June 2015 archive

Hot Summer Days on the Diamond

I remember like it was yesterday the first time one of my coaches asked me help “coach” at a summer softball clinic. I was in junior high and so excited to finally be one of the girls who were instructing the little ones, giving them pointers and tips on how to improve and be a better player. Ever since then, some of my best memories as a teacher of the game have come from summer camps and clinics, when it’s hot and sunny and there’s never enough shade, but the smiles of young players who are trying so hard keep you going and going and going…

This past week, I had over 40 girls ages 7-13 come to my camps through Blue Valley Recreation here in Overland Park. We didn’t battle the dust – we battled storm clouds and muggy temperatures! But it was a great four days of time spent doing what I really love to do – teaching young girls the fundamentals of the game. There never seems to be enough time to do all the drills and teach all of the things you want to teach at camps. My goal is always to be sure that they leave with more confidence in themselves and their game and to give them the tools to improve on their own. We only get better if we do more than what is expected – I know my campers last week left ready to become better softball players – with some fun along the way!  I can’t wait to see those smiles again next summer!

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Work Hard, Play Hard and Have Fun!    Christie A.

Keeping the Focus on Form

It’s the time of year now when players, coaches and teams get into the softball groove and it’s all about league games, tournaments and long, hot days at the ballpark. But even when it seems like there isn’t enough time to practice, we cannot lose sight of working on the fundamentals of the game, especially pitchers. We have to be sure to keep the focus on form as much as possible and find just a few minutes during warm-ups, in-between games or on an off day to get back to pitching basics.

The three most important things in pitching are posture, balance and spin. What you’ll find below are 3 drills that focus on the first two – posture and balance.   These drills can be done with or without a ball – spending just a few minutes can make a big difference in reinforcing proper form.  Here are some video links to these three drills:

The Rope Drill – this drill forces pitchers to focus on driving through their power line and creating momentum through their wind-up with the correct posture. And it’s a great challenge drill as well – I love to see girls get over the rope!

The Flamingo Drill – any athletic move in any sport takes balance, including pitching. The flamingo drill is another challenge for all pitchers, especially the younger ones, to keep their weight back and stay balanced through the entire pitch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfUMkrN7hiI

The Noodle Drill – as pitchers work to stay balanced with the correct posture, inevitably they can come off the power line. This drill works on keeping the glove up, keeping it straight and bringing it down to create that power and momentum for the pitch. Grab an assistant coach, mom, dad, brother, sister or friend and go through a few reps with the noodle drill – it makes a big difference!

We’ll talk about simple spin drills in an upcoming post that can be done anywhere – in the dugout, in the car on the way to the games or just hanging out at home. No matter where we are, we always need to keep the focus on form.

Work Hard, Play Hard and Have Fun!  Christie A.