Softball // Category

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16 Jun

Mizuno softball gloves continue to grow in popularity as they are making gloves specifically for fastpitch. At this point you should know what size you are looking for. If not, return to Softball Gloves so you know what size to look for. If you see the same softball glove, it is to offer a little comparative shopping options.

In each of the “stores” listed below, you will find a description of each glove. Not surprisingly, the more expensive gloves are of higher quality in terms of construction and material. Mizuno softball gloves can run anywhere from $30 – $40 upwards to $200+. If you buy a quality glove or mitt, you will have it for a number of seasons. Make a wise choice now and the glove will become a trusted friend. By all means, find the glove that fits your intended use, be it infield, outfield, behind the plate or at first base.

Don’t forget to look at “leftover” models that are offering a big discount. There is nothing wrong with these gloves, just their shelf life was too long. Also, make sure you break them in properly to maximize their useful life.

The first store contains both fastpitch softball gloves from Amazon (where you will find many of these “leftovers” at deep discounts) and several online sports equipment stores. Except for the first page, the gloves are generally grouped by online store. If, after you page through all of the pages, you don’t find your model, use the search at the top of the section. It will scan all of Amazon’s inventory to see if it has the glove/mitt for sale. You will find both the latest gloves and some leftovers.

The second store contains a set of retail stores where you can see a cross section of softball gloves from Mizuno. If you are still deciding on which Mizuno glove you want, this will give you a good idea of what is out there. Generally, these stores show the most recent versions. If you see a glove you like, but not the size, click on the store name which will take you to their website. Here you can do a more thorough search to find your size. You should also find the same glove across several of the retailers to help you come up with best price.

If you are a coupon or deal shopper, you will now find the latest deals and coupons from our various partners. The coupons/deals will be generally storewide and not specific to Mizuno softball gloves. In addition, there is a search box that will help you locate a specific deal or coupon for what you are looking for. If a code is needed, click on the box, and it will reveal the code and take you to the store. If no code is needed, simply click on the box, and a new window will open for the store.

One more thing, if you are indifferent as to brand, go to this page for a search on all fastpitch softball gloves. If your daughter plays first base or catches, plus plays other positions, you may want to buy both the mitt and a regular fielders glove. It is illegal to use a mitt at any other position than first or catching. You may also want to check with the coach to see if the team may have a first base or catcher’s mitt if the player is just starting out. No need to invest until you are certain the player is committed to that position.



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15 Jun

Every pitch in a softball game represents a different game situation. Softball practice drills will teach your players where to be in different basic game situations.

Part of every practice should be dedicated to teaching your team where you expect player to be in a given situation. As you progress through games and you notice players seemingly confused, write down the situation and develop drills to address that situation during your next practice. Every player should be moving on every play. You want to make sure they are moving where you want them to move and that they do not have to think but simply react.

Here are six basic game situations that you can use as softball practice drills. Notice that every base is covered on every play. As you add base runners into the situation, it is a matter of teaching your players where you want them to throw the ball to get the out.

Situation 1: Ground Ball to Shortstop


When the ball is hit, the first baseman covers first base. Realizing she cannot reach the ball, the third baseman covers third. The second baseman covers second base. Your right fielder must react and back up first base should there be an errant throw. The center and left fielder move to back up short stop should the ball get through.


Situation 2: Ground Ball to Second Base

Ground Ball to Second Base
When the ball is hit, and the first baseman realizes she cannot field the ball, she covers first base. The third baseman covers third. The shortstop covers second base. Your right fielder must react and first determine if the ball will get through, if not she must back up first base should there be an errant throw. The center fielder moves toward the ball in case it gets past the second baseman and left fielder move to back up second should there be an error at first and there is a play at second.


Situation 3: Hit to Leftfield/Centerfield

Hit to Leftfield/Centerfield
When the ball is hit, the first baseman covers first base. The third baseman covers third. The second baseman covers second base. The shortstop moves out to short leftfield to be the cut off. Your second baseman aligns her between the outfielder fielding the ball and the second base bag by shouting left or right. Your right fielder lines herself up to back up a throw to second in short right field. The center and left fielder move to field the ball communicating who has it.


Situation 4: Hit to Right Field

Hit to Right Field
When the ball is hit, and the first baseman covers first base. The third baseman covers third. The shortstop covers second base. The second baseman is the cutoff moving to short right field. Your shortstop aligns her between the outfielder fielding the ball and the second base bag by shouting left or right. Your left fielder moves towards shot left field to backup an errant throw to second. The right fielder moves to field the ball while the centerfielder moves to back up the right fielder. Note that the rightfielder may have a play at first base, so the first baseman must cover.


Situation 5: Bunt Play with No Base Runners

Bunt Play with No Base Runners
When the ball is bunted, the first baseman, third baseman, catcher and pitcher move to field the ball communicating who has it. Primary is third down the third baseline and first baseman down first baseline unless directly at the pitcher or right in front of the plate where the catcher can get it easily. The second baseman covers first base. The shortstop covers second. The leftfielder covers third. She must get to third in case there is an errant throw. The right fielder moves up the right filed line to back up the throw to first. Centerfielder backs up second.


Situation 6: Bunt Play with Runner at First

Bunt Play with Runner at First
When the ball is bunted, the first baseman, third baseman, catcher and pitcher move to field the ball communicating who has it. Primary is third baseman down the third baseline and first baseman down first baseline unless directly at the pitcher or right in front of the plate where the catcher can get it easily. The second baseman covers first base. The shortstop covers second. The leftfielder covers third. She must get to third so the runner at first does not advance to third because no one is covering third base. The right fielder moves up the right filed line to back up the throw to first. The centerfielder backs up second base should there be a throw to second.


I haven’t even scratched the surface of where players should be with base runners on as this is handled on the Softball Tips page and additional bunt coverage formations covered on the bunt defense page. If you have a few situational softball practice drills you would like to add, please enter them below. Your fellow coaches will appreciate your contributions. If you would handle any of the situations above differently, please also join in below. Finally, if you have questions on these or any other softball practice drills, feel free to ask.

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What Other Coaches Have Said

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reflex drill Not rated yet
this drill is great to get coordination in tune with the players. Especially the third and first baseman. The coach stands about 10 ft away from the players. …

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15 Jun

Knowing basic first aid instructions, including CPR, is as important to being a coach as the ability to teach the game. Alongside this, they should buy a first aid kit and first aid medical supplies and have them on hand during practices and games. There are any number of common sports injuries that can occur, some of which can be quite serious. In the face of an emergency a coach needs to be prepared and know when he or she needs to call 911.

Knowing CPR is the backbone of basic first aid instructions. Alongside that it helps to know how to manage bleeding, broken bones, dress a wound and wrap injuries. An experienced coach knows the types of sports injuries that happen most frequently in their field – so they can get trained to manage those specific problems – be it a neck, head, muscle, ankle or knee injury — and also stock their first aid medical supplies accordingly. It’s worth noting that there are many excellent online first aid kits created specifically for coaches.

© K.M. Klemencic

On the less obvious side there are other types of sports risks and associated first aid that are just as important. Athletes can suffer dehydration and heat stroke, for example. A coach should be able to recognize the symptoms of both these and react quickly to remedy the situation.

So what exactly should an athletic trainer or coach have in their first aid kit? First would be a variety of bandages – knuckle, butterfly, fingertip, triage and straight come immediately to mind. Additionally gauze bandages with waterproof tape and scissors come in very handy so that when an athlete sweats, the bandage stays in place. For personal protection, make sure to carry latex glove. For injuries with pain or swelling instant hot packs or cold packs are great assets. For protecting wounds from infection, keep alcohol prep pads and antibiotic cream in stock. If you live in an area where bees thrive, bite sting relief should go into the kit too.

© K.M. Klemencic

The pitcher's hand will tell you what's coming.

Since common injuries in sports include strains and twists, keep a couple of different size ace bandages on hand. They’re not terribly expensive and many times you need more than one during play. Another good product to consider is moleskin. This protects players when they develop blisters or other types of irritation in an area covered by protective clothing.

There are certainly other items you could add to your kit, but it won’t do you much good if you don’t have basic first aid instructions. Seek out the Red Cross or another accredited organization and keep your first aid training certificate current (see below).

© K.M. Klemencic

Great outfield play will spark the team.



NOTE: The information provided above, as with everything on Fastpitch-Softball-coaching, is subject to the Disclaimer. This is not intended to be medical advice, and we suggest you consult with your physician prior to altering any course of action.



First Aid Medical Supplies

Below you will find sources for first aid kits and first aid medical supplies. If you do not find exactly what you are looking for, click on the store name to go directly to the store’s website to search more easily.


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14 Jun

This page will help complete your research across all brands of first base gloves and provide a great price for your selection. Technically, they are actually mitts, as they do not have fingers. At this point you should know what size you are looking for. If not, return to Softball Gloves so you know what size to look for. If you see the same firstbase mitt, it is to offer a little comparative shopping options. In each of the “stores” listed below, you will find a description of each mitt. Not surprisingly, the more expensive gloves are of higher quality in terms of construction and material. First base gloves can run anywhere from $50 upwards to $300+. If you are committed to playing first base, buy a more expensive glove. Look for one made of leather that will withstand the pounding over a number of seasons. The idea of the larger mitt for first base is to help “dig” the ball out of the dirt on those errand throws. At the same time, you do not want a glove that is too large for you to control, so look for one that you can control easily.

And don’t forget, if you also play the field, you will also need a regular fielding glove. It is illegal to use a first base mitt at any position in the field except first base.

The first store contains first base mitts from Amazon and several online sports equipment stores. Except for the first page, the gloves are generally grouped by online store. If, after you page through all of the pages, you don’t find your model, use the search at the top of the section. It will scan all of Amazon’s inventory to see if it has the mitt for sale. You will find both the latest gloves and some leftovers. Leftovers are a great way to get a higher quality glove at a cheaper price. In most cases, they are no different than the current year model, so take advantage of the price break.

The second store contains a set of  retail stores where you will find a cross section of first base gloves from a number of different manufacturers. If you are still deciding on which glove you want without a preference to manufacturer, this will give you a good idea of what is out there. If you see a glove you like, but not the size, click on the store name which will take you to their website. Here you can do a more thorough search to find your size. The gloves in this section are generally the latest from the various manufacturers. You should also find the same glove across several of the retailers to help you come up with best price. Please be sure that your player is committed to playing first. The first base glove, unlike a normal fielding glove, cannot be used at other positions. Fielding a ball at another position with the first base mitt will result in the batter being awarded the base.

If you are a coupon or deal shopper, you will now find the latest deals and coupons from our various partners. In addition, there is a search box that will help you locate a specific deal or coupon for what you are looking for. If a code is needed, click on the box, and it will reveal the code and take you to the store. If no code is needed, simply click on the box, and a new window will open for the store.

Shopzilla is included to do comparative shopping across a wider range of outlets. The Shopzilla section will have both a section for a sampling of the mitts available. Beneath that will be a link to Shopzilla that will return a link of all the suppliers Shopzilla has come across selling firstbase gloves.

One more thing, if you are looking specifically for a regular fielders glove, follow the link, as that search will return all softball gloves. If your daughter plays first base, plus other positions, you may want to buy both the mitt and a regular fielders glove. It is illegal to use a mitt at any other position than first. You may also want to check with the coach to see if the team may have a first base mitt if the player is just starting out. No need to invest until you are certain the player is committed to that position.



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14 Jun

High school softball, like all high school sports, can bring great acclaim, but your players must be properly prepared, not only physically, but mentally.

There is no doubt that travel softball generally is a better caliber of softball because the players generally represent the best of the best area high school teams, but the high school game gets so much more media coverage. Why? Simple … children, parents, and grandparents all identify with their high school. Local news coverage, both on the television and in print is the norm. Get the big hit, score the winning run, pitch that no hitter and you are almost certainly going to read about it in tomorrow’s sports section. State champs and end of season “all area” first teams are big honors proudly shared by the player and her parents. So, if allowed to get out of control, the pressure to perform will daze your players.

The key is to remind them about the fun aspects of the game. They may be playing as “representatives of their school,” but they are also playing for the fun of it; to be with schoolmates and do their best. Also, unlike the travel teams, which generally practice all year long, the high school teams practice sessions are generally boxed into a certain time period. This results in far less time to perfect the finer points of the game resulting in the choppiness you might see in these games. It, however, makes it no less exciting. This makes maximizing the practice time all that more important!

For freshmen going into high school who want to play high school softball, there are a few things you should know. First “optional” pre-season practices or “clinics” are really not optional. This is your chance to get the coaches to know you before the try-outs begin. Take advantage of it.

If you are a travel player, provide subtle clues, like wearing the shirt or using the team’s batting helmet. On many teams, especially at smaller schools, travel players have a spot on varsity to lose rather than having to worry about winning a spot. Why? Because it is expected that if she spent the time playing travel, it will be reflected in her play and that she will understand the finer points of the game (base running, targeted bunting, slapping, and so forth). A word of caution: If you don’t go in giving 100% and fooling around, you will lose your spot. A superior attitude is expected and demanded from the travel player because they are expected to become team leaders. The high school softball season is too short to deal with players who are not focused and committed. Most travel players get this, because of their passion for the game. But it never hurts to say it.

The softball championship celebration is underway

For players who have played mostly recreation level play, this does not preclude you from making varsity. You will just have to try harder. Show great enthusiasm; asks questions; volunteer to be first … in short get noticed for being successful. I have yet to meet a coach that didn’t love enthusiasm. So work it! Also, figure out where you weaknesses are and work to improve them. Go to the batting cage and put the time in (including working out) just like if you were a travel player. This way, you will not spend time in “optional” workouts or tryouts knocking the rust off. Also, use some of the hitting and fielding drills you find on this site to help sharpen your skills prior to the coaches seeing you.

Never think you are not good enough. Remember: If you never try, the answer is always no. So go for it! Have fun! And I’ll look for you in the papers!


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14 Jun


She’s a walker walker

cause the pitcher didn’t pitch
She’s a walker walker
running down the line.
We want a pitcher (echo)
Yeah!
We want a pitcher (echo)
NOT A BELLY ITCHER!
Uh!

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Join in and write your own page! It’s easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Softball Cheers.




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14 Jun

This page provides information across all brands of softball catchers mitts. At this point you should know what size you are looking for. If not, return to Softball Gloves so you know what size to look for. If you see the same catchers mitt, it is to offer a little comparative shopping options. In each of the “stores” listed below, you will find a description of each mitt. Not surprisingly, the more expensive gloves are of higher quality in terms of construction and material and, most importantly, help protect the palm of the catcher’s hand from the relentless pounding it takes from every pitch. A softball catchers mitt can run anywhere from $50 upwards to $200+. If you are committed to catching, buy the more expensive glove. And don’t forget, if you also play the field, you will also need a regular fielding glove. It is illegal to use a softball catchers mitt in the field.

Note that the stores below list catcher’s mitts across manufacturers. This is to supply the optimal number of mitts as you finalize your research and decide what to buy. 

Side note: Difference between a “glove” and “mitt”? A mitt has no fingers.

The first store contains catcher’s mitts from Amazon and several online sports equipment stores. Except for the first page, the gloves are generally grouped by online store. If, after you page through all of the pages, you don’t find your model, use the search at the top of the section. It will scan all of Amazon’s inventory to see if it has the mitt for sale. You will find both the latest gloves and some leftovers.

The second store contains a set of retail stores where you can see a cross section of catcher mitts from a number of different manufacturers. If you are still deciding on which glove you want without a preference to manufacturer, this will give you a good idea of what is out there. If you see a mitt you like, but not the size, click on the store name which will take you to their website. Here you can do a more thorough search to find your size. The mitts in this section are generally the latest from the various manufacturers. You should also find the same glove across several of the retailers to help you come up with best price.

If you are a coupon or deal shopper, you will now find the latest deals and coupons from our various partners. The coupons/deals will be storewide and not specific to a softball catchers mitt. In addition, there is a search box that will help you locate a specific deal or coupon for what you are looking for. If a code is needed, click on the box, and it will reveal the code and take you to the store. If no code is needed, simply click on the box, and a new window will open for the store.

Shopzilla is included to do comparative shopping across a wider range of outlets. The Shopzilla section will have both a section for a sampling of the mitts available. Beneath that will be a link to Shopzilla that will return a link of all the suppliers Shopzilla has come across selling catchers mitts.

One more thing, if you are looking specifically for a regular fielders glove, follow the link, as that search will return all softball gloves.

If you are looking for other catcher’s gear, like the helmet, shin guards, chest protector, and so forth, please go to the catcher’s gear page

If your daughter plays either catcher or first base, plus other positions, you may want to buy both the mitt and a regular fielders glove. It is illegal to use a mitt at any other position than first or behind the plate. You may also want to check with the coach to see if the team may have a catcher’s mitt if the player is just starting out. No need to invest until you are certain the player is committed to that position.




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13 Jun

Concussion in sports happen every day along with other sports head injuries. In fastpitch softball, these could occur a number of ways; from players running into each other, to being hit in the face by a bad hop or via a pitched ball, or a collision at the plate. Plate collisions and head first slides have been outlawed in softball.

My personal experience with sports related concussions came in my youngest daughter’s final season of high school softball. She was pitching and her team was ahead in the game. She singled to get to first, and upon stealing second, the shortstop swiped her under the batting helmet and drove the facemask between her lip and teeth. Bleeding profusely, she continued pitching and they won the game. Except for the three stitches she received after the game, she seemed fine. The next night, she attended a prom and came home complaining of severe headaches. The next day we took her to her doctor, her chiropractor and a sports medicine doctor. The net result was a diagnosis of “post-concussion syndrome” and a season she would not return to play. In addition, she was not permitted to take any tests until finals, almost two months later. Of all the injuries my children have sustained playing sports; this was the scariest because there is no easy way to figure out when your child is well. Broken bones can be x-rayed. Brain injuries have no such easy look.

Players running into each other in the field still occurs. In one district playoff game the right fielder and center fielder collided while chasing down a fly ball. Both called for it, and neither apparently heard the other. The resulting collision caused both players to sustain concussions, while one also suffered a black eye (two days before her prom). As both players laid in the outfield, the second baseman eventually retrieved the ball. (Yes the ball is still live). The team at the plate continued to round the bases and the runs that scored resulted in a win. A sad thing to see all the way around.

© SD Dirk

Some of these could have been avoided by softball coaches teaching about calling for the ball, and making it clear who is in charge of what plays. Even with the best coaching, players may get hit will balls or run into each other leading to a concussion and potentially post-concussion syndrome (PCS).

In simple terms, PCS is like shell shock that can last for several months after the initial injury. A player may have regular headaches, mood swings, and struggle with mental focus. Over time therapy can help an injured player, but it certainly would be better to try and avoid concussions in sports as much as possible, as well as having swift and reliable concussion evaluation systems in place.

Basically a concussion in sports occurs from a head impact. During these accidents the brain snaps backward and forward. A player may not even know they’ve actually got a concussion immediately, even if the accident resulted in unconsciousness. For this reason, athletes who incur head injuries need to be checked over several days to see if various symptoms appear. Some of the most common signs of a concussion include dizziness, persistent headache, the inability to focus, nausea, memory problems, confusion, slurred speech, light or noise sensitivity and ringing in the ears. Once diagnosed, a concussion can take as long as a month for the player’s recovery.

© SD Dirk

Completing the doubleplay takes great skill in Fastpitch Softball

One tool being used for testing the extent of a concussion in sports is the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing system (ImPACT). In the 1990s two physicians, Dr. Mark Lovell and Dr. Joseph Maroon, developed a twenty minute test for baseline, impartial concussion testing. It has now become a sports standard used for ascertaining the best type of care for PCS, tracking recovery, and determining when a player is safe to return to begin playing again.

The beauty of ImPact is that a coach, school nurse or even a personal trainer can learn how to perform the basic tests, making this system accessible in all levels of sports from high school to professional teams. The testing process measures various cognitive aspects including memory, focus, reaction times and problem solving. Once the test is completed the results go to a professional neuropsychologist or other appropriate medical professional for review.

© SD Dirk

A good firstbaseman will often times make the difference in the fastpitch game.

Treatments for sports head injuries begin with getting the harmed player out of the game. If there is any visible swelling from the impact, apply ice to that area. Pain relievers can be taken for headaches, and over the counter stomach relief for nausea. The athlete should be monitored for other, more serious symptoms like blurred vision or loss of consciousness. If that occurs, they should receive medical attention immediately.





NOTE: The information provided above, as with everything on Fastpitch-Softball-coaching, is subject to the Disclaimer. This is not intended to be medical advice, and we suggest you consult with your physician prior to altering any course of action.



More on Concussion in Sports, Recovery and Prevention

Below you will find additional information on concussion in sports as well as fielder’s masks. If you do not find exactly what you are looking for, click on the store name to go directly to the store’s website to search more easily.


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13 Jun

Batting tees, also called hitting tees, are an essential piece of softball hitting instruction. There are several drills on the hitting drills pages that show the utilization of the tee. The purpose is to help the athlete correct her swing in a controlled environment and, through repetition, perfect her swing for the game. Generally speaking, hitting tees come in two varieties as a single tee or double tee. The purpose of the double tee is to focus on the precision of the swing by requiring the athlete to hit one ball while averting the other all in a smooth single motion. Hitting tees are generally used in conjunction with the pop-up batting nets.

For your convenience, each item has the manufacturer and distributor listed so you can be sure you are getting just what you are looking for. Also, there is a good possibility that the same item may appear more than once so you can do a little comparative shopping. Check back often as we will try to adjust what is on hand based on what you tell us you are looking for. So please feel free to use the Contact Us page and tell us what’s missing. The only way to make this the best it can be is with your input.

If you are a coupon or deal shopper, you will now find the latest deals and coupons from our various partners. In addition, there is a search box that will help you locate a specific deal or coupon for what you are looking for. If a code is needed, click on the box, and it will reveal the code and take you to the store. If no code is needed, simply click on the box, and a new window will open for the store.

Not what you are looking for? Go back to the Fastpitch Softball Equipment page and try one of the other stores.


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