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softball training

Suspension Training For Softball

Today, I would like to talk to you about a great way to keep you in shape during the season or to work your upper back. Whether you are out on the field, in gymnasiums where you are practicing, or in facilities where you do not have access to a workroom or some weights.

Now you see, during offseason most athletes would do some sort of conditioning. It might be in a fitness facility, at home or in gym and they do a decent amount of work.

Once the season starts most conditioning goes through the window because you do not have time to play with practice since there’s so many techniques and skills to train and strength conditioning is far from our priorities.

Now you want to try to maintain your fitness level throughout the season but it is hard because you do not have access to any equipment. Coaches will do whatever they can; like do push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, planks, lunges, wall sits, and the likes. These exercises will take care of the basics. Mostly pushing exercises for the triceps, upper shoulders, and chest. Some leg exercises as much as they can and just to extend the abs a little more.

However, the one key muscle group that’s missing in any of the outdoor stuff they would do or any of the conditioning you do outside the fitness facility, is the Upper Back. Yet, the upper back is one of the most crucial body part in softball because it involves a lot of throwing.

Any time there is an overhead throwing movement, it could be in racket sports or volleyball. Anytime you do over-head movement the upper back plays a crucial role because all of the decelerator of the arms, the one that slows down your arm or all of your upper back.

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Get Better Every Damn Day

Softball-Training-Aid
 
I love reading books, especially personal development books.
 
Currently, i’m reading Brian Tracy’s Million Dollar Habits (I highly recommend it!).  It’s not so much a book about making more money but about developing winning habits to become an elite performer in life.
 
And you you know what? A lot of the principles, concepts and techniques discussed in the book would be just as good for becoming an elite athlete.
 
I’m through a few chapters. This morning i read about the Kaizen principle. It means constant improvement in Japanese.
 
It’s the idea that you seek small but constant improvement in every little area. The constant improvement and the accumulation of small gains right and left over time eventually translates into BIG gains and SIGNIFICANT improvements!
 
This is a very important concept especially for softball players already competing at a decent level and that have been training fairly seriously for many years.
 
After many years of serious training, it’s hard to make quick improvements in your game.  Instead, to make quantum leaps in performance, it’s about doing all the little things a little better and developing the daily championship habits that will make you much better over time.
 
If you’re serious about developing into the best softball player possible, you’ve got to invest in yourself and work at constantly improving your skills, your habits and your game – every damn day.
 
Here’s a small sample of things you can work on:
  • Become better at hitting the drop on the outside corner
  • Make tighter turns when rounding the bases
  • Improve your throwing speed by 1-2 mph
  • Get better jump on the bases
  • Recognize the spin on the ball faster while at the plate
  • Increase bat speed by 3-4 mph
  • Develop performance routine
  • Transition faster from catching to releasing the ball
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Softball Success Tips: Do the Hardest Thing

Finally, after 10 innings and almost 3 hours o...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Stacie Mahoe

If softball success was easy, everyone would be an all-star, but its not and, while everyone may get a trophy nowadays, not everyone is an all-star.

What’s that thing they say about success? Oh yeah, the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

Therefore, in order to achieve softball success, you must be willing to do what others are not. You must be willing to put in the work, not just when you feel like it, but all the time, day in and day out.

The “secret” to success for most people is actually not some secret formula or mysterious strategy.  It rarely has anything to do with the latest trend or training at the best facilities.  In fact the “secret” most successful people know is pretty boring and UN-glamourous.  In order to achieve “great” things, you must do the work and possess the willingness to do the hardest thing.

What hardest thing? You know, the thing you don’t particularly like doing.  The thing you would gladly skip if no one made you do it.  The thing you practically can’t stand even though you know it’s good for you and you know doing it will improve your softball performance.

You must be willing to do that thing.

So many players and coaches say they want to be successful, win big games, accumulate amazing stats, and win the biggest prize…and yet they are unwilling to do the work it takes to get to that level.  They often put off the hard stuff or dog the tough training.  They pass up the opportunity to train harder, focus better, increase intensity, or put in more time than their competition.  They might sustain full blown commitment and effort for a short period of time, but grow weary of the discipline and dedication required as the season drags on.

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Softball Tips – Practice Makes Permanent

By  Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

softballtips-practicepermanentMany of you have probably heard the expression “Practice doesn’t make perfect — it makes permanent.” Yet how often have you really thought about that in the context of your own work?

I know I see that in action all the time. Walking through a facility or along a field I will see teams diligently running drills or working on techniques that essentially have them practicing to lose. Even though they may have best of intentions.

I see it with hitting a lot. I like hitting stations as much as the next coach, but they can do as much harm as good if they’re not set up or supervised properly.

Now, if you have older players whom you’ve worked with for awhile you can probably have them work the stations without someone being with them every minute. But for younger players it often doesn’t work as well.

I will see young players putting no effort into hitting off a tee because they think it’s for babies. So they just sort of knock the ball off instead of working on elements of their swings.

Soft toss is another one that can be problematic. Players will toss arcing balls to one another, which creates all sorts of problems in the swing that will have to corrected later.

But it’s not just hitting. You can see it in throwing, when players just push or lob the ball to one another while chattering away. You see it in the way they catch or field, just going through the motions instead of working on technique. They figure as long as they get the ball, or get it to wherever it needs to go next, they’ve done their jobs. But then, when they really need the better skills, those skills aren’t there — because they haven’t developed them.

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Softball Tips – How to Practice When There’s Nowhere to Practice

indoor-softball-practice-tips

By Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

While the winter weather isn’t too bad yet, we’re reaching that point in the year where those of us in the North have to think about moving indoors. As you probably know, that creates an entirely new dilemma for practicing.

During the warmer months (and the months where it isn’t dark by 5:00 PM), you can pretty much wander out to any available ballfield and get some practice time in. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be a ballfield. Just about any old patch of grass or dirt will do in a pinch.

But once outdoors is taken out of the picture, things get a lot tougher. Sure, you can rent cage time, but that can get expensive if you’re serious about it. You can try to find an open gym, but their managers often are unhappy about a hard ball being hit, thrown or pitched in the general vicinity of others playing basketball, volleyball or other sports.

Moving indoors also takes more schedule coordination. Not only do coach/parent and player/daughter have to be available at the same time, that time has to coincide with the times a cage or gym are available.

But the good news is you don’t need to go through all of that, at least not all the time. Because there is plenty a player can do within her own home that will help her improve her skills.

For example, a pitcher can work on her motion using a rolled-up pair of socks to throw against any wall mom or dad says is ok. Or she can shadow-pitch — going through the motion without anything in her hand.

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Softball Tips – Recovery and Regeneration

By Laurel J. Freeman

softball-injury-iceIce, anyone? Ice isn’t just for cold drinks. In the past eight to 10 years, many studies have shown the benefits of ice as therapy. Here are the answers to some common ice-related questions.

What does ice do?

Ice is one of the simplest, safest, and most effective self care techniques for injury, pain, or discomfort in muscles and joints. Ice will decrease muscle spasms, pain, and inflammation to bone and soft tissue. You can use ice initially at the site of discomfort, pain, or injury. You can also apply ice in later stages for rehabilitation of injuries or chronic (long-term) problems.
During an initial injury, tissue damage can cause uncontrolled swelling. This swelling can increase the damage of the initial injury and delay the healing time. If you use ice immediately, you will reduce the amount of swelling. Ice decreases all of these: swelling, tissue damage, blood clot formation, inflammation, muscle spasms, and pain. At the same time, the ice enhances the flow of nutrients into the area, aids in the removal of metabolites (waste products), increases strength, and promotes healing. This “ice effect” is not related to age, sex, or circumference of the injured area.

Four stages in ice therapy

There are four official stages to ice. The first stage is cold, the second is burning/pricking, the third stage is aching, which can sometimes hurt worse than the pain. The fourth and most important stage is numbness. As soon as this stage is achieved, remove the ice. Time duration depends upon body weight. Twenty to thirty minutes should be the maximum time per area. If it is necessary to reapply ice, let the skin go to normal temperature or go back to the third stage of aching.

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Softball Tips – 3 Little Pigs

By Dalton Ruer

I was recently reading a very huge book and wanted to share an excerpt from this story with those of you who may not be familiar with it. It is very complicated stuff so I will interrupt the story with my own commentary so that you don’t get lost.

3littlepigssoftball

Once there was a mother pig who had three little pigs. She did not have enough to keep them, so she sent them out to seek their fortunes. The first little pig had not gone far when he met a man with a bundle of straw. The little pig said to him, “Please, man, give me that straw to build me a house.” This the man did, and soon the little pig had built a house with it. Just after the house was built, along came a wolf. He knocked at the door of the little pig’s house and called, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in!” But the little pig answered, “No, no! Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!” Then the wolf said, “I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in!” So he huffed and he puffed until he blew the house in, and ate up that little pig.

This is great stuff. Seriously! Where were this little pigs brothers or friends when he chose to build his house out of straw? Not a single person in his life that would step up and say “Look. I know you are in a hurry to be on your own, but a house of straw just isn’t going to last long.” More importantly though is what kind of people are you surrounding yourself with? Are you building a network of support for yourself that will tell you the truth and challenge you to work harder, or is your life only full of friends who will tell you what you want to hear? As a team are you rushing to get into games/tournaments or are you taking the proper time to build a solid foundation? When you lose (repeatedly) do you just chalk it up to luck, or do you figure out what is really the core problem(s) and take the time to seek new training in order to overcome the problems for good?

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Softball Hitting Mechanics Aren’t Enough

By Stacie Mahoe

Every week (if not almost every day), we receive mail from customers, visitors, and newsletter subscribers. Today I want to take a moment to share one of these inquiries with you.

This question (a good one) came from a softball dad.

From the Softball Performance Mail Bag…

softballvision

Coach, it seems to me that a lot of emphasis is put on batting mechanics, which I think is good. It is important, but I do not hear or see anyone talking about eye hand coordination. The way I see it, a player can have the best mechanics, but if she can’t put the bat where the ball is consistently, I think a lot of time and money is not being spent wisely. I would like know what you think about this. Is there something I’m missing? I can speak from personal experience that using the little soft rubber 1 inch balls used with a thin bat like a “lightning Rod” seems to work pretty good for my daughter. Thanks

Actually, you’re not missing anything. You’re right. A softball hitter can have the best swing mechanics in the world, but if she can’t make contact with the ball, it doesn’t mean much.

I’m sure you’ve seen those hitters with less than perfect hitting mechanics make things happen simply because they are great at putting the bat on the ball time and time again.

That said, it’s important to work BOTH swing mechanics and softball VISION if you want to reach your peak softball hitting performance level. This softball dad shared a great idea on how to do that with soft 1″ rubber balls. 

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Softball Coaching Tips – In Season Rest

softballrainouts

By Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

Where I live the rain has been brutal this Spring season. I believe it’s been that way in other parts of the country as well.

What that’s meant has been cancellation of some games that might be considered “friendlies” and rescheduling of others that have to be played — such as conference games. Of course, most high school teams try to fit in as many games as they can already, so when you have to start rescheduling the schedule can get pretty jam-packed.

For many teams, that now means playing single games Monday-Friday, plus double headers on Saturday. That’s an awful lot of softball — especially for the #1 pitcher on a team without a solid #2.

Of course, as the rain continues even the rescheduled games get postponed again. And that’s the time that smart coaches will take the gift and let their players get a little recovery time from the nagging aches and pains that come with the softball season.

I’m not talking about cancelling practice. Far from it. You have to keep going to stay sharp. (If you haven’t been sharp, a little extra practice time is the opportunity to hit the reset button and try to get there.) But you also have to take a practical look at things.

Let’s say that #1 pitcher has been throwing a lot of inning over the past couple of weeks. Even pitchers with good mechanics get tired or sore after awhile — it’s called a repetitive motion injury. If that’s happening, the smart thing to do is give her the day off from pitching. Let her rest the arm, and maybe visit the trainer for a little treatment. If her legs are fine, have her hop on the bike or treadmill, or do a pitcher-specific workout. Anything that gives the arm a break.

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Softball Tips – Give ‘Em a Rest

By Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

softball-muscles

The latest issue of Fastpitch Delivery, the official newspaper of the NFCA, contains an article that covers a position statement from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) regarding the increase in injuries in youth sports. Essentially, they attribute it to the face that it seems athletes these days never get a break. They are pretty much required to play their sport — in this case fastpitch softball — year ’round.

As has been mentioned on the Discuss Fastpitch Forum before, the NATA focuses particularly on over-use and repetitive use injuries. Running and throwing are called out particularly — both overhand and pitching for the latter.

It is a fact that in our society we place a high premium on winning. As a result, more and more teams seem to go non-stop. The end of one season blends into the beginning of the next. In fact, in the battle for players some teams are now holding their tryouts BEFORE Nationals are completed. That’s just wrong on so many levels.

While adults like to win, and often pin their self-worth on leading their 12 year old daughters’ teams to victory in whatever tournament they’re in that weekend, it does begin to take a toll on the players. It is critically important for players to be able to rest and recover after a long season — both physically and mentally. Yet that rest and recovery time often takes a back seat to the need to get ready for next year.

It’s tough not to do it, too. You know everyone else is, and you’re afraid they’re gaining an edge by doing it. So you drag your team out to the field and get going right away. Then when arm or leg trouble starts up it becomes an even bigger problem.

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