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THROWING:

 

  1. Throwing Mechanics
  • Grip: three fingers on seam, thumb on seam on opposite side of ball ("C" or backwards "C")
  • Ball away from head (player should look at hand and see three fingers)
  • Back elbow level or slightly higher than shoulder
  • 90 degree elbow angle
  • Point front elbow or glove towards target (Point glove-side shoulder)
  • Feet are approximately shoulder-width apart

 

  1. Throwing Movements
  • FIRST MOVEMENT: glove and front elbow "get out of the way" to open shoulders
  • SECOND MOVEMENT: shoulders continue to rotate along with hips as throwing arm moves towards target (elbow should stay level or above shoulder)
  • THIRD MOVEMENT:  throwing hand should follow through all the way down/across body (slight bend in waist) to opposite thigh (shoulders should have rotated all the way: player starts with glove-side shoulder pointing to target and ends with throwing-side shoulder points to target) and throwing-side toe should drag towards target

 

  1. Throwing Progression
  1. Wrist Snap
  2. Dart Throw
  3. One Knee (slap opposite thigh)
  4. One Knee ( get elbow and glove out of the way)
  5. Rock & Fire (rotating shoulders)
  6. Regular Throws (work on slapping opposite thigh OR getting elbow and glove out of the way)
  7. Long Throws: Footwork Transition with Pivot Step (righty: "right, left, throw" / lefty: "left, right, throw")
  8. EXTRAS: front step ("open"), pull back with pivot step ("close"), throwing position ("open"); toe drag

 

DRILL:  4 CORNERS

DRILL:  TARGET PRACTICE

 

 

FIELDING:

 

1.  3 R's

  • Relax: chill/hang out
  • Ready: two steps forward into a sumo wrestler (feet wide / hands out to sides)
  • React: GET THE BALL!! (alligator mouth and bring up to belly button)

 

2.  Footwork Transition into Throw (pivot step is FORWARD)

 

3.  Backhands:  turn hips, point toes, get back knee low/let ball come to you--DO NOT PUSH THROUGH IT!

 

4.  Forehands:  turn hips, point toes, get back knee low

 

DRILL:  In-Air Reaction Drill (face, backhand, forehand)

DRILL:  On-Ground Reaction Drill (feet, backhand, forehand)

DRILL: Touchdown Drill

 

HITTING:

 

1.  Stance

  • TV Face
  • Feet Width
  • Toes Forward
  • Knees Inside Feet
  • Weight at 50-50
  • Slight Lean Forward
  • Slight Bend in Knees
  • Knob to Catcher
  • Barrel at 45 Degrees
  • Shoulders Downhill
  • Back Elbow at 45 - 90 Degrees
  • Front Elbow Pointing Towards Plate

 

2.  Load & Stride, Follow Through

  • Load:  Shift weight (hips) away from pitcher (front foot may come off the ground)
  • Stride: Shift weight (hips) towards pitcher (front foot comes down or STRIDE) / weight should be back to 50-50
    • NOTE:  KEEP HANDS & BACK ELBOW STILL DURING LOAD & STRIDE
    • DRILL: FAKE SOFT TOSS

 

3.  Rotation

  • Rotation: turn hips, drive back knee and hip together towards pitcher
  • Front knee should straighten just before contact
  • Back foot should pivot so that toes point to the pitcher
  • Back heel should point towards sky
  • Power L  at Contact:  elbow of top hand is at a 90 degree angle at contact (palm up-palm down: hands are always higher than ball)
    •  (DRILL: FREEZE AT CONTACT)
  • Shoulder V at Extension: elbows are extended towards pitcher 
    • (DRILL: POINT TO THE PITCHER)

 

4.  Follow Through

 

MECHANICS:  "flip" top hand to get bat on plane with the ball sooner

MECHANICS:  "push" through ball with top hand

 

HITTING SOFTBALL TALK:

"Green Until Red":  assume the pitch is a strike (green means go), then react (red means stop) if it is a ball

 

**Always have players take 10 - 15 warm-up swings before starting drills.

 

 

 

COACHING BASICS & TEACHING IDEAS:

 

  • Dynamic Warm-ups (high knees, butt kicks, etc) at the BEGINNING OF PRACTICE (gets the body warmed up and ready to go): 7 - 10 minutes

 

  • Static Stretching (hold stretch and count to 15) at the END OF PRACTICE (helps with flexibility with injury prevention): 7 - 10 minutes

 

  • "Take your brain and put it in your ______."

 

  • Always explain how to do the movement correctly; not what not to do. 
    • (Example:  DON'T SAY: don't drop your hand = INSTEAD SAY: keep hands high/level)

 

  • At the end of practice:  ask the players what they learned & give movement homework.
    • "Take your brain and put it in your ______."

 

  • Age Group Time Limits for Drills: MAXIMUM of 15 - 20 minutes per drill

 

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ESTABLISH RULES:

  • No walking (happy feet/hustle)
  • When a coach/instructor is talking, players listen
  • Players listen with eyes and ears
  • High fives / fist bumps / etc

 

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COACH SHOULD ALWAY BE PREPARED:

  • Progressive Sessions (don't move on until they understand and can do the drill)
  • Key Objectives for each lesson/practice
  • Use cones/dots to show where players stand, start, etc.
  • Equipment Ready
  • Drills Ready

 

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MODALITY TRAINING:

How do players learn best?

1. hearing

2. seeing

3. feeling (doing)

Do all three!

 

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Explain Stations:

  • Focus of Station
  • Brain in the body part
  • reason of station/movement
  • number of reps
  • strength level (ex: 50%, 90%, etc)
  • target variations (pitching/hitting/throwing)