"The Greatest Gold-Mine Of Softball Tips, Tricks, and Advice!"

Don’t Do This in the On-Deck Circle

IMG_0059Right now, it’s the best time of the year to watch softball on TV. Tons of game on ESPN.

These young ladies are a pleasure to watch and they’re great role models for the younger generation. Every parent and coach should encourage them to model after these elite ball players.

However, they’re humans. In rare instances, they aren’t always role models. In a game I was watching recently, the coach was making a change (meeting the home plate ump) and you could see the on-deck preparation of the upcoming batter.

I was stunned at how BAD it was. She was going through the motion, wasn’t focused at all. Every swing she was doing was nothing like her regular swing. Overall, a textbook example of what NOT to do in the on-deck circle.

What is the purpose of the on-deck circle? To get ready.

Just like your shouldn’t half assed a warm-up, you shouldn’t half assed your preparation for an at-bat.

In the on-deck circle, especially seconds before you have to step up to the plate, make each swing count. You shouldn’t be swinging just for the sake of swinging.

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by Marc Dagenais

Softball Injuries – Don’t live with Pain

Softball Injuries - Don't live with painI was once young but recently my body has been telling me i’m slowly getting older!!

For years, whatever i did, I never got hurt (or barely). However, in the fall, my back started to hurt a bit which was followed rapidly by my right knee. Now that these issues are taken care of, my right achilles tendon is starting to act up.

These are caused by a various factors: overuse, lower body tightness (lack of flexibility), repetitive stress from running and training, some muscle imbalances, postural deficiencies, etc.

Bottom line, I am now like a used car. Things break down. I have to take even better care of myself.

Whenever something hurt (meaning painful), i always tell my athletes or their parents to seek care quickly if it still hurts after a few days.

Pain isn’t normal. It’s the alarm system of your body. It’s your body telling you it needs your attention right now. Ignore it and the problem will just get worse.

I walked the talk. I did what I preach. In each case, I consulted with qualified therapists and i was able to get rid of the pain fairly rapidly.

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by Marc Dagenais

Listening to Music

Softball player listening to musicYesterday, i also happened to watch a game on TV. During the broadcast, they showed another team that was getting ready to start their warm-up.

You could many players with a headset on listening to music. Listening to music has long been used by the best athletes in the world to get mentally ready to perform at their best.

Use music. It is a powerful motivator and will energize you. It also helps you stay focus by blocking outside distractions.

Players – use music to get yourself mentally ready for games and practices.

Parents – encourage your daugther to listen to her favorite music on the way to the game or practice and don’t be offended if she puts headset on. It will actually help her. Or listen to her music in the car!

Coaches – you should encourage this practice among your players to get in the zone before the game starts. You should also allow team music during team warm-ups. This will have a positive effect on their mindset.

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by Marc Dagenais

Softball Pitchers Need Constant Maintenance and Tune-Up

bigstock-Softball-Pitcher-in-middle-of--26211452The season is around the corner and I want to point out something important.

You see, our bodies, just like cars when they’re brand new, they’re in perfect condition. However, with use over time, they wear and tear.

This is even worse for athletes involved in sports that require excessive use of muscle and joints. After years of abuse their body breaks down. Think of former football players or MLB catchers with major knee problems in their early 40’s.

Pitchers are at MAJOR RISK of suffering of such excess use. Their body will tear and wear faster than other softball players.

Pitchers are like Nascar rides – they constantly need maintenance and tune-ups to perform at their best AND prevent them of breaking down given the extreme conditions in which they peform.

A pitcher’s body is no different. It’s a high-performance machine that constantly need to be maintained and tune-up. If not, their performance will suffer and they WILL breakdown. It’s not if, but when.

And this maintenance has to be done almost year round, even during the season. Of course, you will not workout as much in-season but you want to maintain the machine during the season.

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by Marc Dagenais

Thinking of Hiring a Trainer? Make Sure They Have That Credential!

Are you thinking of hiring a local trainer to improve your game and get you fitter, stronger, and faster for softball? If so, be careful.

While many trainers can do a decent job of getting people in shape and mean well, most of them lack experience and knowledge for working with serious athletes. All you get are generic programs that are neither suited for athletes and neither effective for softball players.

If you are going to hire a local trainer, make sure to look for someone who has extensive experience working with athletes and who is certified with  the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCS) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).

Holding the CSCS certification is a pre-requisite is you want to work as strength and conditioning coach in any educational institution. Trainers working with college teams and athletes hold this certification.


Trainers for Athletes

Unlike other fitness certifications, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCSs) are professionals who apply scientific knowledge to train athletes for the primary goal of improving athletic performance, not the average client at the local fitness club.

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by Marc Dagenais

A New Hitting Training Aid You Want to Know About

First, I have to make a confession: “Hi, my name is Marc and I like stuff.”

Just like most grown men, I especially like tech stuff. And as a softball coach, I like testing training aids. Granted, some of them can be pretty bad! However, you always have a few good ones!

That’s why I’m excited to tell you about a brand hitting training aid i discovered a few weeks ago.

In 20 years of coaching, i’ve seen a lot of training aids and have tested dozens of them. I was also an early adopter of video analysis technology (Dartfish, Rightview Pro, Coach’s Eye Mobile App, etc.). Needless to say, I’m not easily excited by new stuff anymore.

This new hitting training aid is an exception to this. Truth is, I really like it. It’s just great. Really.

zepp-softballIt’s call ZEPP.

It’s a little nifty tool you hook to your bat, take a swing and instantly a 3D display of your swing shows on your mobile device. No more needs for cameras, laptops, or wires to do an in-depth swing analysis.

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by Marc Dagenais

How to do a Head First Slide in Softball Quickly and Easily

Sliding is one of the most important aspects of baserunning in fastpitch softball. Any player or team highly skilled at sliding will be much more effective on the bases and score more runs. Five slides are commonly taught:

  • Bent-Leg slide
  • Pop-up slide (variation of bent-leg)
  • Hook slide
  • Back door slide
  • Head first slide

Many players and coaches think that the head first slide is  hard to master and only the “naturals” can do it easily. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Coach Dalton opened my eyes a few years ago and showed me that head first sliding can be taught to any player. He can literally teach any player how to slide head first  in a matter of minutes!

Coach Dalton is a baserunning and short-game specialist. He’s he author of what many believe to be the best baserunning and short-game material on the market: The 5-DVD Series Winning the Short Game. You can get it at Get Dirty Fastpitch.

Here’s a a truly excellent 3-part by Coach Dalton on how to learn to perform a head first slide in softball.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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by Marc Dagenais

Need MORE Piching POP?

A few extra MPH makes you more dominant!

A few extra MPH makes you more dominant!

Are you ready for Christmas? I’m certainly not. Guess what? I’m guy and i am sometimes at last minute to buy my Xmas gift!  Oh well, at least, I’m assuming it! LOL

Today, I’m working out of a nice little coffee shop in a trendy part of town. I was talking to my friend trainer Barry Lovelace on Facebook and we were talking about how popular his Pitchers’ POP training program is.

It’s his best-selling program.

I have no doubt why it is immensely popular with pitchers, parents of pitchers and pitching instructors, it works!

So, even though we did a promo a couple weeks ago, he thought it would be a good idea to offer you an early christmas gift ! And I fully agree.

Here’s OUR early Christmas gift for you:

1) Pitchers’ POP Training at 25% OFF – save quite a few $$$ !


2) Amazing Free Bonus –  a hard copy DVD of Core Strong 13 – Barry’s other best-selling core training program for athletes!

With these two combined, you’re going to pitch faster and have more explosive power!

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by Marc Dagenais

Case Study – How She Added 2 MPH to Her Fastball

Wow, I love great news like that. I had to write you about it because It’s a great lesson to any

young pitcher out there.

Booom!This morning, I spoke to the dad of a young 14 years old lady who I’ve known for a couple of years now.
She’s been pitching for 3 years and go to a pitching instructor every couple of weeks to tweak and perfect her mechanics.

However, working her butt off in January, she was able to increase her average speed from 54 mph to a consistent 56 mph (we’re talking average speed, not a one-time top speed).
That’s pretty sweet!!

How did she do it?

Well, two things:

1) She worked her butt off.

2) She used Barry Lovelace’s Pitchers POP Training

I recommended her this program at the beginning of January after talking to her dad.

This program is focusing on softball pitching-specific exercises and emphasizes a lot of core training.

In a nutshell, this program improved her pitching speed by:

– Strengthening all of her pitching muscles
– Develop more explosive power throughout her body
– Helping her body recruit more fast-twitch muscle fibers
– Optimizing sequential muscle recruitment (i.e. teaching her body how to better use all of her muscles)

That’s how she was able to gain an average of 2 mph!

And the thing is… she’s tiny at barely 5’3 and 100 and something.

If she can do it, so can you.

If you want to create more explosive power and improve your pitching velocity, get your own copy of Pitchers POP training at:

Pitchers POP Training

I fully expect her to add several Ks to her stats over the summer as a result of her improved speed.
Coach Marc

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by Marc Dagenais

It’s Never Just One Thing

Guest post by Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

I’ve written on this topic in fastpitch softball before, but with what’s been happening in both the MLB playoffs, college football and the NFL the last few weeks it bears repeating.

How many times have you seen a game come down to the last play only to watch the official blow the call? In softball it could be an obvious ball being called a strike, or not seeing a foot come off the bag early on a force play, or a runner being called out when the catcher obviously misses the tag.

Whatever the play, inevitably there is all sorts of consternation, wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth by the losing side. Coaches, parents and sometimes even players whine and scream that they were “jobbed” by the umpire, or that the umpire cost them the game.

While it’s convenient to think so, and it certainly helps deflect blame, the truth is unless that play is the ONLY play of the game, it’s never one play that costs you the game.

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by Ken Krause

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