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speed

Top Softball Player Qualities

Want to become a top softball player? Build on these qualities

To be successful in softball, players must do a lot of practice, maintain focus and learn continuously. It is about maintaining the right attitude about the coach, team members and loses. Though the qualities of a player may depend on the position you play in the team, there are core qualities that every player must depict to help win the game. Here are 4 main qualities that will make you become a top player and team member that you should develop.

  • Top speed: In softball, a typical play only lasts about 5 seconds or even less. Good players must be fast in order to quickly get out of batter box, steal bases and catch fly balls. It is because of this that many coaches insist that players think and train like athletes. To build on speed, players have to practice running and accelerating as fast as possible.
  • Explosive strength: Being able to develop a lot of power is very critical. As a pitcher, being powerful makes it easy to throw balls at lightning speed so that the batter can miss it. Besides, the batter needs a lot of power to hit the ball and get it outside the field out of the defensive players range. To develop a lot of power, a player must eat well and participate in a lot of training. Make sure to focus on improving the wrist, legs, hands and core muscles that deliver the power you need in the field.
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Excellent Sport with Many Health Benefits

With over 300 calories burned up during a softball game every hour, the game is an ideal platform for those who want to stay lean and also bulk up. This will mainly depend on the frequency that you play the game. One will be able to stay healthy and maintain a sharp and agile mental capacity. Research has proved that those who play softball have a better chance to perform better in their studies. In the end, playing softball has long-term health merits, plus you have a reduced chance of getting osteoporosis, plus reduce the chance of getting cancer. If you want to play softball, there are certain skills that you need as a player, which is speed, strength, power, agility, among other types of abilities.

Role of Nutrition in Softball Training

With the right kind of nutrition together with the adequate softball game exposure, you will be able to increase you overall health level as an individual. If you are a softball player, it is vital that you have the proper balance of carbohydrates, fat, and proteins in your diet. Carbohydrates will provide you with the essential energy that you muscles need during the game. However, softball does not demand much aerobically (compared to other types of sports), so one does not need to consume high quantities of carbohydrates. Protein is another great source of energy, but it is not recommended that you use it as your primary source of energy. As a player, you can rely on lean meat and other sources such as eggs, fish, and chicken, as an efficient source of protein. This is ideal since the body will be able to maintain and repair the muscles. Fats also play an important role in the health of the player. It is ideal for hormone production, protection of internal organs and so much more. The best sources of fat out there are seed and nuts, together with olive oil and canola oil. As a softball player, it is essential that you have the right kind of diet so that you reap the health benefits of playing softball.

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Softball Performance – 10 Baserunning Skills

Softball Baserunning SkillsBy Stacie Mahoe

Great baserunning can cause havoc on the field for the defense and create additional opportunities for your team on offense. While running bases seems pretty simple, there are actually a number of different aspect a great baserunner does well. Here are 10 baserunning skills you can practice:

  1. Getting out of the box
  2. Tagging up (when and how)
  3. Staying off the base on a ball hit in the air (when and how)
  4. Taking Leads (timing and technique)
  5. Picking up the ball
  6. Picking up your base coaches
  7. Sliding/Diving
  8. Advancing on passed balls/wild pitches
  9. Going back to a base
  10. 2+ bag spring (correct path)

The first thing on this list is “Getting out of the box” because it’s one of the first things you need to do well to get on base in the first place. 

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Simple Way to Increase Your Softball Speed

fastpitch softball runningBy Stacie Mahoe

One thing I am always impressed with when I watch NCAA Div I post season play is the speed of some players.  One thing I noticed this year is how many players credited things they learned from running track to really helping them up their speed for softball too.   Running track is an excellent way to get faster.  Not only because you simply practice running fast so much, but because most track coaches will also work on running technique every single day.

Learning HOW TO run more efficiently and more effectively WILL help you run faster!  It’s just like throwing or hitting – the better your technique, the better you can perform the skill.  Sprinting is no different.  Improve your running technique and you’ll improve your softball running speed.

Here are some common things softball players do incorrectly when they run:

  • Poor Knee Lift – knees get nowhere near hip level during a sprint results in shorter strides which means a player is covering less ground with each turnover of the leg
  • Heels First – when you sprint your heels are not even supposed to touch the ground!  And yet many players will run heel-toe when sprinting around the bases or sprinting to fly balls.
  • Side-to-Side Arm Action – arms swinging more east and west rather than north and south.  You are trying move forward as fast as possible and yet your arms are moving in a completely different direction!  This does not help you.  Get your arms moving more north and south.  Keep your elbows closer to your body and run “cheek to cheek” (hand positioning at the ends of your arm swing – face cheek to butt cheek and back).

Correcting these issues will help you run faster with less effort and get safe more often!

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Softball Performance Tips – Way to Improve your Speed

softball speed baserunning

By Stacie Mahoe

One simple way to improve your softball speed is to PRACTICE it when you have the chance. I know, that doesn’t really sound like a tip does it? It also sounds quite obvious doesn’t it? And yet I see many softball players missing out on opportunities to work on their speed during practice. Like a pal of mine always says, “You get faster by running fast.  You aren’t going to get faster by running slow.” In other words, you aren’t going to get faster and improve your speed if you NEVER go 100% in practice.

Most coaches I know do some kind of baserunning or sprints in practice and many times players do not take these opportunities to really, truly, practice running fast. If you’re a coach, just try this one practice – bust out a stop watch during baserunning drills and observe what happens. Chances are players are suddenly going to change their approach to the drill. They’re going to start taking it a bit more seriously instead of just going through the motions. Unfortunately, only rarely do I see players take this kind of approach without the stopwatch motivation (or some other form of motivation).

How about you? Do you really make the most of the opportunities you already have in practice to work on your speed?  Do you really run as fast as you can whenever you’re given the chance?  Or are you wasting opportunities to better yourself by giving less than your best in simple sprint/baserunning drills?

Even if your coach doesn’t set aside time specifically for “speed training,” chance are you DO have some opportunities in practice to work your speed.  Don’t waste them!

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It’s a release point, not a release line

By Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

At some point in time, we all have that math class where we learn about the differences between points and lines. While this is a bit of an over-simplification, essentially a line is made up of a long series of points.brittany-release-point

So, why the math lesson? Because it helps pitchers visualize how to get more speed and more movement on their pitches. There is a reason it’s called a release point, and not a release line. Yet many pitchers take way too long to get the ball out of their hands from the start of the release to the end.

Let’s look at the basic fastball. A short, violent release is going to propel the ball out of the hand faster than a long, slower one. In fact, with a long release there is a danger of moving past the optimum release point, where the hand goes from being behind the elbow to in front of it. The longer the ball is in your hand after that, the more likely you are to push it toward the plate. Not only will that result in a slower pitch (because once you pass the optimal point your hand is starting to decelerate), it will also be  less accurate most of the time.

On a movement pitch the same principle applies. In order to maximize movement you first need to maximize spin. But the longer it takes to release the ball, start to finish, the less spin the ball will have.

All of that should make sense, both intellectually and from practical experience. Yet it can be difficult for pitchers, especially younger ones, to get the feel of “too long” versus short. Remember, they don’t think the same way as adults. But they can understand the difference between a point and a line. (And if they can’t, you can draw it for them.)

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Performing in Softball – Speed Isn’t Everything

SLIDING CATCHBy Coach Marc

This is title of one of the threads on my discussion forum in referring to pitching.

While it’s true, speed sure helps.

In fact, what do you need to succeed on a softball field in general?

Here’s my take:

1) Great technical skills
2) Confidence
3) Power
4) Mental toughness
5) Decision-making skills
6) Speed

And you could throw in the mix some personality traits like…

– Passion
– Determination
– Competitiveness
– Etc.

These are the probably the most important elements you need to be successful on the field.

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Softball Fielding – Better Footwork for Catching More Fly Balls

fly-ball
I will never repeat it enough: softball is a game of speed and power. In particular, when playing defense, you must be able quickly accelerate in any directions from a fairly still position (defensive position) to field a ball.

In softball, how quickly you get out of your defensive stance and accelerate towards the ball makes all the difference in the world when it comes time to field the ball – it’s often the difference between a hit or an out.

Catching a fly ball hit over your head or behind you is especially difficult. You must quickly turn around, accelerate and sprint in the direction of the ball in attempt to catch it. As an example, think of a 2nd baseman trying to catch in fly ball behind the first base in foul territory.

When it comes to teaching how to catch that kind of fly ball, most softball coaches (and baseball coaches too) teach the ”drop step” or the ”pivot” technique to quickly turn around.

While it works, there is an even better: faster and much easier to learn as it is the body’s natural way of doing it. It uses the ”plyometric effect” to quickly and very efficiently overcome inertia (your body not moving) and accelerate towards the ball.

It`s call the hip turn technique. It’s very effective, much quicker than the traditional ”drop step” or ”pivot”. Every athlete I have taught this technique too has learned it quickly and was much faster at getting going!

Watch the video and apply the concept to your own game and watch yourself ”explode out of your static position”.

 

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Softball Conditioning – Flexibility Training Increases Running Speed

stretchingBy Coach Marc

If you ever thought that stretching could be important to improve your game, it’s now been confirmed!

As you know, softball is sport of speed and power. Anything you can do to increase these 2 very important physical qualities will improve your game and make you a more dominant player.

We’ve always thought that stretching was important to prevent injuries but it also improves running speed.

The results of a recent study that was looking at influence of flexibility training on running speed is now confirming it.

Sustained and regular flexibility training for the muscles around the hip and the knee joints (glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, calves, low back, etc.) increases range of motion around the hip and knee joints.

This increased range of motion improves stride length and overall running mechanics. Running speed is directly influenced by 2 factor: stride length and stride frequency.

So, if you improve either one, you’ll run faster!

You should always take a few minutes after a workout, practice or a game to stretch. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds (up to 60 seconds) at a mild point of tension. Repeat for tight muscles. Focus on the lower body muscles to increase your running speed. You should stretch at least 3 times a week to see significant results.

You have now one more reason to stretch regularly – to run faster!

Source: Caplan, N, Rogers, R, Parr, MK, and Hayes, PR. The effect of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and static stretch training on running mechanics. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Jul;23(4):1175-80.

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Usain Bolt – WOW! The Fastest Man in History…

One word to describe the first man to ever run the 100m under 9.60 second… WOW!

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