The Youth Softball Coaching Clinic Blog is your free online source for youth softball and little league softball coaching tips and drills. Our articles and daily post covers all aspects of coaching girls softball and girls softball teams.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Youth Softball Coaching Tips

One of your responsibilities as a coach is to give your players all the tools they need to play the game to the best of their ability.

The game of softball requires mental and physical agility, and youth softball coaching tips can help you impart needed tips to your players to give them the wherewithal to maximize their abilities.

Here are a few youth softball coaching tips that will improve your team's play:

•Swing a Weighted Bat - One of the helpful youth softball coaching tips concerns itself with the feel of the bat in the hands of your players. In competitive fast pitch competition, it is helpful if your players can swing their softball bats through the hitting zone with speed. In order to do this, they must be able to handle the bat's weight. One of the top youth softball coaching tips is to advise your players to swing a bat heavier than the one they use in a game in preparation for their time at bat. In this way, their bat will feel lighter, and they will be able to handle it better, and swing it more quickly through the hitting zone.

•Test Your Players - One of the more beneficial youth softball coaching tips has to do with imparting the rules of the game of softball. It stands to reason that the better your players understand the rules of softball, the better they will be able to make the plays that will maximize their abilities. You can impart this knowledge by holding skill sessions after practice or when adverse weather has prevented your normal weather routine. You can teach this by asking about game situations as you practice such as "if there is a pop fly, are you going to start running to second base?" As a coach, teaching your team the fundamentals of the game involves teaching your team the rules of the game.

•Teaching Bunting - One of the most needed youth softball coaching tips is to teach your players the art and science of bunting the ball, and having fun while you do it. The fundamentals of the bunt are simple: Batters move their top hand up near the trademark, and the object is to "catch the ball with the bat." The batter adjusts the bat to push the softball pitch up the first base line or the thirds base line. You can introduce fun into the exercise by rewarding any player who bunts 5 consecutive pitches into fair ground. In this way, your players are practicing an important, but long-overlooked part of the game while having fun doing it.

•Don't Forget the Fun - As a coach, teaching youth softball can be difficult. You should always consider the age of your players and consequently their attention spans and rigor in learning the basics. Often the most effective ways to coach about softball rules or teach technique mean adding a dimension of fun into the softball drills you practice. Turn drills into games, or make drills more fun by showing them how the pros do it such as this interactive youth softball drill library.

Trevor Sumner

By Trevor Sumner who works for, a youth softball community dedicated to providing parents coaches and athletes the tools and information to celebrate the love of the game. Weplay has one of the most comprehensive softball drill libraries in its active softball community.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Softball Tips on 3 Common Mistakes Softball Players Make

Youth Softball Coaching Tips

By Marc Dagenais

Every player has a bad habit that prevents her from taking her game to the next level. These bad habits include playing the game with poor mechanics, and not caring about how some things that she does affect her game.

But these habits can be corrected, of course. If you see any of the common mistakes that softball players make in the list below, I'll show you how to get it right once and for all. That way, you'll be able to perform better than ever before.

Mistake #1: Poor Diet

Almost everyone is prone to making this mistake. However, the effects of poor diet on the body are more apparent in an athlete. That's because athletes have more stringent requirements when it comes to the food that they eat.

One of the mistakes that players commit when it comes to diet is that they're not eating enough. Elite athletes typically have higher calorie requirements than normal people. That's because they need more fuel to perform better and higher content of nutrients that will help them recover from stress and fatigue.

Another one is eating unhealthy food. Softball players are often dragged into temptation into doing this, especially during road games where healthy food might be hard to find. So, what players do is stuff themselves with fatty foods like fries, burgers and hotdogs.

Mistake #2: Not Performing Warm-Ups, Cool Downs

Warming up and cooling down are part of every athlete's life. However, there are times when you get too excited to play the game, or too stoked after winning a game that you miss doing these things.

When you miss warming up or cooling down, it could take a toll on your body. Failing to warm-up could cause injuries such as stretched muscles and sprain. Meanwhile, not cooling down after a game could end up with sore muscles the following day.

So, make sure you spend around 10-15 minutes each for warm-ups and cool downs before and after a game or training.

Mistake #3: Not Mentally Preparing for the Game

Softball is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. Mentally tough players are those who strike fear in their opponents' hearts simply by the way they walk on the field. Also, being mentally tough means you're not afraid to step on the field at every game.

So, how do you become mentally prepared to play the game? One thing is by imagining yourself playing the game even before you step on the field. Imagine yourself on the batter's box, eye-to-eye with the pitcher.

Also, it would help if you take an aggressive and confident stance once you're on the field. It's called putting on your game face. Having an air of confidence tells your opponents that you're not someone they want to mess with.

Now if you really want to be a good softball player, the ones I showed you above are some common mistakes you have to start avoiding from now on.

So, always remember to eat right, give yourself enough time for warm ups and cool downs, and finally, mentally prepare yourself before every game. It's a winning combination that always works.

Apply these softball tips so you wont get the same mistakes other softball players make.

Marc Dagenais is a Softball Peak Performance Coach that helps softball players turn their athletic talent into extraordinary performances and help coaches get more out of their players, turn their struggling team around or get an edge over their opponents. Visit us to sign-up to get our FREE softball pitching tips!

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

7 Ways To Play Better Softball Today

By Sandy Mcsmithhomer

How might one eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time! Actually, it is the same way you should go about undertaking any giant task. Taken in its entirety, it can look very intimidating. Break it down into its elements, into small bite-sized tasks, and the whole project looks possible. The steps can be larger or the steps can be smaller. However, they each must be easy enough and "do-able". When you have done all the small-task steps, you will look back and find out that now you have the entire task conquered. It's exactly the same way with how to have a solid defense. Here then is how you can approach the elephantine task of fielding a softball, in seven simple yet actionable steps.

Step 1. Always be alert.. This means that you need to be ready at all times. Take note of who the batter is and their position in the lineup. Obviously for 3rd and 4th place hitters you may want to take step back and when you reach the bottom of the lineup you may want to come in. Of course this depends on the overall skill level of the team you are playing... Neglecting this step will most likely lead to poor results.

Step 2. Know how many outs there are. This can be extremely important because if the ball is hit to you, you need to know the best place to throw the ball ).

Step 3. Make sure you keep your glove down. Which means that have to bend your knees. Additionally, it means that keep your head down and eye on the ball at the same time.

Step 4. Never turn your head. This will require some confidence in yourself...

Step 5. Be vocal. One of the important points to note here is the more informed the entire defense is, the smarter it will play. This is always crucial because knowing the game situation is half the battle..

Step 6. Do not be scared to take smart risks when the potential reward merits it..

Step 7. Remember the proper positioning when getting ready to cut the ball. Now you are nearly there! Don't forget, having a strong defense is very possible. Its just a matter of remember some key elements and remaining consistent..

When you take the steps explained above, the large elephant-problem you had will be "eaten up" one step at a time, "devoured" and sorted out. Follow these steps and you'll have success. Once you complete your project, reward yourself for a job well done and remember that anything is possible! Congratulations on your own victory! You looked the task in the eye and won, one small step at a time!

Sandy Mcsmithhomer is an avid sports fan and father of three children. He specializes in helping clients select the best softball bats and gloves to meet their needs. He also enjoys reading and aviation. Read his softball bat reviews to help you locate the best equipment for your team today.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Baseball Practice Planning Tips and Sample Baseball Practice Schedule

Baseball Practice Planning Tips and Sample Baseball Practice Schedule
By guest author: k Dixon

The word is PLAN

There are many four letter words that baseball coaches know, but few are as important as the word for today, PLAN. There are very few volunteer jobs more challenging, time-consuming or rewarding than being a coach in your local league. There are many four letter words used by coaches that I can not use here. Here I want to discuss the 4 four-letter words that can and will determine the amount of success a coach has during the coming season. The four words are Goal, Plan, Work and Time. In part one I discussed the important of the word Goal and the importance of setting a goal to drive a team toward success.

The Baseball Coaches four letter word of today is P-L-A-N:

Planning is one of the most important responsibilities of a head baseball coach is planning. Planning is organization. Planning is delegation of duties and responsibilities to your assistants. You must plan every practice. You must plan your season. You must have a game plan going into every game. Planning practice after you start is a sign of bad coaching. If the team has practice at 3:00 PM, and the head coach turns to the assistant coaches as the team is warming up, and says, Well, guys what do you think we need to do today? A team with a coach like this is destined to have a difficult year. The coach is not organized and does not have the dedication to do his coaching homework at home before he arrive at the field. Have a plan and a schedule before you arrive at the field. The practice plan should be in the can! Planning as you go will waste valuable practice time that will never be recovered. It is extremely important to have a daily practice schedule written down. You must decide on each practice activity for that day, the assigned amount of time to be spent doing each drill or activity, and the objective or reason for doing the activity. A written practice schedule is a must! You practice plan must be detailed, easy to read, and easy to understand. Your practice plan begins with the first minute of practice and ends with the last minute. Every minute is scheduled. Include breaks and transition times from one activity to the next. You should write out the practice plan, run copies, and give each coach a copy. The schedule will have time slots, each coach drills and duties, and location of each activity.

A sample practice plan:

3:00 to 3:12 Team Stretch and Warm-up

3:12 to 3:27 PFP (Pitching Fielding Practice)

3:30 to 3:45 Outfield Drill Work & Infielder Drill Work

3:45 to 4:00 Team Defense, Infield, and Outfield Cuts

4:00 to 4:45 Team Batting Practice

(4 Groups, 4 Station, 12 Minutes and Rotate to the next station

-Station 1 On-field Batting Practice -Station 2 Batting Cage Work -Station 3 Bunt Station -Station 4 Tee & Soft-toss

4:45 to 4:55 Break

4:55 to 5:15 21 Outs Drill

5:15 to 5:25 Base running Drills/Conditioning

Coaching Note:

6 Pitchers will throw after practice bullpens. List Names. The greatest difficulty in having a practice schedule is staying on time. You must have a set rule that when drill time is up, the drill ends. If the drill was performed so bad that it needs to be done again, it will be done over after practice. Always have a coaches meeting after each practice to discuss what the staff has to say about the day practice. You also need to ask what they think the next practice schedule should cover. Listen to your assistants and consider what they say when you make out your next practice plan. Another part of having a plan is the delegating of responsibilities. You can not do it all. Recruit some good volunteer coaches to help you.

Good coaches always delegate task and duties to assistant coaches. Let certain coaches work with certain positions. One of the crucial assignments on every team is the position of pitching coach. You must have a coach that oversees pitching practice, bullpen work, and that calls the pitches during the game. Another important role is that of the team hitting coach. The hitting coach is often the offensive coordinator and 3rd base coach. This coach oversees all batting drills, batting practice and base running practice. Organize you pregame routine. Plan it, write it down, and make sure every coach know it by heart. Have a set time when you start stretching and warming up. Have a set time that you take pregame defensive infield and outfield warm-up. a set time that players may have 3 minutes to go to the restroom if they need to. Have a set time that you have a team huddle. Plan what you are going to say during this team moment. Having a plan is having a purpose, a time, and a place for everything and everyone.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fastpitch Softball Tips - Building Your Endurance

Fastpitch Softball Tips - Building Your Endurance
By guest author: Marc Dagenais

When you think about sports and endurance, the sports that will come to mind might include marathon and triathlon. But somehow, you never ever associate softball with sports that require players to have a good amount of endurance.

That's perfectly understandable because when you look at it, it seems that the only job of players are to stand up, run occasionally, and throw or hit the ball.

But endurance also plays an important role on softball. That's especially the case if we're talking about long stretches of games or games under the heat of the sun.

If you're a softball player wanting to increase your endurance on the field, here are some tips I have for you:

1. Condition your body. Building up your endurance takes time. If you don't live an active lifestyle, it may take several weeks of intense training before you can build up your endurance. Jogging, interval training and other cardio exercises will help you do that.

This part of your training could be boring if you do it alone. So try working out with your team or with a partner.

2. Keep your body well-hydrated. Dehydration and heat are the enemies of any type of athlete. When it's hot, your body tends to sweat more to keep your body cool. While it's good, it's downside is that you lose important fluids in your body in the process.

And don't just rely on thirst to tell you already need to drink fluids. Once you feel thirsty, it's already a signal from your body that its supply of fluids is already severely depleted. So don't wait until you get thirsty. Take sips of water or sports before and during the game to keep your fluid levels normal.

3. Get enough rest. It's easy to succumb to all-night partying when you're young because you feel that you never seem to run out of energy. But the lack of rest can lead to a deterioration in your performance. When you lack sleep, you deprive your body of the time to recover from the day's work and to repair or replace any damaged cells in your body. So keep your partying to a minimum, or avoid it altogether if you can do that.

4. Eat healthy. You might not like eating healthy, but it sure can do wonders to your body and your endurance. That's because eating healthy means you get enough supply of the necessary nutrients that your body needs to function well. And when you're healthy, you'll be able to stay longer in the game even if it stretches to several innings or you're playing under the heat of the sun.

So in fastpitch softball, if you want to last longer than your teammates and the competition during long or exceptionally hot games, you must work on building your endurance.

Again, here's how you do it: condition your body, keep your body well-hydrated, get enough rest and eat healthy. Try them out today and see how they positively affect your game.

Marc Dagneais is Softball Peak Performance Coach that helps softball players turn their athletic talent into extraordinary performances and help coaches get more out of their players, turn their struggling team around or get an edge over their opponents. Visit us to access our directory of FREE softball drills!

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Fastpitch Softball - Shortstop Positioning

Fastpitch Softball - Shortstop Positioning
By guest author: Jim Moyer

Situational positioning of the Shortstop may be the most common coaching oversight in Fastpitch Softball. My guess would be 95% of the teams put the shortstop in the middle of 2nd and 3rd and never move her. Okay, that's great with no runners on base, but what about all the other situations.

Runner on 1st Base

In 10U & 12U it's almost a given the runner is going to steal. In 14U and up, the odds are still pretty strong that at some point the runner will try to advance, either on a straight steal or on a bobbled pitch. We KNOW this is going to happen a very high percentage of the time.

So why is your shortstop still in the hole? How many times have you seen the shortstop have to cut the corner to get to the throw in time, and therefore be two or three feet in front of 2B and unable to make a tag? Aaaaggghhh!!! I hate that! And there is no reason for it to happen.

When there is a runner on 1st base, move your shortstop about 5 feet towards 2B. More if need be. Depending on your age group, the odds are probably between 50% up to 95% that there will be a play at 2B. On the other hand, the odds of the ball being hit to SS are much lower. You might even get lucky and have a ball hit up the middle which the SS can field and tag 2B or even turn a double play.

Lead Runner on 2nd Base

If you use SS to cover 3B on steals, the same philosophy applies. Move her about 5 feet from the hole towards 3B. It's a very tough play for SS to cover 3B on steals. She has to get their, find the base, catch the ball, and make a tag. How many throws to 3B have you seen wind up in the outfield because the runner and SS got tangled up at 3B? Too many. Take the precision timing out of the play by getting her in a better position before the play starts.

By placing her in the optimal position before the pitch is thrown, you also avoid her breaking to the bag while the pitch is on the way. Huh? I'm sure you have seen shortstops break to the base as soon as the pitch is thrown, and then have a ball hit right where she should have been standing. Since she is breaking on the pitch, her momentum increases the size of the hole immensely. Whereas, if she is positioned correctly before the pitch, she can hold her position longer before making her break to cover the steal.

The Hardest Play for a Shortstop Runner on 1st and the batter shows bunt

I will cover this play based on age in more detail at a later date, but for now lets get the basics down. This play requires extreme discipline by the shortstop. First, you need to understand that if the player does bunt the out should be made at 1B. Don't even think about going to 2B to get the lead runner! So if the ball is bunted where does your shortstop go? Third base. Otherwise, the base is uncovered and the runner on 1B can make the turn at second and keep going to third. Oh, how you are going to hate that when it happens to you. So if the ball is bunted, make the out at one, be looking to throw across the field to third, and cover 3B.

What if the batter misses the bunt or fake bunts and takes the pitch? Here is where the extreme discipline comes in. Shortstop has to cover 2B on the steal. Therefore, the correct positioning is the same as protecting against a straight steal. Before the pitch, move her approximately 5 feet towards 2B. This puts her in position to cover 2B on a steal and should the ball be bunted successfully, she should have ample time to beat the runner coming from 1B to 3B.

Make a mental note to yourself, after each batter look at your shortstops positioning. This is a chess game. Think about what you expect your opponent to do in this given situation, and position your shortstop appropriately.

Jim Moyer is the author of Having coached over 600 youth fastpitch softball games, Jim decided to put his knowledge online to allow parent/coaches to draw on his unique experience.

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