Free fastpitch softball videos, fastpitch softball blogs, fastpitch softball clinics, and softball drills. More than just free fastpitch softball videos, and softball bat reviews, This is a full media site dedicated to fastpitch softball training, With a collection of softball video shows, softball podcasts, and softball blogs. If you love fastpitch softball, you are going to love Fastpitch TV.
This book is a complete compilation of the articles from issues 11-20 of the Fastpitch Magazine.
In this book you will find my favorite in depth articles, coaching advice, training, videos, and much more all devoted to fastpitch softball.
You will find featured articles from Mitch Alexander, Charity Butler, Rob Crews, Jen Croneberger, Lisa Iancin, Bryan Ingalls, Stacie Mahoe, Cat Osterman, Bill Plummer, Dalton Ruer, Carly Schonberg, Natasha Watley, Aaron Weintraub, and Sherry Werner.
This book is packed with 200 pages of softball content you won't find anywhere else!
You can get this great book for the low price of $2.99 for your Kindle or 19.95 in paperback.
If you know anyone who would be interested in reading this book please share it with them and if you enjoyed it please rate and leave a review of it.
The winter training season is often filled with drills. Practicing the correct movement patterns to develop solid muscle memory. As we build up our form we become confident in our readiness for game play in time for the Spring season. However, are we really ready to play? Although the physical reps have been taken, what have we done to prepare ourselves as a team in a mental capacity? When stepping onto the field to face a team that is quick and strong, what have we done to know how we respond to pressure?
Being athletic is only one piece of Game Speed Defense. Is your team a squad that can play ball at the unpredictable fluctuating speed of the game? Are you a reactive team or are you a proactive team? Does game time feel as though your feet are on the ground or more as though you are free falling? If your team, as a whole, can answer these questions affirmatively, then you are a team that can move at the speed of the game. On the other hand, if your team has a more passive attitude, then your eventual opponents will possess more mental toughness than you.
There is always room to grow and to be coached. However in order to know how far your team can develop, you first need to recognize the areas where your team is lacking. As a team, ask yourselves how you respond to pressure. Is pressure something that you ignore all preseason in practice until bases are loaded in the bottom of the seventh of the championship game? If so, understand that your brain is a muscle too and that mental toughness needs to be practiced in order for the mind to respond under pressure in a game.
I am a fastpitch softball trainer by trade. Training young ball players is a rewarding job. The pay off is knowing that I can be a part of a player’s gain of confidence through something as fun as hitting a ball. People say I can get very technical, breaking down quick movements like a swing into many tiny pieces so that players can develop a holistic understanding of their swing. In doing so, great swings make me happy as well as solid throws straight to the chest. However mechanics are just a piece of the game in itself. The physical components need to be there so that players know how to move on the field. After that, we need to develop the same confidence in our movements under pressure situations. The game is 7 innings of a pressure situation and some innings are more intense than others. Therefore we need to learn how to welcome pressure in games and also during practice. Feeling pressure is the moment when this game really becomes something beyond fun. Something worth practicing all off-season for, 7 innings filled with surprise.
Sometimes I sit and think about it for a second. All of my friends and colleagues that have played professional softball, understand that it was our job to welcome surprise every night that we went to work. Imagine going to a job everyday not knowing what was going to happen. For us, you could strike out or go 3 for 3. You could fall asleep on defense and let the ball play you, or you could make a diving leap to take away a base hit. You could win or you could lose. Some people don’t like being in unpredictable situations. Yet to be paid professionally to face the unpredictable at work everyday, you my as well learn to welcome the unknowing.
To become more comfortable with playing under pressure, it all starts in practice. In practice we need to move at the speed of the game and make sure we are putting our players in pressure situations once they have the physical foundation to respond. There are drills, like the Continuous Rundown Drill or the Star Throwing Dill, that put the defense under pressure to throw out runners. I often notice that my players can perform mechanically, but once I put runners on base or start a stopwatch, everything falls apart. The throws become wild and we forget to communicate as teammates. Suddenly, my defense is chasing runners around the bases with throws instead of throwing them out. I could get upset when this happens, however I know that there is no need. When this breakdown happens, I am more intrigued by the change in the small mechanics of the game. It is not like sudden grandiose occurrences are happening, like players tripping over their cleats or throws are sailing over the backstop. There are just subtle shifts happening like low overthrows from not getting into a postured throwing position. Or pulling our head out and not seeing the ball before strike three. Basically, pressure makes the basic mechanics of the game go out the window. If we look at it this way, it is possible that we can learn to manage pressure. All we are doing is the same catch and throw routine, we are just doing it quickly versus rushed. Runners on base can distract us from our basic fielding and throwing movements, in which overthrows occur. So I’m telling you, don’t let it. If you anticipate the speed of the runners on base before the pitcher goes into her wind up, they will no longer be a distraction but something that you have already thought about and planned for.
Welcome the pressure and just let it fly. Turn pressure into something that excites you. The game is not meant to be controlled as we never know where the ball is going to be hit. Therefore, anticipate the ball and react to it. Just be ready and move to it at the very first opportunity that you can. Rely on teammates to be your second pair of eyes when you need to know where to make a throw when your eyes are focused on fielding the ball.
Pressure can be something that gets in your way of executing a play if you let it. On the other hand, it is also the same ingredient for a taste of success that you could have never anticipated.
The ability to prepare to win is as important as the will to win.
Great College Hitters have a tremendous amount of mental and emotional management skills. That should go without saying. Compared to the mental side, the physical side of hitting is really a smaller part of college success. I would like to expand on just 3 of the things I feel make hitting at the college level easier.
1. Less Equals More. Shorter strides and smaller steps rule. I can pick out the better hitters in a college batting practice simply by watching the stride lengths. The hitters with the smaller strides will be a lot better with their timing and ultimately more consistent. Hitters with the bigger strides tend to be more susceptible to chasing bad pitches. This is mainly because their front foot is usually landing at the same time the commitment has to be made. This is multi-tasking and pretty impossible to manage at the speeds necessary to recognize, track, and time a ball. More accurate timing systems happen much sooner in the process. If it is absolutely necessary for a hitter to have a huge stride, it needs to be completed prior to the pitcher’s release -a feat that is more difficult to do than we think. The hitters with more raw talent can usually get away with bigger strides. Shortening stride lengths is a great way to help your 7, 8, and 9 batters to improve their consistency.
2. Keep It Under 100. You ever see a hitter hit a long home run and it seems like they barely swung? Yeah. That happens more often than you think. Swinging at 100% strength levels actually makes hitters weaker. I always preach this to my hitters, “I’d rather you be in control of 85% than to not be in control of 100%.” Balance, body control, coordination, vision, and power are far more efficient when a hitter is performing somewhere in between 85 and 90 percent strength levels.
3. Extension is Everything. So many super coaches out there put so much emphasis on the things that do not support great hand path. In fact, if the lower half of the body takes the hands in the wrong directions, there are a lot of problems that will occur that the most talented athlete cannot recover from. The body has to support hand path. It cannot do its own thing. Simply getting to the ball is contact -getting through the ball is power. I promise you if you spent more time on extension and less time in the weight room, your power numbers would increase and your injuries would decrease!
There’s a common misconception that most of us athletes that are successful, on the national team, playing professional were always good. There are younger athletes and parents alike that often say “well you were always good” or something similar. While I can’t speak for everyone one of us, I can say that was not always the case for me.
When I was 11, I had started pitching, but wouldn’t classify myself as a pitcher. Therefore, being left-handed I was a first baseman and an outfielder. I played Little League, and my coach had nominated me to try out for the All-Star team. I had been on the All Star team the season before, so I was excited to try out again. When tryouts began they informed us there were 15 spots and 16 people were trying out. Do the math, only 1 person wasn’t going to make the squad. The parents wondered if they would just add an extra alternate spot and let everyone make it. Now a days, I feel like that would be their solution. However, I did not grow up in what I deem the participation/Everyone Wins era.
Dad and I left the field, and I thought I performed well. My coach had been there, and of course shared his sentiments of being proud. I was happy and hoping I’d get another chance to wear the green jersey and another All Star hat. A few hours later, my dad got a phone call. It was my coach. I waited patiently to hear what the news was. However, the news wasn’t good. My dad hung up the phone and informed me I was the one player they cut that year. I am sure I shed some tears, maybe even ran to my room in disappointment, but I remember later talking to my dad and starting the conversation with “well this really sucks.”
At the time, my dad was contemplating moving me to travel ball. My interest in softball and pitching had grown, and he thought I could learn and develop better in that environment. We talked it over. He explained I would most likely sit the bench for a while, and I was ok with that. I played left field when they told me to. I would get chances to pitch when we were down by too much or up by enough. I took my opportunities with a smile on my face and a passion for my position. The same Little League that cut me ended up making their own travel team, and they’d pass my team and snicker about me sitting the bench.
Eventually I earned time as a starter when games mattered, and I even came in relief of our #1 and got us out of jams. I can look back now and see that I earned that.
Was I always good? No way. I was short, skinny, uncoordinated and awkward. BUT… I loved what I did. I worked hard to be better for the sake of wanting to be better, not for a college scholarship or anything external. My work ethic took over. I worked because I saw opportunity. I worked because my coaches helped me develop. I didn’t run from Little League because they had cut me. In fact, I played the fall season I had already signed up for, then left.
Too often I see athletes jump teams because they aren’t playing. They leave to find a place where they are the best. You don’t have to be the best every step of the way. You just have to be willing to work hard while you bide your time. When the time comes, you have to accept your opportunity and make the most of it.
We all fail. We all lose. Most of us get cut. How you work after these events is what creates the athletes that you see on the sports biggest stages.
Ninety-eight percent of success is in the head and the heart.