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10 Things She Must Do to Stand Out on the Field


“The Top 10 Things She Must Do to Stand Out on the Field” Written By John Michael Kelly

As championship season is upon us the summer push to win and be noticed is like no other time of year. Whether you daughter and/or team is playing in a regional or national tournament, or one of the major summer showcases here are some proven tips for things your athlete MUST do to stand out from the crowd and be a difference maker, a game changer…someone every coach wants on his or her team.

Remember, if your athlete is looking to get recruited keep in mind that for a college coach this is their career, their job. Ask yourself the question, “Would I invest $100,000 to $250,000 in my daughter to play softball in my program…knowing that my job is on the line?”

Follow these 10 tips and your daughter will shine and stand out every time:

1. Hustle – This should be a “no-brainer.” Run from pre-game to the dugout; run on and off the field each inning; run back to the dugout after an out; and for gosh sakes RUN out every ball hit. Dive for balls….ALWAYS. If your athlete is on deck she should run to pick up the bat for the batter after a foul ball. Remember, hustle is a CHOICE and coaches are ALWAYS watching.hoover09cut-11

2. Attitude – This takes form as body language, using your voice on the field, cheering in the dugout. Your athlete, again, must be aware that her every move is being watched and any demonstration of frustration, anger or sadness is seen as a huge weakness and liability in the eyes of a coach. This falls under the heading of mental toughness…get some!

3. Intelligence – I call it “Softball IQ” and every coach likes to see a prospect show her knowledge for the game. Why? Because it will make the coach’s job easier; less remedial teaching allows for more advanced teaching. Have your athlete pay attention playing the game, observing the game or watching on television. How much can she learn about the game? Again, it’s always her CHOICE.

4. Superior Concentration/Focus – Softball is a game that requires immense focus and mental concentration for short bursts of time; usually less than 5 seconds. However, if your athlete cannot summon that focus the game will inevitably punish her with mistakes or due to poor decision making. In big games or bigger stages she must keep her focus in the present moment.

5. Bounce Back from Adversity – Softball is a game of failure and, more accurately, a game of overcoming failure. For your athlete to stand out she MUST be able to have a short memory and put past mistakes behind her as QUICKLY as possible. Carrying an error in the field over to her next at bat, or a poor at bat out into the field on in the circle is a recipe for disaster. Have her see a mistake as an opportunity to learn and move one step closer to game mastery instead of the end of the world!

6. Play Fearless! – Every coach wants that player who flies around the field, afraid of nothing…always giving 110% effort, trusting her decision making and her talent. Playing fearless means NO HESITATION. Coaches would prefer an athlete make a mistake as the result of playing aggressive as opposed to playing passive, unsure, afraid of making mistakes.

7. Do the Little Things Well – See #3 again. Have your athlete take pride in her game and take good leads, backup plays properly, look for the extra base, get the signs right. It is ultimately the little intangible parts of the game that only a trained coach’s eye will notice that will determine how much your athlete stands out from the crowd. Do all of the little things well and good things will happen!

8. Execute – No matter how good your athlete is at performing the other 9 tips in this email she MUST be able to execute when her number is called. However, keep in mind that coaches watching prospects don’t expect a pitcher to strike everyone out or every hitter to go 5-5. Execution has as much to do with showing the athleticism, precision, knowledge and effort in the execution of the various game tasks/skills than simply the result itself. So get the bunt down, hit behind the runner, hit the cutoff, and throw strike one.

9. Make Adjustments – As the game of softball is dynamic, meaning full of variables always changing, any athlete that wants to stand out must learn to make numerous adjustments during the game to give herself the best odds for success. These adjustment “opportunities” are everywhere: batting, fielding, base-running, pitching. Here is the key…if your athlete DOES NOT make adjustments she will never be able to play her best. So have her look for adjustments based on the ump’s strike zone, the pitcher calling, the defensive positioning, etc. All game adjustments are easier if she follows my advice in #3 and #4.

10. Love the Game – In the end your athlete will stand out simply because everyone watching her can clearly see how much she loves playing the game. Her joy, enthusiasm, and genuine desire show up in every move she makes on the diamond. Coaches love these types of players because they are easy to coach and nearly always are willing to do whatever it takes to get better and help their team to succeed. As an athlete love, appreciate and respect “the game” and you will absolutely stand out!

Well, that’s it. Ignore these 10 tips and your athlete will have a very difficult time standing out. Follow them and coaches will be lining up to recruit her to their team/program!

Thanks for reading! –John Michael Kelly

 

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Softball Bat Selection, Should I Go Light?


Bat Selection And Weight, Rob Crews

Produced By Gary Leland

In this episode of the Fastpitch Softball Chat Show, Rob Crews is back with another great tip on bat selection, should I consider going lighter? When selecting a bat for fastpitch softball, Rob doesn’t believe in going with light bats.

For Example:

Starting out with a -10, 33″, 23 oz. softball bat and stepping up to a -10, 34″, 24 oz. bat is only a 1 oz. difference. This change is so small that you won’t be able to tell the difference. It could be a factor in you getting a hit or not. So if you wanted to go from 32″ to 34″ softball bat, you probably should.

The Science Behind It:

Bat Speed & Momentum –

Velocity (squared) Multiplied by Mass (weight) = The amount of Force your generating.

So if my bat is heavier and I swing that heavier bat faster. I’m going to generate a lot more force than someone swinging a lighter bat at a faster speed.

Don’t be afraid to step up to the larger bat, this is how you will reach your potential and get your power. We need to be able to generate our own power and Rob says “Go Heavy or Go Home.”

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Win A Three Piece Tee


This month on The Win Some Softball Stuff Show you can win a Three Piece Tee. Produced By Gary Leland

Watch the video to find out how to enter, and make sure to watch on the 25th of every month for our newest contest.

The new Three Piece Tee® trainer lays the proper foundation for younger players through muscle memory and grip training — consistently providing successful performance results as they advance in age and skill level.

At the core of every successful baseball or softball player is a foundation of strong mechanics and what makes for strong mechanics is proper balance. A properly balanced position is the first, and most important, building block for any player that wants to achieve their true potential and make it to the next level of competition.

Balance is Power

A common misconception among beginners is where speed and power originate. Bat speed and power are produced from a player’s balanced core and feet, not their arms and shoulders. Maintaining proper balance on the balls of their feet allows a player to quickly pivot their load foot towards the ball, squaring their hips to the ball. This means using one’s entire body — not just the arms and shoulders — to generate maximum hitting power.

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The Importance of Hitting Off a Tee


The Importance of Hitting Off a Tee, Rob Crews

Produced By Gary Leland

In this episode of the Fastpitch Softball Chat Show, Rob Crews covers the importance of working with a Tee for hitting practice. He recommends a good priority on Tee work in the off season, and continuing to work with a Tee throughout the pre-season and season.

3 Biggest Things:

1. Body Timing – You can work on the timing of your body before a pitch, practicing the different “landing” or “strides” of the hit.

2. Putting the Tee in different “spots” or locations around the plate where a pitch will be to practice swing placement.

3. How to create good backspin with good outward force.

When developing hitters, Rob feels people have different views on using a Tee and to continue doing what your doing if its working. But there are many of advantages to players working on their hitting and swing with a Tee. Rob believes its like a form of meditation, to visualize and see the pitch.

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Lauren Haeger Made Her Mark at Florida

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“Haeger Made Her Mark at Florida” Written By Bill Plummer

OKLAHOMA CITY – Lauren Haeger made her presence felt in 34th annual Women’s College World Series in more ways than one and because she did the Florida Gators repeated as NCAA softball champions.

The 5-11 Haeger compiled a 4-1 pitching record jn the WCWS with an eye popping 1.18 ERA and also starred on offense batting .571 with 15 total bases, six walks and six RBI.

For the year, Haeger was the third leading hitter on the team with a .348 batting average and led in homers (19) and RBI (71). As a pitcher, she compiled a 32-2 record losing only to Tennessee and Michigan. She hurled 12 shutouts and fanned 214 batters in 222.1 innings pitched. Opponents batted only .185 against her and she finished with an ERA of 1.63.

Haeger was a double-threat all the way around and head coach Tim Walton perfectly summed up Haeger’s performance.

“Lauren left her mark,” Walton said of the only player in college softball history to win at least 70 games as a pitcher (73) and hit at least 70 homers (71). “She’s one of the greatest Gators that ever played and put a uniform on.”

For her career at Florida, Haeger was 73-12 from the mound with an ERA of 1.72. She struck out 531 batters in 572.1 innings and hurled 23 shutouts. She won more games this year that she did her first two years, 31-7, as she became the stopper for the Gators and it was her time to shine in the circle as well as at-bat. Offensively, she had a career .326 batting average with 243 hits including 71 homers with 260 RBI and 388 total bases.

With Haeger graduating, don’t worry about the Gators not being a contender once again for top honors. They have two quality pitchers in Aleshia Ocasio (18-3) and Delanie Gourley, (10-2), who will anchor the pitching staff next year plus incoming freshman kelly Barnhill, rated as the No. 1 prospect in the country. Barnhill compiled a 29-5 record her senior year of high school with an ERA of 0.59 striking out 534 batters in 224 innings.

The Gators aren’t rebuilding. They are just reloading and will try for a three-peat in Oklahoma City.

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Lisa Fernandez Interviewed By Gary Leland

This is an interview I conducted with 3 time Olympic gold medalist and four-time, first-team All-American, Lisa Fernandez at the 2015 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, OK.- Produced By Gary Leland

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