What Is The Pitch Speed Of An Average High School Pitcher? by Dr. Sherry Werner Ph’D Produced By Gary Leland
Monkey See, Monkey Do:Looking the Part of a Softball Coach Written By Keri Casas
Monkey see, monkey do. We have all heard this saying, and when we have children, we understand the saying. What we don’t tend to take into account is the impact we have as adults in the simple four-word phrase. Every action we commit, every word we say, children pay attention; they are sponges and they absorb the things we do and say and can mimic us at any given moment. The same applies in athletics.
If you do not look like you know what you are doing, you won’t get the respect that you seek from your athletes. Female athletes are extremely observant. The first things we notice about people are their outward appearance and mannerisms. If you lack athleticism, if you can’t do a drill with ease or perfection, why should you expect your athlete to perform that way? Before you demand an action, figure out if you can do it first, or at least look like you can do it. Your female athletes will not only appreciate that you can do what you teach them, but they will trust you and what you are doing.
The majority of male coaches have never played softball, but baseball. Being so, they have a tendency of thinking both sports are taught the same. Softball and baseball are worlds apart not only because they are different games, but because males and females are so different. Nine times out of ten, a baseball skill won’t be effective when performed by a female athlete. Our body strengths and mentality towards the game differ from a males; something so simple in male athletics can seem like rocket science to female athletics, and vice versa. Being so, it is best for coaches to learn softball skills, as well as a softball mentality, to better relate to their athletes.
There are many ways you can learn softball skills and drills for female athletes; you can read online, go to classes, attend coaching seminars, all of which great. The best way for you to retain all of this is to watch yourself perform the drills yourself. Think about all the things you have your athletes do at practice then do them in the mirror. This is the best way to see yourself do the drill and analyze what you are doing correctly, and what you need to fix. Once you perfect the drill, you can successfully demonstrate to your athletes. When you look like you know what you are doing, not only will your athletes respect you, but parents and other coaches alike as well. The more, well-rounded every member looks on your team, including the coach, the more respected they will be on the ball field.
Key Facts about Looking Like a Softball Coach
Know how to perform what you ask of your athletes
Take time to learn softball skills and drills
Watch yourself perform softball drills in the mirror until you can do the drill yourself, or at least look like you know what you are doing
Connecting with the Female Athlete Written By Charity Butler
Fika—(n.) coffee and dessert; (v.) the act of consuming coffee and dessert with friends.
The above explanation is pretty close to the definition of “fika” in the Swedish dictionary. At least, that is what my friends tell me. I cannot actually read it.
Anyway, this word is well-known in Sweden. It is unique that the same word is used as both a noun and a verb.
While walking through the mall, a friend may ask, “Would you like some fika?” This noun usage of the word means you would stop for coffee and dessert while you are out and about.
I have seen “Fika” signs, referring to the tangible treats, in the Skovde malls. Swedes do love their sweets and caffeine.
On the other hand, someone may call and say, “Let’s go fika.” In this case, you and your friend give this small word action. You would take the time to go get coffee and dessert. You would sit and talk about all that is happening in your lives. You would make time to enjoy each other’s company.
In most cases, fika is both a noun and a verb simultaneously. The act of genuine interest in the life of another is coupled with the actual food and drink. The focus of fika is spending quality time together, a true act of friendship.
It seems in our fast-paced American lives that we tend to neglect fika. We always say, “Oh, we should do lunch,” or “Wow, it has been forever. We should get together sometime.”
Well, I am coming to realize that “sometime” does not really exist. Unless I set a time and a day, I will never actually experience that fika… anytime at all. The idea will remain a well-intentioned concept with no action bringing it to pass.
Maybe the coffee and dessert could be a lunch of sandwiches, a day at the beach or just a phone call.
The site and menu are not important. It is the time spent investing in and loving others that makes a lasting impact on people. Many will quote the old saying, “Love is spelled T-I-M-E.”
I have come to realize, though, that time does not stand still. There are twenty-four hours in every day. The seconds tick on. The minutes pass, and the hours seem so few.
I do not have any more time. I cannot manage time, either. It is unruly and impossible to control as it marches forward minute after passing minute. What can I do?
I can manage me. I can manage my schedule and make time for whatever is important in my life. More importantly, I can develop a proper focus on people. I can learn from my Swedish friends the importance of fika.
When it comes to female athletes and the game of softball, we must realize that teams are made up of individual people. Each player carries her own perspectives, past experiences and baggage.
Females do not compartmentalize. Every area of life intricately intertwines. If girls feel disconnected or insecure in one aspect of life, this challenge affects all other areas (including sport performance).
As women, we are innately social. We need connection. As a player or as a coach, be determined to connect players on a genuine level. Value them for who they are and not only what they can do on the field.
When female players feel entirely valued, they are then free to play without fear and can perform at their best. The “do” improves, when they are loved, connected and free to be themselves. Accomplishing this connection takes patience, time and intentionality.
In its most elementary state, life is simply made up of nouns and verbs. People are nouns, and love is a verb.
“2014 WCWS Pre-Game Press Conference Part 2”
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Bad Inning? Written By Renee Ferguson
One of the most painful things to watch in softball is the dreaded bad inning when no matter what the girls do; nothing seems to go right. Missed groundballs, overthrows to first base, throwing to the wrong base and missing the sure out; my heart goes out to the teams that are struggling with this issue, as I too have been there. Many coaches have asked me, “How do I to stop the bad inning once it has already started?” and my answer is always the same, “you can’t”. Stopping the bad inning begins before it ever gets started, pressure drills, relaxation techniques and controlling the speed of the game must be first taught in practice in order for them to be effective.
When you have a team who routinely suffers from bad inning syndrome the best thing for a coach to do is step back and evaluate your practice routine. Start off with self-evaluation, how do you react in practice when mistakes start to happen? Do you yell, do you ignore or accept them? How competitive are the drills you are running? Are you just putting them in their positions and working the outs or do you create an environment where it’s fun to compete and put pressure on yourself? Are your drills designed to make their heart beat a little faster or are they pretty lackadaisical? Once your self-evaluation is complete you can begin to look at implementing the ideal drills to combat that pesky bad inning.
Pressure drills are a great way to help improve a player’s ability to perform under pressure. We have our version of money in the middle, where a circle is formed around a player who is essentially the monkey. This is a rapid fire drill to make the player focus on fielding the ball first and good footwork 2nd. Each player from the outside of the circle throws a groundball, the player in the middle fields it and throws it back to the player who threw it to her, essentially working her way around the circle twice finishing on the girl they started with. There is a little more to the drill than that but you get the idea (I hope). This drill requires each individual player to meet a certain timed goal and requires the team to meet an overall team goal. This allows girls to see that even though they may not make their time, their teammate’s can help pick them up and still allow the TEAM to ultimately succeed. This helps create trust amongst the girls that hey if I mess up I know my teammates have my back and we can still achieve our ultimate goal if we all continue to work together.
The next kind of pressure drills I use are designed to create a little bit of chaos. Ideally these drills will focus on keeping the players moving and running the entire drill and requires them to be in certain positions at precisely the right time for the drill to be effective. If they don’t do it right, we run it again and again until we get it right. If I want them to thrive in chaos instead of collapse we must practice it. An example of a drill we use is the star drill with a reverse. This drill uses the same throw down pattern that the team uses when a batter is struck out and bases are empty, the chaos comes in when I yell reverse. Immediately the girls need to change the direction of their throws and go backwards through the pattern, it makes them pay attention and it encourages a healthy level of anticipation or nervousness because they never know when I will yell reverse and it makes them talk so they can keep everyone on track with where to throw the ball.
Finally, I want to invoke a little healthy competition on my team so I encourage and design drills that make teammates compete against one another. We have used hitting competitions that pit player against player and requires them to drive the ball to a certain location on the field in a certain manner for example give me a deep fly ball to right field so the runner at third can tag and try and score. I want them to feel pressure at the plate and learn how to control their emotions because we are going to need them to be confident and in control when they are up with bases loaded and 2 outs with the winning run at third. I also use fielding drills as competition, we use a timed drill called ”protect this house” that requires girls to lay out for balls that are just out of reach, get up and throw (there is no chasing. If they miss they start over.) then move on to the next ball thrown in the same exact manner. Their time sets the standard that the rest of the members have to meet. Every time someone scores a better time we update the time on the board. When we repeat the drill later in the week or during the next week we bring the last best time out as our time to beat so we are always trying to be better than we were the last time.
If you begin utilizing these types of drills, you will be able to teach your players how to control the bad inning. As you are running these drills be sure to pay attention to your player’s body language and how they are breathing at a minimum. Are they taking shallow chest breaths (chest moves up first on inhalation) or are they taking calming breaths (belly expands on inhalation) between mistakes)? Calming breaths help lower the anxiety in the player to an acceptable level. I also encourage you to ask them what they are thinking when things start to go south, 9 out of 10 times it is what is going on between their ears that is their biggest problem. If they are thinking, “Oh no, here we go again.” Or “Gosh we suck”, it’s your job as a coach to get to them to change that thinking. Obviously your words can only do so much so modeling the behavior you wish to see is really important. Do you hang your head every time they make a mistake in the field or do you keep your head up and your body language strong? Modeling strong body language tells your girls you have faith in them to get out of the inning and not to let the bad over run all the work they just put in. In other words, be the force you want to see, you need to speak, act and look exactly how you want your players to look during those challenging innings.
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
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