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The Fastpitch Softball TV Website is more than just softball videos. It is a fastpitch softball network, with great softball programming. If you love softball, you are sure to find this site a favorite!

This site also has a great selection of fastpitch softball blogs, and an online magazine about fastpitch softball. If it is reading material you are looking for, then you have found it!

Links to a few of the different information channels on this site are below.

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The Pocket Radar Is As Accurate As A Radar Gun By Gary Leland

It uses state-of-the-art speed measurement

World’s most compact, high-performance speed radar

Easy-to-use, point-and-shoot one button action

Ideal for baseball, softball, tennis, racing…ANYTHING

Only 4oz (115g) in weight

Easy to carry and store

Takes the guesswork out of the game

Package includes: Pocket Radar, hard shell carrying case, two AAA batteries, wrist strap and quick start guide

Only $199.95.
In stock in my Texas store.

Pocket Radar

The Pocket Radar

$199.95

Accurate, portable, and easy to use.

In Stock And Ready To Ship

Will leave our warehouse the next business day

7 in stock

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Product Description

Measures speed as accurately as a radar gun, but at a fraction of the cost

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Fuel the Focus

Fuel the Focus

Fuel the Focus Written By Shannon Murray

“What time is it Coach?” “What’s the score Coach?” “How much longer do we have of practice?” “Who’s your favorite singer in One Direction Coach Shannon?” These are all questions that my ten year olds pose to me almost every practice or game we have. As cute as they are and we love their eagerness to learn, our younger softball crowd has to achieve a major goal that builds the development of their skills: Focus. How do we teach the age group that lives to wander and explore to stay grounded long enough at practice to click with what we teach them?

Also pursuing a career in teaching, I’ve been fortunate enough to pick up some tricks of the trade in teaching the younger crowd. At the age of 9 (or younger) to 11, girls are really discovering the basic mechanics and love of the game. Put yourself in their shoes. They really just want to play with their friends and have fun. As they should, but we as their coaches are there to guide them in development of their softball skills as well as ensure they have a great time playing. Where’s the balance in all of this? How can I make sure my 10 U team doesn’t fall behind even though I want them to enjoy playing ball?

One part of the game that I try to teach my young girls during the game is about the score. Sometimes they are so consumed with score keeping and whose winning they forget about what they should really be focusing on in the game. From a teaching perspective, I carry over the idea of positive reinforcement to the field to help me with this. I tell the girls to focus on where they are going if the ball is hit to them. Or I ask them to tell me how many outs there are in the inning. As far as the score is concerned I teach them to always play like it’s a 0-0 ball game. “What does that mean Coach Shannon?” Well kiddos, playing like it’s a 0-0 ball game means to play your hardest no matter what. You’re not behind in the game but you’re not ahead either. You are giving 100% on the field at all times so you don’t have the pressure of when you’re losing, but not the comfort of when you’re winning either. So any time one of the girls asks me, “Coach, what’s the score?” I tell them, “0-0, like it always is.”

Practice is a different focus to conquer. While games normally carry a somewhat more serious tone for ten year olds, practices don’t always have that effect. Ten year old girls see practice as a reason to go play and hang out with their friends. And that’s great. That’s ten year olds building team comradery. Coaches, it’s important to find a good balance between social and serious for girls that young. If we make it all work and no play, girls will burn out faster than a candle on a birthday cake. Allot some time for them to socialize a little in between drills or at water breaks. On the other hand, we do need to establish the focus so they actually learn something at practice. Too much socialization and distraction will cause girls to have mechanics or drills stick. If talking gets away from them, don’t be afraid to recollect them. If you start to notice a slower pace in the drill repetitions, they are probably not completely focused. Again, I use positive reinforcement for this purpose. When I see one girl stand out among the rest I will mention something like, “I really like how Susie is down and in a ready position to get her next ground ball.” Kids crave praise and what better way to motivate them to earn it by showing off their teammates’ good work. Reward can come in different forms than verbal. When we run bases, I will tell girls that exhibit great focus they may not have to run the last lap at practice or will be allowed to wear a silly hat to practice next time.

So remember coaches, at such a young age we need to stimulate the passion for the game in girls but have that balance of focus to learn at the same time. Fuel the focus with fire positive reinforcement!

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Tee Stackers Are Great For Batting Tee Work By Gary Leland

The Tee Stackers unique design allows you to “stack” two or three balls on a hitting tee at the same time.

If you swing cleanly on plane through the top ball, the Stacker slides off and the next ball is ready to hit.

If you swing off plane by topping the ball, casting, uppercutting, etc, the Stacker is disturbed and the remaining balls will fall.

Using Tee Stackers gives you instant feedback on every swing.

Tee Stacker drills improve focus and makes hitting from a tee more challenging for all ages and skill levels.

Use different sizes and colors of balls while changing hitting planes on each swing.

Can be used with a single or double tee.

Only $14.95 for a set of 2 Tee Stackers.
In stock in my Texas store.

Tee Stackers

Tee Stackers Are Great For Tee Work

$14.95

Players get instant feedback using Tee Stackers

In Stock And Ready To Ship

Will leave our warehouse the next business day

8 in stock

Category: .

Product Description

Tee Stackers are a great training aid for players to use with a batting tee.

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How To Protect The Knees Of A Catcher

How To Save A Catchers Knees

How to Protect the Knees of a Catcher Written By Angela Long

The position of the catcher is one that arguably requires the least amount of movement during the game with the possible exception of the first baseman. The catcher will have to stand from time to time in throwing the ball to the bases, chase errant pitches that get behind them and cover home plate when a runner is coming in.

However, catchers are arguably the most likely to suffer from long term issues with their knees because of the excessive squatting that they must perform through most of the game. In fact, many doctors report that while softball injuries do not occur as often as many contact sports, the most frequent comes from catchers who have usually injured their knees over time.

The pain and discomfort are actually worse for teenagers who are still in the process of growing. In many cases, teenagers will often quit the position and find another on the softball field in order to avoid damaging their knees even more. However, once the damage has been done, many catchers have reported continual pain in their knees long after their playing days are over with.

So, the problem is just exactly how can a catcher protect their knees while still performing at a high level during the game? To answer that, it is important to fully understand what is happening and then taking the appropriate steps to ensure that any damage to the knees are minimal at best.

What Causes Pain in the Knees?
The causes for the pain are rather straightforward. The deep squatting actually pulls on the tendons and squishes the cartilage in the knees. Then, rising from that position to throw adds even more stress which starts to break down the cartilage and puts even more pressure on the tendons as well.

In some ways, it causes injuries similar to repetitive motion that leaves the knees weaker and more susceptible to injury. Quite often, a single event that causes a tendon or ligaments to snap was set up by the years of abuse caused by being in a prolonged squatting position.

If not corrected soon, catchers will also suffer muscle damage to the knees as well, leaving them in chronic pain which is only exacerbated when standing, walking or jogging. Many catchers have suffered from permanent damage to their knees which have crippled their mobility.
How Can Knee Problems Be Avoided?

However, despite the rather dire sounding issues that surround the knees of a catcher, there have been several advances in how to prevent these injuries from taking place. Prevention is the best form of knee protection since you avoid all the issues that can crop up in your future. The earlier you act to protect your knees, the less likely you will suffer an injury or have to endure long term pain.

What follows are some simple, yet effective ways to protect your knees while being the catcher of your team. The more you can do to protect your knees, the longer you can play without discomfort or putting your knees in jeopardy of being injured.

Knee-Savers: This is an interesting invention that is about as simple as it gets. A knee-saver is a little cushioned block that sits atop the back of the shin guards. This physically prevents the catcher from squatting fully down on their knees. The purpose is to increase the angle between the thigh and the knee which results in less stress being placed on the tendons, muscles and cartilage.

Currently, there are no long term studies that have been performed to know if knee-savers really work. However, simply increasing the angle of the knee from the thigh does offer some relief.

Stretches:
This is the most traditional way to help avoid injuries to the knees. The purpose of the stretching is two-fold, to gain more flexibility so that the tendons and cartilage can be stretched further without injury and to strengthen the muscles in the knees as well. Interestingly enough, the best types of stretches are lunges and squats which will put the knee in a similar position, but not as much as the deep squatting that occurs during the game.

These types of stretches will help the tendons and muscles maintain their proper form and also loosen them up so that they are less susceptible to injury. In addition, it is recommended that catchers stretch after the game as well to help the muscles wind down.

Seek Immediate Treatment: As soon as any pain is felt or injury has occurred, it is best to seek out a physical therapist immediately. This is because the earlier the injury or pain can be addressed. The more likely a catcher will be to fully recover. At this point, a catcher should obtain a “patella-femoral brace” which will stability the kneecap and keep it properly aligned to help prevent further injury.

Plus, icing the area of pain can take down the swelling and also help in the recovery process as well by actually increasing the blood flow which accelerates the healing process as well.

Other Tips to Avoid Injury
In addition to knee-savers and stretches, catchers can employ a number of other methods to keep their knees healthier. Remember, it’s not just the time during the game that puts pressure on your knees, it also happens during practice as well.

During practice, keep a bucket of balls nearby so you don’t have to get up and chase them if the pitcher should fire one past you. Also, instead of squatting, sit on a small bucket, stool or cooler so that the pressure is off your knees. Limit the time you spend in the deep squatted position as much as possible during practice sessions.

In addition to your knees, keeping your hips, quadriceps and gluteus in shape will also take some pressure off of your knees. You’ll want to perform additional exercises away from practice that strengthens your core muscles and all of your leg muscles so that you have more overall strength and flexibility as well. This should also include your calves and hip flexors as well.

By taking a total approach, catchers can minimize the risk of long term damage to their knees with a combination of pre and post game stretches, exercises, knee-savers and limiting the time during practice of being in the deep squatted position.

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How To Manage Academics And Athletics

How To Manage Academics And Athletics

How To Manage Academics And Athletics Written By Keri Casas

I have heard countless stories and excuses among student-athletes for their inability to maintain good grades because of their commitment to their sport. To me, it’s a cop-out. It’s reason for a student to be lazy, to under-achieve, and to go through the motions. Furthermore, I see more and more parents supporting their athletes in the belief that they simply cannot juggle it all. Let me tell you, you are only hindering your child’s abilities to be independently successful on the field and in the classroom.

It is unexpected to believe that a child, let alone a teenager, will have the capacity to put themselves on a schedule, stay organized, eat properly, maintain good grades, and stay in the starting line-up. In addition to all of this, your athlete is a female; so let’s factor in the need for social media, friends, school dances, and boys. They need your help, and they need your support.

If your daughter is looking to achieve their sport at the highest level, specifically a collegiate scholarship, they need structure to prepare themselves for an independent world. Collegiate academics and athletics are unforgiving. A professor won’t care that you just got off of a 3 hour flight from your double-header to excuse you from the midterm and a coach won’t care that you need to study for your test to let you skip practice. Your child will be thrown into this world at a rapid pace and unless they have structure and learn to balance all of their activities, they will drown in what was once a dream come true.

Although your child will not want to always follow a structured schedule, they will thank you later in their collegiate years as they will be able to soundly play the sport they love with the ability to be a high-achieving student in the classroom. So how do you go about implementing this schedule? You write it out and stick to is as strictly as possible. Have your female athlete, NOT YOU, write out their full schedule for a typical week, including times, you will be able to see how her time can be managed more efficiently. For example:

Monday: 8:00-3:00pm School
6:00-8:00pm Practice
10-11pm Bed

Once the whole schedule is written out, you will notice that there are huge gaps of time that can be organized in a different manner. If all the athlete does on Monday’s is school and practice, her homework should be done before practice begins, along with a meal, then practice, then any unfinished work with relaxation time after practice. Once her whole week is planned out, both of you will see how much time she really has on her hands, leaving no room for excuses to be able “to do it all”. She will be excuse-free and you will no longer have to fight over why she couldn’t study for her test or why she had to cancel lessons. “Too much homework”, or “practice went too long” will no longer be an issue.

Please note, they probably won’t initially like being put on a schedule, or enjoy being given expectations as to maintaining high academics with their athletic endeavors. It isn’t impossible and it truly makes for a better student-athlete in the collegiate world where you can’t bail them out by calling their coach or their teacher. It is a great tool for them to stay organized, achieve excellent scores in the classroom, work hard at their respected sport, and do so with confidence to attain both academic and athletic accolades without the stress of crunching time.

KEY FACTS:

Kids need time to be kids, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need structure.

Implement a plan in your home so your kids can maintain their commitments to academics and athletics.

Don’t allow excuses. Your athlete can handle it all with success of the field and in the classroom; create a schedule, follow it, and enforce it. Soon enough they will appreciate it and want to follow it.

Video On Demand

Fastpitch Softball Pitchers And Their Leg Drag? by Dr. Sherry Werner Ph’D Produced By Gary Leland

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The Fastpitch Cheers App produced By Gary Leland

Click to get the Fastpitch Cheers App for iTunes

2, 4, 6, 8 who do we appreciate?

Hey batter, batter, swing batter, batter.

Rip, Shot, Shot, Rip, Send it over, Send it over, Send it Deep, Send it Deep…

Think those are a little out of date? Then you need the Fastpitch Cheers app for the iPhone and iPad.  There are links to newest cheers in the softball circuit.

This app contains a large database of cheers for softball players, and new cheers will be added as we find them.

Another great feature of this app is the Fastpitch Training Aid Blog is included at no extra charge. It is a great blog to tell you about all the training aids out there to improve any players performance.

Click to get the Fastpitch Cheers App for iTunes

Softball Junk

Sponsored by SoftballJunk.com

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Fastpitch TV Equipment Store

Fastpitch Softball TV Store

As many of you know I own and operate SoftballJunk.com located in Arlington, Texas.

I am creating this new store on the Fastpitch TV Website that will serve you with many of the great fastpitch softball products that I sell.

The best thing about this new store is that you will be able to use the code FPTV10 to save 10% on any softball equipment I add to this store. This is a special Thank You for being a fan of the Fastpitch TV Network.

The only thing is you must place your orders online. In other words I will not take orders over the phone.

This is something new, so we will see how it goes.

I will consistently add new items every week, and try to actually give you my personal thoughts on the items I post.

In case you were wondering I have been selling softball equipment since 1999, so I am not new at this.

To enter the store CLICK HERE

Avoiding The Big Inning

Avoiding The Big Inning

Avoiding The Big Inning Written By John Michael Kelly

“The Big Inning:” It’s every coach’s dream on offense, and every coach’s nightmare on defense! The big inning can and will change momentum of the game and more often than not decides the outcome of most games. This article will focus on the defensive perspective and what you can do as a coach to prevent or, at the very least, minimize the damage of a big (or “potentially big”) inning.

As I write about and teach often dramatic shifts in team momentum are usually started by what may look like a harmless single event on the field. This single “trigger event” followed by another like event and yet another and before you know it…BAM, the big inning is rearing its ugly head and your team is reeling!

Whether due to a pitching or defensive mistake, or even the ”luck of the green” when balls drop just beyond your fielders’ reach or find their way to the chalk, these “trigger events” can quickly deflate any team and turn the collective mindset from “I can” to “I can’t.”

While nearby in the other dugout, almost by some magical transference of energy, the game momentum has changed uniforms and your opponent’s collective energy gets visibly and audibly louder and infinitely more confident. Yes, there are absolutely two sides of the big inning coin.

So how can you as coach keep your defense and pitcher rolling in the early or late innings when the sinister forces of the game seem intent on inflicting damage to your team’s hopes of coming away with a “W?” Here are a couple of scenarios and ways you can short circuit the big inning:

1. I preach to my pitchers every inning to get ahead in the count and hyper-focus on getting that first out of each inning (since statistically 60+% of all lead-off hitters that reach base score). This strategy is CRUCIAL when trying to protect a lead. Nothing is more deflating to a team and coach to see their pitcher walking people or pitching consistently behind in the count with a lead late in the game. When a pitcher loses control it is often due to one of three things: fatigue, fear or lack of focus.

–Fatigue is obvious and as a coach don’t hesitate to go out to the circle for a visit to give your pitcher a breather, or to replace her. Ever pitcher has a clock ticking on her effectiveness. Get tuned in to it. And never leave her out there to fry when she is physically and/or emotionally done!

–Fear is often the cause when a pitcher enters an unfamiliar and uncomfortable game situation; maybe in a big game, maybe late in the game, or because she is worried about your showing or voicing your disapproval with her. I have always found that going out for a visit to take a little pressure off her by saying something funny, reassuring her of your support and allowing her to get back into a better pitching rhythm can be a very effective way to improve her performance.

–A lack of focus is often the culprit for a big first inning as the pitcher can be wild, putting her defense asleep. Focus is always a choice and I have little patience when a pitcher doesn’t begin to lock in mentally during her pre-game warm-ups. Some athletes are more easily distracted than others so monitor your pitchers’ warm-up intensity and stay involved in her focus before and throughout the game. Keep your catcher attuned as well as she can be a great asset in helping your pitcher keep her focus up, particularly during the biggest moments of the game.

2. On defense the big inning often starts as the result of an error on a seemingly harmless grounder or fly ball (if not by a walk). But it is at this moment that you often hold the key as to how bad the inning will get. I have unfortunately seen far too many coaches start ripping into their kids after a couple of errors and you can just see all the players’ energy just vanish; heads down and predictably worse results then follow. Don’t let that be you. As a coach it is vitally important to distinguish between physical and mental errors by your defense. Physical errors happen and can be corrected in practice. Mental errors are a little less forgivable but, nonetheless, every player who ever played the game makes them at one time or another.

Your job is to keep the mistakes in perspective by focusing on your players’ effort, and not be solely focused on their results or outcome on the field. If your players are afraid of making mistakes because you will blow up at them you can be assured they will make more mistakes. I have always coached with the mindset that mistakes will happen but that our success will be defined by how we RESPOND to those mistakes and failures. As the team leader you must set the tone and be okay with mistakes. No, you may not like them but harsh words, tones or body language showing disapproval will tank your girls emotionally and likely make it harder for you to keep their respect for you.

In short the big inning is a complex animal that will take a few more of these articles to fully convey the myriad mental strategies available to you as coach. In younger athletes confidence is a very fragile thing that, as coach, you wield an enormous amount of power to mold, nurture or destroy. The big inning is usually always a reflection of your team’s, your players’ and your own mindset and emotional state. To minimize the damage you need to wear the multiple hats of coach, cheerleader, psychologist, mentor and friend to get the most from your players and keep their collective emotional state even keeled.

Invariably my teams more often than not exceed expectations and play more closely to their potential on a more consistent basis because I work hard to keep my athletes’ emotional tanks full by encouragement and the understanding that mistakes and failure are a necessary part of the game. Once you can get your athletes to buy into the mindset that mistakes and failure are but opportunities and challenges to get better there will be less big innings on defense and more of them when you are swinging it!

Thanks for reading!

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