tend to pop-up in those situations. Do the
> underspins cause pop-ups more regularly or is it just me? If it does
> affect my batting, is there a way to counter the spin with the way I bat?
I slow-pitch occasionally, and I can assure you that everything the pitcher
can do to affect the trajectory of the pitch will affect the batter's
ability to hit it. This includes spin, release point, height, and drop
point. Given the same release point, height, and drop point, a pitch with
backspin will have a slightly different trajectory than a pitch with
topspin (due to the Bernoulli effect), but usually when a pitcher changes
the spin, he can't help but change the other three factors as well, so the
issue gets complicated. In general, what the pitcher is trying to do is to
put the ball through just enough of the strike zone to have it called a
strike (unless he's ahead in the count; then he'll usually try to get the
batter to swing at a ball that misses the strike zone completely). The
strike zone is a three-dimensional region, and the best points for the
pitcher to hit are the inside and outside corners, either high and deep or
low and short, depending on the hitter's weaknesses. The pitcher will also
try to alter his pitches so the batter can't adjust to the timing.
If two pitches somehow have the same trajectories but different spins, a
topspin pitch should produce more pop-ups than a backspin pitch. That's
because a pitch with topspin (from the pitcher's point of view) will come
off of the bat with backspin (from the batter's point of view, assuming the
batter doesn't alter the spin), and that will cause the ball to stay in the
air longer. I think the pitch's spin has a minor effect on anthing besides
the pitch's trajectory, though, because the batter will usually change the
Personally, I seem to have the most success with topspin pitches, released
from as far forward and as close to the ground as possible, with the
maximum height allowed, and which drop through the strike zone as high,
deep, and inside as I can get away with. I seem to get the most pop-ups
with those pitches.
If you're popping the ball up too much, you're probably just getting under
the ball too often. That's mainly a timing problem (you're swinging too
soon). However, you might also be lunging at the low, short, outside
pitches or getting jammed by the high, deep, inside pitches. If the former,
try moving up in the batter's box. If the latter, try moving back. In
either case, try waiting a hair longer before you trigger your swing. If
you just can't seem to alter your timing, try using a heavier bat (which
will automatically slow your swing).
Good luck (unless I'm pitching against you).