When playing defense at the speed of the game we talk about quick throws around the diamond and charging the ball. We coach our defensive squad to move the ball quickly from glove to glove when turning two. However, runners reaching first base in 2.6 – 2.8 seconds still have the competitive edge. In order to rely on quickness as a part of playing Game Speed Defense, we need to address the areas of the game where we can feel its momentum.
You’re on defense and you are anticipating the play. The batter swats a hard hit ground ball down the third base line and you have a split second to react. In this scenario I’ve commonly seen a fielder misplay the ball, thrusting her glove downward at the backhand play as the ball pops out, rolling into foul territory. This type of fielder does not understand an important aspect of the game that will be the difference of having soft hands versus hard hands to the ball. Since it all happens so fast, many fielders overlook the importance of fielding the ball along its directional momentum.
There are also infrequent moments when I watch a fielder who understands momentum as natural as having common sense for the game. These moments are less frequent which makes my mind recall former pro star Jackie Pasquerella, AKA “JP.”
JP graduated from Villanova University and continued to play the hot corner for the NPF New England Riptide and NY/(NJ) Juggernaut. At times she was called “Spidey”, short for Spiderman to describe how low she would get when fielding made. The best time to feel this is during practice. After our basic throwing warm-up, infielders should take a step in to work on quick and short throws. The goal of this is to keep the ball in momentum back and forth from glove to glove. Keep the ball moving for at least ten throws under a stopwatch and work for your best time as a pair. Throwing partners will soon realize that they can work to shave a couple of seconds from the drill if they hit each other in the chest each time, and also pull the ball into their chest as they receive it. Using the glove to pull the ball in keeps the momentum of the ball moving into the next throw. Some fielders don’t notice this concept and stab their glove outward towards the ball. This causes hard hands and will either increase the risk of the ball popping out of the glove, or it will add to the time that it takes to transfer from catch to throw. Instead of receiving against the momentum of the throw, fielders with finesse know how to bring the ball in and use efficient footwork to get rid of the ball quicker.
|Lisa Iancin: Lisa Iancin “LI” competed professionally in the (NPF) for 5 seasons, gathering a national championship in 2004 with the New York/New Jersey Juggernaut and in 2006 with the New England Riptide. In 2005, Iancin was named the NPF Defensive Player of the Year. Among her college accolades at Cal are First Team AII-Pac 10 and back-to-back appearances at the Women's College World Series in 1999 and 2000. Internationally, Iancin played for Team Bussolengo, Italy in 2001. Iancin was the Assistant General Manager of the Tennessee Diamonds for the 2010 (NPF) season. To find out more about LI go to LISoftballAcademy.com|
Have A Question or Some Feedback? Click and send me a voice message.
This content is provided with a Creative Commons Share-Alike License. Feel free to use this content, so long as you give credit to Gary Leland, of Fastpitch.TV and link to www.Fastpitch.TV