Saturday, 30 June 2012

How to Improve Your Bat Speed in Fastpitch Softball

There's little doubt there are men reading this who are either macho, muscle bound jocks, or beer bellied want to be athletes, who will scoff at the idea a player, most likely female, needs to know how to increase their bat speed for fastpitch softball.

All I can say is that just shows their ignorance of the sport. Obviously, they don't realize that female fastpitch hurlers, such as Jenny Finch, have struck major league batters out in pitching exhibitions. They don't have a clue that a softball pitcher can throw a rise, drop and curve ball, as well as a screaming fastball which rival any baseball pitcher when pitching distance is factored in.

So we won't bother addressing issues with these types of people, let's address methods of increasing our bat speed through the hitting zone. In actuality producing bat speed for softball hitters differs very little for the same desired goal in baseball.

Physical strength, like it or not, is the initial step in increasing our bat speed through the hitting zone. The Core of the body, the legs, hips, fingers and arms are the muscles of the body directly utilized to create the explosive energy required to swing the bat. Weak core strength equals a slow bat.

Therefore, the initial building block to increasing bat speed is increasing core body strength, of which the legs are first. Squats and lunges are old fashioned, yet still the undisputed best and quickest method to increase leg strength. The squats can be performed with or without weights. Should you decide to use weights, reps are more important than the amount of weight lifted, as reps builds endurance as well as muscle mass.

Lunges are an excellent method for not only increasing leg strength, but hip strength as well, which is imperative to being able to quickly open the body and create the explosive speed required to effectively hit the ball hard.

The fingers are the next body part we strengthen. No, I did not say hands, I said fingers. The hands essentially consists of two parts, the fingers and the palms. Palms have no strength, they are only there to affect holding an object, while the fingers squeeze the object. Squeezing a tennis or racquetball will increase the finger strength and there are balls designed for specifically squeezing which will also work.

Now that we have strengthened our core body, let's look at some drills you can perform which will also help increase bat speed as well as hitting in general.

Balance is a huge factor in maintaining body control which is essential to a good quick bat swing.

Here's a very simple drill for training hitters to not over stride. A rule of thumb is the hitter's stride should not exceed the length of his bat. Have two players working together, each with the same length bat.

The hitter takes a stride and swing as if he were hitting a pitch. He stops before his follow through. The second player lays his bat down between the hitters feet. If the stride is

Friday, 29 June 2012

The Social Opportunities Provided By Mixed Netball

ByClare C Heasly

During this age of technology the idea of socializing has taken on new views as a lot of individuals turn to the online environment. While having the power to communicate with individuals across the world is extremely attractive, it often limits the prospective of social interaction when seeking a more local base. For an individual who is seeking social interaction on a more local field or for a group of individuals trying to participate with others in a highly energetic and fun activity, there are real opportunities after you seek to take advantage of mixed netball. The game can easily be described as one of the most well-liked activities found in Australia and immensely encourages interaction outside of the technological realm.

For the person, this opportunity of netball is an unimaginable opportunity to get to know new folks in an environment where social interaction is greatly supported. Joining a team that frequently participates in this sport will allow you to interact with people on an everyday basis and lay the foundation to develop friendship as well as social connections. The sport of mixed netball consists of small teams that are in continuous motion and continuous interaction in the pursuit of accomplishing one goal. This focus typically helps to break down the awkwardness that could exist with meeting new individuals and instantly helps to begin the process of building friendship.

While there are various advantages to the game of netball for the individual trying to enter a more local social network, there are just as many opportunities out there to a group seeking interaction outside of conventional outlets. Whether you are looking to join the team as people or create a team on your own, the experiences found with this game permit you to interact with others on a daily basis.

As an added benefit to the social interaction, you will also discover new opportunities to enhance your health as you participate in the energetic atmosphere generated by this game. Through the utilization of mixed netball, you can find new avenues of entertainment as well as you begin to build relationships with other people and social groups.

Whereas the age of technology has gone to great lengths to improving the opportunity of communication, it has even helped in separating people as they rely on technological communication over verbal interaction. When you're looking to use a social avenue so as to create relationships or enhance an existing group, look to the opportunities that are created possible after you participate in netball. This upbeat and entertaining sport attracts the interest of every individual, no matter skill level and allows for constant interaction with recent friends and new individuals.

To find your best location to take advantage of this mixed netball opportunity, head to http://www.melbournenetball.com

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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Softball Stats Software For Little League

Looking for the best software for little league players for your softball team. Have you ever experienced the feeling that you are just overwhelmed with all the statistics that you need to track in order to be able to get the stats for every single player on the team?

Great uses for Softball Stat Software

No more papers, everything can be done on your computerOrganization of all the data in one placeCombining reports from the whole entire softball seasonConverting all your statistics into a pdf so you can put on your website

Those are the main reasons why people use sports software tracking to get the statistics of the game. While there is many different reason you might need the software you have to look at all the features that you believe fits all of you needs.

The worst thing you can do is buy the cheapest software that they have to track the stats to realize that you are going to need to buy a new software because the one you bought it really not that good. With the purchase of the two you are spending more money than if you buy the software that you really believe will track all the stats that you want.

Stats can be used from the games of practice. One of the best things about stat software is that you can see what you have tracked and what your softball team needs to improve on in their game. This will be very beneficial to the performance of your team. If you track all that statistics separately then you will have to spend a lot of man hours combining stats instead of working on practices for you little league softball team.

Here is more information on softball stat software and the best way to track sports stats.

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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Learning To Run the Bases in Softball

is every bit as important as in baseball, but because lead offs are not allowed, base running strategy is much different. At 60' base paths vs. 90' in baseball, a smart runner can be every bit as effective as a fast runner, if not more so.

Tactics for running from home to 1st base is quite similar to baseball, as far as running hard through the base, never slow as you approach the base, and veering to the right after hitting the bag, as an overthrow will be to the right side of the runner's view.

The same tactic for an extra base hit, of swinging out towards the dugout, hitting the inside of the base and taking a straight line to second base, is identical to baseball.

Once on first base, the goal of advancing is identical to baseball, but the tactics utilized are totally different, as leadoffs are not allowed in softball. There are two methods of getting a good leadoff and jump on the ball to advance to second base.

The first thing to remember is the runner can not leave the base until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand, so timing is critical. This applies to every base, not just first base.

The first method is to place your left foot on the back half of the base, your right arm leading towards second base as your body is cocked towards the pitcher. As the pitcher releases the ball, push off the base with your left leg, take three steps forward, always facing and looking at the ball, hop, hop and stop, always being prepared to advance to second on a ground ball or passed ball, or to get quickly back to first base.

The second method is to place your right leg against the front of the base leading with your left arm. Take three steps, hop, hop and stop. Either one of these methods are fine, unless there's a particular reason for using one or the other, it's a matter of personal choice.

To lead off of second base you use one of the two methods described for first base, but the path you'll choose to third base will determine where you'll take your lead to.

If you're looking at a situation where it is imperative you reach third base as quickly as possible, such as in a sacrifice bunt situation, you will take your 3 step, hop, hop, stop lead in a direct line to third base. The old "shortest distance between two objects is a straight line" rule.

However, if you're in a normal situation of scoring being your ultimate goal, you will take your normal lead off, except you will not go in a straight line to third, but rather veer outwards toward left field. This will allow you to approach third base, on a hit, in a manner in which you can " Cut " the base by hitting the inside corner of the base with your foot, and project a straight line to home plate.

Leading off third base, again uses the identical sprinter's start. The runner will take their three step, hop, hop, stop lead, however when they stop their lead, it is critical the runner's shoulders are square to the infield, as they must be able to quickly return to third base. Should their shoulders be square with the catcher, they most likely will be thrown out by a good catcher, because they won't be able to turn their body around and return to third before the ball arrives.

There is another distinct difference between softball and baseball lead offs at third base. The initial lead off for both runners is taken in foul territory, a ball hitting either runner in fair territory is out, but where the baseball player returns to third in foul territory a softball runner returns in fair territory.

The reason for this is the difference of where the third baseman normally positions themselves. In baseball, the third baseman normally plays behind the base, so returning in fair territory would have the runner returning into the tag.

The third baseman in softball normally plays in front of the base, so by returning in fair territory the runner would obstruct the catcher's throw.

Jim Bain - Former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth. Visit his exciting info packed website: http://www.Learn-Youth-Baseball-Coaching.com

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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Cheap Softball Bats - Tips to Help You Find the Best Deals

ByJack Griffith

With the baseball and softball seasons right around the corner, many players are looking for cheap softball bats and equipment.

Whether you're looking for practice bats or a tournament special, no one wants to pay more than they have to. Keep reading to find some suggestions for where to find cheap softball bats for your player or team.

Cheap Softball Bats Aren't Always Cheap

Of course, you can always start your search online. Trusted names like Miken, Easton, Rawlings, Wilson, DeMarini and more can be found via the internet.

However, you'll want to use caution when buying online. You may find a great price, but if the bat doesn't fit you, or doesn't fit your child, then maybe that great deal wasn't so great after all.

Some retailers are pretty good about returns, but it can be a real hassle to return a bat. You have to package it up again, take it to the post office or local ground delivery office. It's a lot of hassle that many people just don't get to. Then that cheap softball bat find isn't so cheap.

Worse, you're stuck with a piece of equipment that's going to sit in your closet taking up valuable space, until a few years from now it goes on your garage sale table for $1.

Why Not Try Your Local Sporting Goods Store First?

A good idea is to visit your local sporting goods store. You may not find cheap softball bats, but you do have an advantage locally that you won't find online.

You can try out several bats! See what you like the best, and what fits you or your child best.

And sometimes a local retailer will surprise you with special sales, resulting in cheap softball bats or other softball equipment.

Wooden Bats Versus Aluminum Bats

Did you know that Major League Baseball allows only wooden bats? If you have major league aspirations, then you'll want to use a wooden bat.

Wooden bats, however, are heavier and denser. They will not hit a ball as far, and require a lot more arm and wrist strength.

For this reason, most softball players like aluminum bats. These come in a wide variety of weights and lengths, and you'll be sure to find the one that meets your needs.

How to Fit a Bat Properly

Any bat will not do. You want to take into consideration the length and weight of the bat.

Set the bat tip on the ground. Let your arms hang down at your side. You want the top of the bat to reach about your wrist.

For children, this can vary depending upon the size of the child. For example, a 10 year old child will most likely need a bat that is in the neighborhood of 28 - 29 inches long, although if he is unusually tall or short, this will vary.

In addition, you'll want to look at cheap softball bats since youngsters tend to outgrow them.

Next is the weight of the bat. Take a gentle practice swing. Can you (or your child) swing it comfortably, or do you feel strain on your wrists? If so, try a lighter bat.

Bear in mind that a heavier bat has more power but if you're putting stress on your wrists to make a swing, you won't be hitting home runs. Instead you'll probably need a wrist splint!

A lighter bat means more speed, and thus more hitting power. A lighter bat also means better control, which can allow the player to hit the ball harder and farther.

Want to Avoid Sporting Goods Store Prices?

Okay, you've chosen a bat, now what?

Don't want to pay sporting goods store prices? Still looking for cheap softball bats? Why not take note of the bat you like and do a little comparison shopping online?

Many times you can find things online at much reduced prices. Do some browsing online. Enter your softball bat make and model number in the search engine and see what you can find.

Often times online retailers will offer better prices than the local stores along with additional discounts like free shipping, clearance prices, and even one-of-a-kind discounts. Some players have been able to find their chosen equipment at significant savings online.

Before you buy, search for a coupon. Many retailers have coupons available online, both for internet purchases and local buys. These coupons can often save as much as 25 - 50 percent!

With a little research and ingenuity, you can find cheap softball bats that will suit your players perfectly.

Jack loves family and home, and enjoys sharing his experiences with others. He has been writing for more than 25 years about topics that he finds interesting. To see more of his material, please go to Softball Sales

Monday, 25 June 2012

4 Outfield Drills For Softball

ByDennis McCurley

Playing softball can be a lot of fun. Winning at softball makes playing fun. One of the best ways to win a softball game is to make sure you score more runs than the other team. Yes this makes perfect sense but to accomplish this requires that your outfielders know exactly what to do in almost any situation.

There is only one way to ensure that your outfielders produce in a winning manner. This one way is to practice. There is an old saying that says, "practice makes perfect", but I totally disagree with that statement. I prefer to use one of my own, "perfect practice makes perfect". For you see if you practice but do things wrongly then when these things occur in a game you are more than likely to do the same thing wrong. Do your best to practice as perfectly as you can as you begin these four drills for outfielders in softball.

The first thing that needs to be practiced by any outfielder is the act of catching a fly ball. Yes this is an understatement but please bear with me. To be able to catch a fly ball the first thing that must be done is the outfielder must see the ball in the air. However, before he/she see the ball in the air it is imperative that your outfielder picks the ball up coming off the bat. Being able to to this means that the outfielder will be able to quickly determine where the ball is going and then have a good idea as to the best path to take to get to it.

I am sure you will agree that there is more to catching a fly ball than having it fall into the glove. Another type of hit ball that can be very difficult on any outfielder is the line drive. Here the ball is usually no more than ten feet off of the ground and usually is moving at a high rate of speed. Again being able to see the ball come off of the bat is essential to being able to catch the ball for the needed out. As a quick reaction that is usually required to get into position to catch a line drive picking up the ball as soon as possible is the key.

The next area that needs to be discussed is the ball that is a grounder that makes it way through the infield or is hit over the infield and then begin to roll along the ground. Here it is very important for the outfielder to get in front of the ball. If the ball is traveling straight at the player it is easier to get into the correct fielding position to make the play. Now then, if the ball is not moving directly at the outfielder he/she will have to run it down. With this type of play the fielder will have to be able to bend at the waist and knees to be low enough to pick up the ball before it rolls beneath the glove.

The last drill that needs to be completed is throwing the ball back to the infield. Here arm strength is not being questioned but baseball knowledge is. If no runner is on base and a ball is hit to the outfield that is not caught for an out the ball must be returned to the infield as soon as possible. It is important to never throw behind a runner. So if the batter takes a wide turn at first base do not throw to first. If you do this then the runner will be able to advance into scoring position by moving to second. If there is a runner on second and the outfielder has a strong arm then it is smart to try to make a plate at the plate. However, if a strong arm is not there then allow the run to score and do all you can to hold the batter to only a single.

If your outfielders can master these four drills then you are one step closer to limiting the number of runs your oppositions scores. Getting into position to make a play, whether the ball is hit into the air or own the ground, and knowing the correct base to throw the ball to is a very important part of the game. The only sure fire way to make this happen each and every time is to do your best to develop a mind set of perfect practice makes perfect. Once this is done and taken to heart you should be able to win more than you lose.

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Sunday, 24 June 2012

How to Strengthen Your Throw From the Outfield in Softball

Although the ball is larger and the bases are closer together, arm strength in playing softball is no less important than in playing baseball. Ironically, because everything involved with a softball field is smaller than the regular baseball field, arm strength for quickness is possibly of greater importance.

These four exercises will help build the muscle mass required to increase strength in the primary throwing muscles. This is in no way a total strength conditioning program, as the lower body, legs, also play a pivotal role in the overall process.

Arm Circles

To perform this exercise, stand with feet shoulder width apart, raise both arms to shoulder level height, begin rotating your arms forward in small circles for 15 seconds, then reverse your circles for 15 seconds. Drop your arms to your side and shake it out.

Perform 10 reps of arm circles daily, increasing your time duration 5 seconds daily until you reach maximum endurance, as with all exercises properly performed, the will let you know maximum performance.

This exercise will increase flexibility, balance and stamina and endurance of the rotator cuff muscles.

Exercise, Resistance or Surgical Bands

Any one of the above training aids will suffice for this exercise.

Attach the band to a stationary object, door, install a hook or whatever, as long as it's attached at least a foot above, and preferably higher, than your height.

Grasping the unattached end of the band, come to your plant position, left foot forward if right handed, right foot forward for lefties, your arm will be at shoulder height in the L position, hand close to ear.

From this position, using your arm and shoulders, pull the band forward as if you were completing your pitching motion, finishing with your hand at your opposite hip.

Jobe Exercise

This exercised is named after Frank Jobe, Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Team Physician, and was originally created as a rehab exercise from an arm injury, but Nolan Ryan began using it as a regular strength exercise, and as they say, the rest is history.

To perform this exercise, stand feet shoulder width apart, hold a 1 - 3 Lb. weight in each hand, which are at your side. Slowly raise your arms straight out sideways, until your arms are at shoulder level, then slowly lower them back to your side.

Perform 3 sets of 10 reps each. As you gain strength you can either increase the number of reps you perform, or increase the amounts of the weight, but Do Not Exceed 5 Lb weights as it then begins to stress instead of strengthen the muscles.

Long Toss Exercise

Just as the name indicates, it involves playing catch and throwing the baseball farther distances as your strength increases. Begin this exercise throwing

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Youth Softball Bats

ByNicole Roberts

Just like every other piece of equipment, come in a number of varieties. There are different lengths, weights, and materials used, depending on your league. The size of bat you need will also be dependent on your strength. It is important that you choose the right bat so that you do not break the rules, and so you can have the best hitting power possible.

Softball bats may vary slightly whether you are playing the slow pitch or fast pitch version. They are the same in that they both prefer a bat length of 34 inches. The standard barrel size of the bats are also the same for both types of the game, at 2

Friday, 22 June 2012

Does a High Tech Fastpitch Softball Bat Make a Very Big Difference for the Team?

ByShophia Narra

When it comes to buying the right fastpitch softball bat for your daughter, there are many variables and price-points to consider. The low-end softball bats can be quite cheap by comparison to the higher end models, and it's hard to know what really makes the difference. Many parents when face with the decision of which bat to buy and how much to pay consider buying the cheaper bat, and if the daughter decides she loves the sport then they will invest in a better bat later on. This line of thought is understandable, but it's not the best way to approach the decision.

A high end bat, such as the Anderson RocketTech, Miken Icon, Easton Stealth, DeMarini CF4, Worth Mayhem, and Louisville Slugger Catalyst can cost anywhere from $175 to $300, where as a low-end bat can be had for around $20. But, the higher end bats to make such a dramatic change in scoring potential. Because of this, the decision to buy a cheaper bat until the player loves the sport may actually determine whether or not they actually do. Perhaps if she had had the high tech bat from the beginning she could have bit more line drives, actually gotten on base and made some home runs. This success at the plate will determine how much she loves the game.

Another common mistake parents make when buying their daughter a bat is to buy a bigger one than she currently needs, thinking that she'll grow into it and can use it for more seasons. Perhaps, yes, down the road she will grow into the bat. But the risk you run is turning her off from the sport because she can't manage her bat, can't score as well as she'd like, and then she'll never have the chance to grow into it because she won't still be playing. Id the bat you buy is too heavy she'll be an ineffective hitter and you will have defeated your whole point of investing in a quality bat. It's best to just get her the size she needs right now, and foster her growth so she really loves the sport.

These bats are not cheap, and it does seem like a huge amount of money to pay for sports equipment. But if you are serious, and your daughter is serious, then she will be most satisfied if she's scoring runs on a winning team. Yes, of course it does. If the other parents on the team are complaining it's too much money, talk with them and see if they would consider contributing $20 or more to a good quality team bat. This way all the players have access to a great bat, with a good sweet spot and a log of ping, one that will help them hit to the outfield. It's better the girls all share a premium bat that might be a little too long or slightly too heavy rather than get discourage swinging a dud of a cheap bat that fits just right.

High end fastpitch softball bats at West Coast. Anderson fastpitch bats, DeMarini fastpitch bats, Easton, Miken, Louisville Slugger, and more. Free shipping on fastpitch bats from West Coast.

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Thursday, 21 June 2012

Softball Bat Review

ByZoltan Szucs

This is a review of a 26oz Worth Resmondo "World Series Edition (WSE)" Titan #759/800.

The criteria used in this review will be based on 8 categories; price, pop, distance, feel, sound, durability, looks, and sweetspot. This bat was brand new in wrapper and used at an indoor training facility due to cold weather. I will start the review with the only quantitative category and that is price. When it comes to price I don't have a problem with paying more for a piece of equipment if it is going to outperform others of a lesser price. The Ressy WSE retails at $299 pretty steep for your average player. I got the one being reviewed for $250 after buying in on ten of them with other guys around the U.S. So a $50 rebate is a pretty good deal as they say a penny saved is a penny earned.

When it comes to looks I could think of only one word when I pulled this stick out of the box and that was BEAUTIFUL. From the black to gray faded grip, to the white end cap and matte black finish the WSE provides a unique combination of intimidation and sexiness. I wasn't sure if I should just hang it on the wall and admire it or see how this bad boy really performed, I chose the latter. From first swing I was in shock of how hot this stick was.

When it comes to sound the first cut sounded like a shotgun exploding, the sound of this bat straight out of wrapper is unmatched by anything I have ever heard before. During the session I put about 100 swings on the bat and the crack of the ball off the bat progressively got louder and more forceful, it was music to my ears. I think pop and distance go hand in hand so I will put those together and since I was hitting indoors I can't get a true feeling of the distance. The pop on the WSE is amazing from swing one and just keeps getting better and better. Grounders and line-drives were missiles leaving the infield with incredible exit speeds and the ones I really got a hold of I would say would easily leave a 300 foot field. Wish I could have been outdoors to get a true distance but honestly I would say a masher would have no problem dropping 350 foot bombs consistently.

The sweetspot on the WSE is HUGEEEEEE covering the whole barrel of the bat and when you hit it dead on the ball just bounces off of it with a trampoline like effect. If you can't hit the sweetspot on this thing please choose another sport. The one ounce endload in the WSE makes the feel of this bat amazing and swinging through the zone effortless. The amount of speed you can get on your swing with the WSE is insane, bombs away. The only thing about this bat that worries me is durability. There have been many instances where people say that their WSE's have broke with less than 500 swings on it. After 100 swings my WSE has a small sand rattle to it which is normal for Worth bats and absolutely no webbing which is probably due to the matte finish. Only time will tell how mine will hold up but if it lasts 800 or more swings I will be thrilled.

Overall I am very impressed with the WSE and proud to say that I own one. I would almost give it 10's across the board. If price is a non issue go out and get this bat you are at a serious disadvantage if you don't have one!!

Overall Grading

Price: 7
Pop: 10
Distance: 10
Feel: 10
Sound: 10
Durability: 8
Looks: 10
Sweetspot: 10

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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Hitting Drills For Fastpitch Softball Players

Hitting drills can be done by softball players effectively without having to waste time waiting around for busy coaches. Its is also important what type of bats are being used by the athlete's. Aluminum versus Composite.

Aluminum fastpitch bats and composite fastpitch bats have their pros and cons. Because fastpitch softball requires great bat speed and reaction time selecting the proper bat can mean the difference between striking out, laying down a bunt, getting a base hit or even hitting a home run.

Composite bats offer more advantages than aluminum bats these days, but cost more and lack durability. Composite bats also require attention and care to prevent damage.

Composite Bat Speed: Composite bats are easier to swing and can be more accurately controlled.
Aluminum Bat Speed: Aluminum bats are generally heavier than composite bats and less evenly balanced.
Composite Performance: Composite bats peak in performance once they have been properly broken in. A broken-in composite bat will outperform most aluminum bats.
Aluminum Performance: Aluminum bats maintain a steady performance throughout the life of the bat.
Composite Durability: Composite bats are fragile and batters must be conscious of weather conditions and proper use.
Aluminum Durability: Aluminum bats are very durable and require little attention.
Composite Cost: Composite bats vary greatly in cost, depending on materials used.
Aluminum Cost: Aluminum bats are less expensive than composite bats and do not require as much technology to produce.

With a type of bat in mind, now you can start gather hitting drills for your players. Some aspects of hitting to focus on could include Building The Swing, Visual Preparation and Game Adjustments. There are many types of drills to focus on the simple mechanics of hitting. Some use a hitting Tee, some will use wiffle balls and even the Soft Toss Drill where a ball is tossed in front of the hitter in line with the big toe allowing the hitter to focus on their technique instead of reading a pitch coming straight at them.

If you're looking to improve your bat speed or looking to increase your bat strength make sure you choose a bat that best fits your personal preference. Take some time to choose your bat. Take the time to select your hitting drills and get yourself set up for the drills that are focusing on the specific mechanics you are looking to improve and get to work! May all your swings come true. Have a great year!!

Highly effective hitting. How do you get the most out of your drills so your not wasting anyone's time. What ques do you use, what equipment do you use and what drills do you use. These are common questions coaches across the world ask themselves everyday. If your players don't hit the ball they don't score, if they don't score, they can't put point's on the board. If you're not putting points of the board your not going to win ball games. Hitting has to be done effectively with confidence.
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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Softball Pitching - 4 Steps To Great Mechanics

ByBecky Wittenburg

Because softball pitching requires one fluid motion, it is difficult to coach it in terms of fundamentals. However, pitchers need to understand the proper mechanics in order to develop their pitching skills. If a pitcher is struggling with her delivery, then breaking the pitching motion down into its fundamental elements will help isolate and fix the problem. The following tips will help coaches and pitchers establish a firm pitching foundation.

The Windmill Method

The most popular delivery in fastpitch softball is currently the windmill method. In this underhand pitch, the pitcher's arm starts in front of her body, winds back, completes a full circle, releases the ball at the hip, and then follows through.

The windmill is more than just an arm motion, however; it requires a long stride that utilizes the legs and torso to generate more power. Both speed and the shift of weight play an important part in executing the windmill effectively, so pitchers should practice the motion to develop a comfortable rhythm. Maximum velocity and accuracy will only occur if all of the movements are in sync.

The Fundamentals: Grip

In fastpitch softball pitching, the grip on the ball depends on the type of pitch being thrown. How the pitcher holds the ball will direct the rotation of the ball and the way the wind interacts with the seams, which will in turn determine how fast the ball travels. For example, to throw a four-seam fastball, the pitcher will hold the ball so the laces form a letter "C," then place her fingers across the "C." For a two-seam fastball, the pitcher will hold the ball so the laces form a "U." Her pointer and ring fingers will each rest along a seam and the middle finger will go in between the seams.

With either delivery, the middle three fingers will be on top of the ball, with the pinkie tucked underneath and the thumb on the side of the ball. The ball should be held securely in the fingers, not against the palm of the hand.

The Fundamentals: Stance

A pitcher's stance is the position she assumes before beginning her wind-up. It can vary from pitcher to pitcher, but a player should have a basic stance that is consistent and comfortable for her.

She should begin by holding the ball in her glove and standing up straight at the pitcher's mound. Her lead foot, or throwing-side foot, should be on the rubber with the toes extended over the front edge. The rear foot toes should touch the back of the rubber. Her front leg should be straight while the back leg is slightly bent, and the feet should be just a little closer than shoulder-width apart. The pitcher should square her shoulders toward home plate, keeping her weight on the balls of her feet.

At this point in a game, the pitcher would look to the catcher for the signal while slightly shifting her weight forward. She would then visualize her pitch, take a deep breath, and begin her wind-up.

Completing the Pitch

In order to properly execute the pitch, the pitcher needs to develop her wind-up, stride, arm movement, and follow-through. Once she is comfortable with her grip and stance, continue the pitching lesson by introducing the pitching motion. Players often become overwhelmed at first, but by starting with the basics, coaches can guarantee understanding before moving on to developing more advanced skills, like an effective change-up.

And if you'd like to see more free softball pitching drills and coaching tips, go here to watch a free video:

http://www.softball-spot.com

Becky Wittenburg is a softball coach, and the owner and publisher of Softball-Spot.com, the web's #1 resource for softball pitching drills, tips, and practice ideas for youth and high school coaches.

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Monday, 18 June 2012

Softball First Base Mitt - Made for Girls That Know How to Catch

There are two positions on a fastpitch softball field that must catch every ball that comes to them. One, of course is the Catcher and the other is First Base. A first baseman understands how important it is to catch every ball that comes her way.

Most positions don't get the ball thrown to them much during a game. They are usually throwing the ball over to first base to get the batter out. That throw can come from any position on the field, even the outfield players. Shortstop sees a lot of hits to them. Second base sees several, left field and center see a few that get through the infield. Depending how good your pitcher is, the outfield may not see any balls the entire game.

But the first baseman will get a throw over to her on almost every play. That relates to a lot of - let's just say some less than accurate throws. Softball first base players have to catch the good throws at chest high, the way high throws over their head and even the bouncers in the dirt from the short stop or 3rd base when she got in a hurry and made a bad throw.

So, there is a special kind of glove made just for the first baseman. It is appropriately called a First base Mitt. First base mitts are similar in shape to the famous catchers mitt. It is more rounded in shape and has many features of a catchers mitt.

A softball first base mitt is shaped to help the first base player scoop up those bad throws in the dirt or at her shins - ouch!. The longer, deeper pocket helps to make the ball be caught in that deep pocket to alleviate some of the sting from a strong armed shortstop that is trying to throw out a lightning fast slapper.

That same mitt shape helps to snag balls that would normally be too high above her head. Even if she has to pull her foot off the bag to make that overthrown catch.

There are some features that are unique to fastpitch softball firstbase mitts. Some of the top manufacturers are now making the mitts especially for girls. They use finger stalls that are closer together and a little tighter so the mitt fits better on the female hand.

Another feature is that they are made of lighter materials. They still use top grade leather but some are using a mesh on the back to make them lighter. Others are using lighter weight leathers such as the now famous Kip leather.

Kip leather is very strong but lighter in weight than standard US steerhide. It also has a tighter grain which makes it smoother and more even. Many of your pro baseball players are using Kip leather in their custom gloves these days. Kip leather comes from younger steers and is usually harvested in Europe. Kip leather makes some very good fastpitch softball gloves and mitts.

Mesh on the back side of fastpitch gloves makes really good sense. It is usually really hot during softball season for one. So the mesh helps keep your hand cool. The mesh backed fastpitch softball gloves help air circulate better which helps the interior dry out faster. Keeping the interior of your softball glove dry will make it last longer, and it won't smell so bad.

Softball First Base Mitt.

Making a softball glove out of mesh on the back also tends to make it a little lighter which is always a good thing. Especially for girls fastpitch gloves. Girls play a very fast moving brand of softball and they need to be able to move the glove around quickly and easily. So mesh on the back of the glove makes great sense.

You can find out lots of good information on mesh backed fastpitch softball first base mitts and many other girls fastpitch gloves by visiting the link below.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

5 Tips For Getting Better at Hitting a Softball

There comes a time in every athletes' life, they must admit the reflexes aren't what they used to be, the energy level is reduced and the muscles are sore after a workout, which at one time was more of a warm up activity. It's hard to admit, but you're past your prime and can not compete with the youngsters any longer.

However, that doesn't mean you can not satisfy that urge to compete as a weekend warrior and enjoy the camaraderie of team mates, both male and female, while indulging in your favorite beverage. The game of Slow Pitch Softball can be your answer to all your problems.

Slow pitch leagues, "over 50", Co-ed and several other divisions, exist in every town and city in every state and are mostly played on the weekends, in case the players require recuperating before returning to work Monday.

The game is more or less identical to baseball, with a few variances, and the slow speed and large size of the pitched ball makes hitting it extremely easy, but that is not always the case. Most former baseball and fast pitch softball players, have a different swing that slow pitch requires, and can be quite frustrating when you trickle a slow ground ball after taking a mighty swing.

In order to hit well in slow pitch softball, you must modify your swing. Here are a few tips which will help you develop a good swing for the game.

1. Softball bats are different in shape and length than baseball bats, both in the handle and the barrel size. Choosing the correct bat is, of course quite important, but the rule of thumb is "choose the largest bat you can still swing comfortably." If a 34" bat feels good, but you could go to the 35" with little trouble, go to the 35".

2. Most players will grip the bat at the bottom against the knob in order to create the most power. If choking up a bit feels better for you, do it. Remember, identical to baseball, the speed of the swing is more important to power than the weight of the bat.

3. The ideal softball swing is from a level cut or swing to a slight upper cut, which gives the ball a lift into the air, which is what power hitters want. This requires practice because there's a very fine line between hitting a towering home run blast and a high pop fly in the infield. A level swing will produce line drives and ground balls, which are ideal for less muscular power hitters.

4. Keep your head level and eyes on the ball. This is nothing new for former ball players, however, the flight and arc of the pitch is totally different from a baseball or fast pitch. It is quite natural for a player to pull their heads, taking the eyes off the target, as they mightily swing at the "balloon" approaching them. This results in hitting little dribblers back to the pitcher.

5. Patience, patience and patience. Again, baseball and fast pitch players were given a split second to determine if they would swing because of the speed the ball got to them. Watching and waiting for a high pitched ball, which will have a back spin if properly thrown, to reach you may seem to take forever. Controlling the urge to swing too early can be a monumental task for a normally anxious hitter.

These 5 tips, although not earth shattering, will make you a much better hitter in slow pitch softball. Practice these tips with the same work ethic you've always used and you'll be a star player once again, regardless of your age.

Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth, shares his advice on running baseball drills on his exciting info packed website: http://www.learn-youth-baseball-coaching.com

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Saturday, 16 June 2012

Pink, Purple, Red, Blue - Colored Laces Make Custom Fastpitch Gloves Affordable

Every player wants her fastpitch glove to be a custom glove. But most parents can't really afford to shell out the extra bucks for a custom softball glove. Now here is a way to get your kid a custom glove without that extra hundred buck price tag.

Just about every softball glove manufacturer will offer some kind of custom glove matrix. Where you can choose the leather color, the type of leather - extra stiff, pre-broken in, lace colors, back and palm colors. Special embroidery, you name it. If you are willing to spend the money you can have just about any color/leather combination you can dream of.

Thing is, those really tricked out custom fastpitch gloves can seriously trick out your pocket book too. If you aren't careful, you could end up paying almost three times the normal cost of that glove. But it would be sweet though!

So what can the average parent out here do. You know, those with two or three maybe four kids playing ball, going to band camp, doing dance. Jeez the list goes on. I know, I was in that group for about 20 years.

A couple things are available for the average joe. The simplest is to call up your fastpitch glove vendor and see if they will change the lace color for you. Some even offer it as an option right on their website now. It's usually called something like Custom Colored Glove Lacing. Look for it or do a web search, it will probably show up.

Another great way is to order some colored laces that fit your glove and just re-lace your kid's glove yourself. It really isn't that tough to do. There are some good books on the subject too. Several glove forums offer good advice too. Just do another web search for 3/16 x 72 lace colors and you should find what you need. Most fielders gloves use 3/16 inch lace. Some catchers mitts will use 1/4 inch lace. Just do some checking before you order. I saw a black fastpitch glove with purple and it looks sharp. Another kid had a black catchers mitt done with red lace and wow is it a sharp looking mitt.

It usually takes 3-4 pieces of 72 inch long laces to do a complete glove. If you are new to lacing, you should probably get another extra one just to be sure. Some of the softball glove sites have charts to help you decide how much lace to order.

You could always order the lace and then have a professional fastpitch glove repair or restoration guy do the actual re-lace job for you. There are several online, just do a search for them.

Colored Laces Make Custom Fastpitch Gloves Affordable

So to keep your bottom line a little less scary, and have enough left over to get yourself a new fly fishing rod - do a quick web search for Custom Colored Glove Lacing and find some cool color choices for your kid's fastpitch glove. At your next tournament look around and see what colors look cool. Then get online and do a search for those 3/16 x 72 lace colors and give your kid an affordable custom fastpitch glove that no other kid has.

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Friday, 15 June 2012

Should You Buy a 12 Inch Softball Glove or a 13 Inch Softball Glove?

To buy 12 inch softball glove or 13 inch softball glove. That is the question. Now, let's see if we can find an answer that works for everyone. This question comes up a lot on the forums and at the field. It seems no one knows what size girls softball gloves to buy. Let's take a look at the options.

Nearly every day I see a question about glove sizes. Girls softball gloves have evolved over the years and now there are so many options it sometimes is hard to make a choice.

Parents want to be sure they order the proper size for their daughters position and physical size. They also usually don't want to have to buy another one for a couple of years at least.

Fastpitch softball, or softball fastpitch as my friends up north call it is a really fast game. Not just the pitching. Although that is where the name came from of course. But the dynamics of the game of fastpitch softball are impressive. The shorter base paths, the closer pitching distance compared to baseball makes everything happen so much quicker and dynamically.

For that reason there are different glove sizes available now. Mainly they differ by position. Infielders tend to like a smaller glove and outfielders tend to like a longer glove. So what do you do if you play both?

Infield gloves come in a few styles, there are those for the middle infield usually in the 12.5-13 inch size with 12.75 or 13 being the most used size. This size is small enough for the player to have quick hand movement but large enough for them to catch the fly balls that are often hit to them.

There are a lot of players, such as 3rd base that prefer a shorter glove. That's where the 12 inch softball glove is used most. I do see some shortstops that use 12 inch gloves too. The 12 inch glove is still large enough to grab the full size - 12 inch softball, but smaller and lighter to help make those ultra fast plays off the bat. You know, when you are playing bunt and she drives a hard line drive right at your head.

Outfielders usually like the 13 inch glove, and some kids will choose an even bigger 14 inch glove. However, in my opinion that is too much glove for most female fastpitch softball players. A lot of men that play softball love that really big glove. But of course they usually have bigger hands to fit that large glove.

The larger 13 inch softball glove is truly multipurpose and works for infield and outfield. It is large enough to grab that over the head fly to deep center yet small enough to make those quick plays at 2nd base.

It also often times come down to the size of the kid that is going to use the glove. I have seen some 18 Gold players using 10.5 inch gloves. Now, that girl was kind of on the smaller size, so she had small hands. Thus she was comfortable with a really tiny glove.

For most kids starting out. Those that are 10 to 12 years of age, the 12 inch glove would be a very good choice. Searching for a 12 inch fastpitch glove should yield several choices. Be sure to look for one that is designed for females.

Female softball gloves or softball gloves for girls will have smaller finger stalls. They will be closer together and a little shorter. That makes the glove more manageable on the smaller hands. Several will have adjustable wrist straps to make snug fit on the wrist for comfort and control.

Find a ball glove made of Steerhide, Kip or just make sure it is real leather, that will last several years. She will likely grow out of it before it wears out. You may have to pay a little more for it, but it will be worth it in the long run.

If you need a beginners softball glove, go with the 12 inch softball glove. If you are looking for a step up or multi- use glove, go with the 13 inch softball glove.

The big question of should I buy a 12 inch softball glove or a 13 inch softball glove gets asked all the time. Parents ask coaches, they search out softball forums and even watch what other players are using. These are all great ideas. The bottom line is that it usually comes down to what the kid is most comfortable with. That will often depend on the size of the kid and age or level of play she is at. The older your child gets will help her form opinions of her own as well. Use the suggestions in this article to help form an informed decision. You can find many softball gloves and articles at http://www.BuyFastpitchGloves.com Now go play ball!

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Thursday, 14 June 2012

How to Buy a Slow Pitch Softball Bat

ByBret Beaupain

When choosing to invest in a slow pitch softball bat (sometimes called "sticks"), there's a lot of things that you might like to consider... bat material, length, weight, weight distribution, and grip. You then need to correlate these items for your build and preferences because unfortunately slow pitch bats usually are not always one-size-fits-all. Let's go into the important points to determine if we can help demystify the process.

Bat Material

Slow pitch bats come basically in two unique materials, composite or metal. There are positives and negatives to each, however the majority of companies have moved most of their business to employing the composite materials for slow pitch softball. Normally the composites are usually the better alternative due to their durability, capability to perform in colder climates, along with the innovations in composite technology.

Bat Length

When it comes to slow pitch softball, almost all the sticks come in a 34-inch size which is the greatest length allowed by league policies. Nearly all slow pitch players don't need to be concerned in regards to smaller bat length unless you are really small and/or not heavy enough to swing the 34-inch. If that is the situation, the player may possibly consider choking up on the handle to essentially decrease the swing length.

Weight

Typically bat weights vary from 26 ounces to 30 ounces, but you may find some that exceed these regular ranges. The primary principle behind bat weight is that if the ball player is able to maintain a constant swing speed when utilizing both a light and heavy bat, then the batted-ball speed shall be highest for the heavier bat. The best results are obtained by swinging a heavier bat quicker, but it is something which most average players cannot do and still keep control over the bat while swinging it. If you must choose, we'd encourage employing a lighter weight bat due to the fact that swing speed in slow pitch is likely to rule a great deal more than bat weight for the reason that high swing speed is really what will flex the walls of the bat at ball-impact, thus enhancing the trampoline effect from the bat wall.

Note: For a reference point, I'm 5' 11" and 195 pounds. My greatest performance comes from using a 26 ounce bat. I have tried out bats up to 28 ounce, but those all frequently decrease my swing speed further than the gain produced with the heavier bat.

Weight Distribution

Bats for slow pitch softball can be bought in two distinctive weight distributions: balanced and end-loaded. These variations in weight distribution can lead to the sense of a light-weight or heavy swing weight of the bat. To get a little bit nerdy for you, it truly comes down to the location of the balance point (or center-of-mass) and the moment-of-inertia. Basically, the idea here is that the way the bat weight is distributed along the length of the bat can affect bat swing speed just as significantly as the varying overall bat weights. The nearer the bat's balance point is to the handle, the simpler it can be to swing and manage the bat barrel.

Look at two bats that are identical in length and have a 26-ounce weight. If you pick them up and swing them, you are able to undoubtedly distinguish the swing feel between the two. Bat 1 has a balance point that's 23 inches from the handle and Bat 2 has a balance point of 20.5 inches from the end of the handle. Bat 1 will have a much bigger moment of inertia (i.e. hit harder) than Bat 2 should they be swung with the same exact bat speed. However, as stated previously, the bat with the weight nearer to the handle is a lot easier to swing and control. The bat using the weight farther from the handle is more tricky to control and likely to lower your bat swing speed a result of the bigger moment of inertia. Let us reiterate here that bat speed governs in slow pitch because the high bat speed creates the trampoline effect of your bat walls when it strikes the softball.

There you have it, if you are a big bruiser and can swing an end-loaded bat fast and with excellent control, then that's the weight distribution for you. The majority of slow pitch players cannot do that and need to work with a balanced bat that should provide them maximum performance. Personally I favor a balanced bat.

Grip

The grip bats usually come in are leather or synthetic leather. Occasionally grips can come with cushioning to absorb shock. Grip selection tends not to be considered a factor in bat selection, especially given that if you don't like the grip you could change it out with a different one.

There it is, happy bat hunting!

Bret B. is an avid recreational softballer. If you are interested in tips and resources for slow pitch softball, please check out http://www.slowpitchhitting.com.

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Wednesday, 13 June 2012

How To Restring Your Softball Glove And Save Money

Do you remember seeing that kid at second base catching that line drive rocket - only to have the ball sail right on out of his glove to the outfield? Yeah, the kid's glove had a couple broken laces and he just let it go and they lost the game. In this article you will discover resources for fixing that old glove of yours.

Softball Gloves Don't Fix Themselves

Contrary to your thinking, things don't just work themselves out by themselves. Your job doesn't get done without you working at it. The grass ain't gonna mow itself. And your softball glove, or even more so, your kid's softball glove isn't gonna fix itself.

I know, it seems like such a small gap where the lace is busted. She hasn't complained about it. You see her struggling and missing some routine catches, but she must not be focused. Right?... Wrong. It's not your kid, it's her glove. She has a couple broken laces. They could have been retied or conditioned and now they have broken and the whole lace needs to be replaced. Don't worry, it's not that tough. You can do it in less than an hour. Really.

What Tools To Use

There are only a couple tools needed for a basic repair job. You will need a 6 inch lacing needle, scissors, and some needle nose pliars. Oh and some lace. Ok so that's four things.

How Much Lace?

That's a fair question. To restring a fielders glove there are about five sections. You may only need to relace one or two.

1. Heel
2. Palm
3. Thumb
4. Web
5. Fingers and top of web

Some gloves have variations on this theme. Catchers and First base mitts are different. Each section generally uses a single piece of lace. You can get lace in 48 inch or 72 inch lengths. It's advisable to just do the 72 inch, usually about the same cost anyway. Better to have a little left over than not enough.

So, generally one 72 inch piece for the heel and palm. May get the thumb out of it too. Another 72 incher for the Web, and one more for the Fingers and top of web. Add another 72 incher just to be sure.

That's 4 pieces of 72 inch for a standard glove (12 - 13 inch).

Different Sizes of Lace

On many gloves, the Web and top of fingers will be 1/4 inch wide lace. The rest of the glove will use 3/16 inch wide lace. You can get by using all 3/16 inch lace and have no breaking problems. Many manufacturers do this.

You probably can't use all 1/4 inch lace if your glove was made with 3/16 inch lace. The reason is the holes are too small for 1/4 inch lace. It might rip the hole out or may just be too tight to get the lace through the hole. That is not something you want to discover after you are on the next to last hole that is double laced. So check your glove to see what size lace it came with.

Most catchers mitts use 1/4 inch lace throughout the whole mitt, so do most first base mitts. Check anyway, there are some that don't.

Running the Lace

Depending on which type needle you use. They come with the eye type but I recommend the screw in type. Either way, start by using the scissors and cutting an angle on one end of the new lace. Thread that into the needle. Make sure it is secure.

If you have some glove conditioner, rub a little on the new piece of lace. That makes it slicker and easier to run through the glove. Also, it's easier to do now than when it is in the glove.

Examine how the old lace runs in your glove. Find both ends so you know what to expect as you start. Untie one end and start pulling it out. Remove it through a couple holes, then thread your needle through those holes. Work all the way through following the route the old lace takes. If you only remove a few holes at a time, you will find it easier to trace your path.

Oh- depending on your taste, leave at least 4 inches on the tag end to tie the knot. You can leave more if you like extra long laces. I've seen some that are 6 inches long. Anyway, if you leave it too short, believe me it is a real pain to tie that knot. It takes a lot of cussing and pinched fingers. Or pulling the lace out and re-doing it all again.

Try to keep the laces untwisted. This can be difficult but take your time and try to keep the finished side of the lace out. So that it is showing. It just looks nicer that way. To do this you have to twist the lace a little as it goes inside the glove. Give it a try, you'll figure that out easy enough. It makes the lace lay better, knots tie easier and it just looks much better.

What Color and Where

There are a rainbow of colors available today. This allows you to take a stock glove and make it a truly custom glove by adding inexpensive colored rawhide lace. You can find the standard Tan, Black or Chocolate plus Red, Blue, Pink or Purple. Even different shades of Pink or Paisly Purple. So match your team colors by adding two or maybe three lace colors to your glove. Be unique, make different patterns. It is endless what kind of designs you can come up with. Be brave - restring your glove today.

By the way, do you want to learn more about Softbll Gloves?

If so, download my new guide Fastpitch Softball Gloves Choosing Sizes, Types and Care - A Guide for Parents and Coaches of Youth Fastpitch Softball here: http://www.bhgent.com/bfg

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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Sponsoring a Softball Team Is the Right Thing to Do

With all the budget cuts in our high schools, many of the freshman sports have been cut out of the sports programs. This is very unfortunate because softball makes school fun, and prevents dropouts. It gives the girls something to live for, and it keeps them coming back to school. Competition also helps breed future leaders, and we all know that there are more and more women owned small business and women who are moving up in the world. Who knows, we may even have a female president pretty soon.

As Hillary Clinton said; "we didn't break the glass ceiling this time, but there are about 18,000 cracks in it now." Since freshman softball is being cut out of the sports programs at the local high school one of the best things you can do is help to sponsor a softball team in a softball league. This solves the same problem, and it increases the teamwork mindset, and the competition these young women need to go onto do great things in the future.

If they are good at sports, and a practice hard they learn all the skills it takes to become successful members in our society. Sponsoring a softball team does not cost that much money. If you own a small business it's the least you can do, and you can put a picture of the softball team up in your business lobby, and your patrons can see that you are supporting the local community. Such goodwill and community involvement will increase your business, and provide you with more referrals.

Not only that, but , it's an activity and a sport for young people that has good qualities; teamwork, perseverance, goal setting, and passion. Make no mistake, those are qualities that are needed, and they are needed now more than ever before in our society. America is a nation of winners, and we need to develop our next generation of winners to move us forward in all industries and fields of human endeavor.

The team members you sponsor today may be the ones paying the taxes which pay for your Social Security and pension tomorrow. They will be our future leaders, and they will hold the traditions that we value in the United States, all those things which have helped us build this great nation. Show your passion for community spirit by sponsoring a softball team today. Go online and find out who to contact in your local area, so you can do your part and be part of the solution. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank. Lance Winslow believes writing 24,000 articles by July 24, 2011 is going to be difficult because all the letters on his keyboard are now worn off now..

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Monday, 11 June 2012

Softball Gloves for Men - Akadema APX 221

Akadema is a great company that makes baseball and softball gloves, not only for the professionals but for the rest of us too. They build those pro features and qualities into all the ball gloves they make.

For years many professional and non-professional players alike have been trying get the perfect fit and grip in their glove. They were trying to stuff 4 fingers into 2 finger slots. They did this to get better control of the glove and a better grip on the ball when trying to field it.

One of the founders of the company used to play a little ball and he noticed this. So when he started his glove company he got patents on several of these innovative designs. One that has really caught on is the Reptilian Claw. This is built into an outfielders 3-finger glove.

The Akadema APX 221 is that glove and man is it a sweet one. It is made of top line steerhide leather that is tanned to perfection. It is designed to be nearly game-ready right out of the box. Give it a week or two of good break-in and you are ready to play.

It has many traditional features like the modified trap web that many outfielders like, an open back with regular size finger stalls that will fit most men. Being an outfielders glove it is designed with a deep pocket. This makes it a great softball glove as well as baseball glove.

Don't be freaked out when you slip your hand in and find out the index finger is closed off. That is part of the design. You see, it really only has two fingers to it. The middle finger is standard, where you put your index finger. And there is an extra wide pinky slot that you can put 3 fingers into to make that patented Claw grip. It might take a little getting used to but it really is a novel idea and gives you that extra grip on the ball that you have been looking for.

Being a 12.75 inch pattern, it lends itself to baseball outfield and pretty much any position for softball fastpitch except catcher. If you are a slowpitch guy, it works for anywhere on the field. So you won't need a bag full of gloves to tote around with you. And they are priced to leave you money for beer after the game.

Fastpitch Softball Gloves for Men

True to the high quality of every Akadema glove, this one is laced up with thick 1/4 inch rawhide lacing. The leather is what they call ProSoft and is black all around with light gray piping for a nice contrast. They even add a second layer of lacing in the middle of the fingers to add stability in this long pattern.

By the way, do you want to learn more about Softball Gloves?

If so, download my new guide Fastpitch Softball Gloves Choosing Sizes, Types and Care A Guide for Parents and Coaches of Youth Fastpitch Softball here: http://www.bhgent.com/bfg

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Sunday, 10 June 2012

Men's Fastpitch Catchers Mitt - What Should I Use?

When most folks think of fastpitch softball they think of girls. But there are lots of men, young and old that play the game too. Finding the correct gear is just as hard for men as it is for girls. Catchers mitts for men are even harder to find. Read on for some suggestions that should help.

Softball and baseball catchers mitts differ in many ways.

- size of ball used

- edge padding is different

- size of the mitts themselves

- palm padding strategically placed

- what mitts to use

There is quite a difference between a baseball catchers mitt and a fastpitch softball catchers mitt. They are designed differently for a few reasons. The size of the ball used is obvious to most. Fastpitch softballs are 12 inch around, and baseballs are only 9 inches around. So the mitt needs to have a much larger opening and pocket to catch the ball.

Fastpitch catchers mitts usually have thinner padding on the edges. This thinner padding is to allow for the larger opening and deeper pocket. You don't catch the ball on the edge anyway, so why have it there. Most mitts have stiffeners around the edges too to help the glove maintain its shape with all the abuse it gets. What you want is a deep pocket that stops the ball from spinning. Fastpitch pitchers can put a lot of spin on the ball. Makes it really hard to keep in the mitt sometimes. So softball mitts are designed with larger webs and deeper pockets to do just that.

Baseball catcher mitts use that thicker padding to help trap the ball. The smaller size mitt means smaller pocket, so using the thicker edge padding helps trap the ball better when it snaps closed. The softball is bigger, so it can be trapped easier with thinner padding when it snaps closed at the catch.

The size of the mitt is generally larger for fastpitch softball vs. a baseball catchers mitt. Baseball mitts generally run from 31 inch to 33 inch. Fastpitch mitts will start at about 33 inch and go up to 34.5 inches for the adult size. That large size helps a lot with fast spinning softball pitches.

Catchers mitt use more padding than fielders gloves for obvious reasons. Baseball mitts generally have a lot of thick padding covering the entire palm area. That is where the baseball hits. Softball mitts use thick palm padding as well, but will often add strategically placed padding over the area between the index finger and thumb to provide more protection for the larger ball. Some will add more up into the finger area as well.

It is more important to have a good deep pocket in a fastpitch mitt than all the extra padding. When caught correctly, the softball will be guided to the pocket.

Both types of mitts must be made of thick sturdy leather in the palm, pocket and web area. The laces used must also be thick and sturdy. Most mitts use 1/4 inch wide laces in this area. Other areas can use thinner laces.

Now, how do you find a men's fastpitch catchers mitt? Good question. Most fastpitch mitts are designed for the female hand. They have smaller finger stalls and smaller openings to help ladies manage the mitt better. That is great for the ladies, but what about the guys?

You can use them just the same. If you get one made of good leather, it will mold to your hand and be just as if it was custom made for you. Many men use them and get along excellently with them. I personally use one from Akadema that has served me very well.

Men's Fastpitch Catchers Mitt

Some men will take a baseball first base mitt and add in some extra padding or a thick batting glove. The size is similar to a fastpitch catchers mitt. The shape and design is similar as well. You can do a pretty good job with them.

It is not recommended to use a baseball mitt for fastpitch because the softball will just pop out of the mitt. It is really hard to catch a softball with a baseball mitt. It is just too small. Stick with a fastpitch mitt, whether made for a female or not. It is still the best way to go.

By the way, do you want to learn more about Softball Gloves? If so, download my new guide Fastpitch Softball Gloves Choosing Sizes, Types and Care A Guide for Parents and Coaches of Youth Fastpitch Softball here: http://www.bhgent.com/bfg

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Saturday, 9 June 2012

What Is a Game Ready Softball Glove? - And How Do You Get One?

When someone makes a high quality softball glove, they use leather. Most are made from tanned Steer hide. There are some made from exotic leathers like buffalo, or kangaroo, but most are from a steer. The newest thing is to get a glove made from Kip leather which is a lighter, thinner leather that is just as strong as full grain steerhide. It just breaks in easier. All the pro's are using them these days.

Softball gloves made from this thick leather last for a long time and turn out to be great gloves. You can even pass them down to your kids or grand kids sometimes. They wear well, and play great. The problem with using heavy steer hide to make your glove is that it is stiff as a board right out of the box. It can take months to as much as a couple years to get them to be game ready softball gloves. They are really nice then, but most guys want to play with them now. So what do you do.

You could pay someone to take your new glove and break it in for you. Not a bad idea. There are a few sources for that. If you are a MLB guy you already have someone doing for it you. But most of us are not MLB guys. We just like to play on the weekends or in leagues for fun mostly. So what else can you do?

In the last few years a few manufacturers have realized this problem. So they did some research on how to perfectly tan a pro quality glove to be game ready right out of the box. Some of the best ones come from Akadema. They make a series called the ProSoft Series. It is made from top grain Steer hide that has been tanned to be soft and ready to play.

There are several gloves in this game ready series. They are made for baseball and for softball. The sizes range from an 11.25 inch infield baseball glove to a 14 inch X-tra large softball outfield glove. There is even an Ambidextrous Glove available. There are a couple models of baseball catchers mitts and a first base mitt too. So they have you covered for every position.

Styles include closed back, open back, deep pocket and medium pockets. You can have an I-web, B-hive web, H-web, modified trap web, even a single post I web. You can even get the famous Reptilian and Funnel models if you like.

There is even a fastpitch series designed for the ladies hand with smaller finger stalls and wrist straps. These help ladies manage the gloves better. They incorporate that same game ready leather to make them lighter and ready to play right out of the workshop.

Game Ready Softball Gloves

These gloves are sized for men, but of course women and girls can use them as well. They have the standard size finger stalls to fit a larger hand. They may be snug on some men but remember they are leather and they will mold to your hand over time. Grab yourself a game ready softball glove and enjoy that light and playable advantage right out of the workshop.

By the way, do you want to learn more about Softball Gloves?

If so, download my new guide Fastpitch Softball Gloves Choosing Sizes, Types and Care A Guide for Parents and Coaches of Youth Fastpitch Softball here:
http://www.bhgent.com/bfg

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Friday, 8 June 2012

A New Twist on a Traditional Fundraiser

ByEllen Swan

We have all been involved in fundraising in one way or another. Whether you were asked to buy a fundraising product or helped to sell one, a fundraiser is a necessity that seems to be here to stay.

One problem that many who are involved in raising money face is making a decision on what type of product or service should be offered to make money. What will be an easy sell?

Screen printed shirts are a popular item often used for raising money. Everyone loves a shirt, right? Not only can they be worn to your game or event, but they can be worn around town to show support for the local team or organization. Shirts are generally an easy sell as just about anyone wears t-shirts.

Do you want to offer shirts with a more trendy twist? Why not offer custom rhinestone t-shirts with your school name or mascot sparkling across the front? Why not give ladies the opportunity to support your organization with a bit of sparkle? This will create a renewed interest in your offerings and will help you to make more money than you would by solely offering a screen printed tee.

Do you want to offer both the screen printed tee and a ladies rhinestone shirt? No problem. There are a few companies that offer both services in one place so that you will not have to contact several different companies to get your desired outcome. This will allow you to earn the funds you would normally earn from a printed shirt and also an additional income from the rhinestone apparel. In fact, you will find that many of the ladies will order one of each!

When contacting a company about rhinestone apparel, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, when you are looking to pay the least amount possible, you need to steer clear of colored stones. Clear stones are the most affordable. You will be able to offer a rhinestone shirt at an affordable price if you use clear stones for your logo or team name. The shirt you decide to use can reflect your team colors when using clear stones.

Korean rhinestones offer good-quality at an affordable price. There are some companies that only offer Swarovski rhinestones. These are the most expensive. They are very nice, but there is a much higher price tag on shirts with these types of rhinestones. Be sure to ask what type of stones are involved in your quote.

Add a twist to your next fundraising effort. You are sure to make more money.

One company that offers custom rhinestone apparel, such as rhinestone sports shirts, and screen printed apparel is Custom Rhinestone Shirts.

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Thursday, 7 June 2012

How To Best Choose The Right Softball Bat For You

BySam Willard

When playing slow pitch softball, you must have the correct equipment to use, especially slow pitch softball bats. These types of bats were created to be the very best for playing slow pitch in comparison to fast pitch. Keeping the best bat can go a long way towards helping a player get more comfortable with their batting and improve their overall performance.

These bats can come in several sizes and weights to be optimized for the player that will be using it. The bat that's a great fit for one player might not work for another. That's the reason it's essential to get a sense for a bat that fits right with your sex and proportions.

There are several places where a person can get slow pitch softball bats. There's a wide selection of retail stores that sell them. They can be available at sporting goods outlets, and even many big box stores who have a sporting goods section have these items in stock. Walking into a retail location to get this item is the best situation for people that are not certain what bat will be best for them. They'll be able to grip them and get a feel for the bat to find out if it is the right one before they buy it.

For those who understand what works best for them, they can look online for purchasing their bats. You'll find great deals available online when buying these bats. It is important to make sure that the website that you're using to purchase your bat from has a good return policy. This way you will not be stuck with a bat that doesn't feel completely right when batting.

The time to buy your slow pitch softball bats really depends on your needs. For individuals just getting started with a season ahead of them will want to look for a bat that works well for them. They should begin looking before they go to their practice as it can be helpful to get a feel for the bat. Some individuals can feel self-conscious with others watching them do something the first time.

If you're not constrained by having to have a bat right away to play with, then hold off until the season is over. This can help you to save money as many store will put their items on sale or clearance to allow for other seasonal items or newer models that will be coming out for next season. They are just as good as the newer bats, but can save you money.

The best way to make sure that the slow pitch softball bats you are looking at is right for you is to try them out. Picking up the bat and giving it a few test swings in the aisle can go a long way towards helping you find the best one. When taking your test swings make sure that you have enough area for this.

Once an athlete gets a feel for a certain bat size and weight, they will be able to find other bats that work well for them. Quite a few players like to have a few bats on hand while playing. This can help when a bat gets damaged so that the game can continue.

If you play softball you know the importance of investing in a high quality bat. There are a variety of fast pitch and slowpitch softball bats on the market. You will want to test each of these out to see which one will help maximize your performance. Also make sure you invest in softball helmets to ensure you are being safe.

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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Coach Thomas Flanigan - Nominated Coach of The Year

ByJohn H Berry

In the ever spinning world of Fast pitch softball there are always large obstacles to work through to reach excellence for both athletes and coaches. These obstacles can be a variety of things and play a role to success. Researching and gathering factual information I have found that coach Thomas Flanigan has delivered to North Texas athletes and have helped them reach unthinkable goals.

Coach Thomas Flanigan is a father, a husband, a family man who finds ways to devote his time to North Texas Athletes to ensure the growth as athletes. Let's face it; the most valuable thing you can give a person is your time.

Coach Flanigan started his coaching career in 1999 with team express, at that time he worked many hours with his employers, at times 60 hours a week as a Co-Manager. Yet, he was able to give back to the community by helping young athletes reach their true potential and found a way to devote time to his family as well. In fact, in 2004 while a Co-Manager at Wal-Mart he was named the "HERO" award with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The "HERO" award is the most prestigious award given by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The award is based on a lot of factors; the most weighted factor is someone's contributions to the community.

In 2004 as a coach for Texas Elite, his team was honored with the Sportsman Ship award and Trophy at Nationals in Arkansas. Their team went on to finish 3rd. Based on research it's rare to place in the top 5 if you're a team from Texas. Even more rare to receive the Sportsmanship award when you place that high in a National tournament.

Following the 2004 championship season coach Flanigan teamed up with Dan Adkins Glory. In 2005 he coached a team to a 12th place finish at Nationals as a Glory Team. Though his employers demanded the long hours of retail, he found a way to help others.

In 2006 Coach Thomas Flanigan led his team to a National Championship, something that has never been done before from any team in North Texas. California traditonally owned most all National Championships, typically placing in the first 4 spots. A major accomplishment to say the least for his Glory team. In fact, Texas has two national championships, one, was the Cruisers when Kat Osterman pitched them to a title, and coach Flanigans team. In 2007 his team suffered a few key injuries in the starting pitching rotation. Even with the key injuries to their rotation his team managed to place in the top 12 at the Hall of Fame Championships held at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma. This secured their spot at Nationals. Their pitcher would not return from injury - broke ankle - until the week of Nationals. Still the Glory team traveled to California and placed 27th at the National Championships.

In 2008 there were some differences between Kevin Shelton & Dan Adkins who were both long standing Glory leaders. They are friends today; however that didn't change the split of the Glory organization. During that time Coach Thomas Flanigan was approached to move his team to the Kruzers and was offered a sponsorship to do so.

In fast pitch softball sponsors really do not exist. The burden of fees is typically put on parents and sometimes coaches. To have the opportunity to have a financially free team and focus on skills was a huge advantage. The team decided to make the move and Coach Thomas Flanigan accepted the role as head coach. Previously he was the head coach / manager on other teams he operated with. The duties of a head coach and a Manager are quite different. He was able to put his entire time into coaching the athletes. Before, he was dealing with team dues, player registration, rosters and parents. Now, he was able to focus on pure softball, Ron Withee, the team manager would handle all other aspects. Including rosters, insurance, player signings etc....

In 2008 coach Thomas Flanigan led the Kruzer team to a Hall of Fame Championship in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, another first for North Texas. The team went on to finish 7th at the National Championships in 2008. In 2009 the team finished 12th at the Hall of Fame Championships as well as claimed another birth to the National Championships.

In 2009 the Kruzer team was disqualified from the National Championships for having an illegal pick up player on their roster. I had to dig deep to find answers to this, as Coach Thomas Flanigan has a squeaky clean background based on information from asa and coaches background checks. While rules in the asa hand book are open to interpretation and it was difficult to comprehend. The conclusion stated that a player registered under Dallas Metro who played in a National Qualifier is not eligible to be a pick up player for a Ft Worth Metro team for Nationals.

Here is where the rules were an overlook on the Team Managers part. I don't believe the team manager tried to break the rules to register a pick up player? When the team manager asked to register the player as a Ft Worth Metro player and add her to the roster as a pick up player is legal or not? At this point the rule book makes no claim to that. However, it is the JO of that Metro who approves the registration, and in this situation, it was the managers responsibility to follow the channels to register a player. At some point the JO or Manager of team should have known, one would think? In fact, based on information I gathered, the JO or the team manager registering the player would know through some channel of communication or online registration. There is a lot to be said to that. The fact remains Coach Thomas Flanigan was the head coach of the team, regardless of who registers the players or who signs the roster, who approves the registration, who is accountable for it or I would say it's open to opinion for sure.

Is the team manager responsible for all aspects of the team, to my knowledge even disposing of players, coaches etc.... yes! The manager of the team is not only responsible but accountable as well. Again, I am basing this on ASA facts as to who is ultimately accountable, and it's not the head coach, it's the designated Manager of the team who took and has full responsibility of the team, coaches, parents, registrations etc... I have found with most teams only one designated person to perform both roles. Most are listed as head coach / manager.

Not to place blame on anyone, including the Manager / Sponsor of the team. Based on the information I gathered the Kruzers management did everything by the book. Unfortunately, that didn't work and the team was disqualified. The ironic part of the story is the pick-up player was young, two years younger than current team members and she was added to the roster as a pick up player for emergency services if needed. In fact, the athlete never stepped foot on the field in any of the teams game. Ironic?

Coach Thomas Flanigan has battled through obstacles and led young athletes to places that only few have been. In 2009, North Texas lost a great coach; leader and motivator to fast pitch softball. Unfortunate for North Texas Athletes. Unfortunate for athletes he mentored for years, as the best finish for the Kruzers has been 33rd since his departure. My research proved worthy, and I only write based on facts, not hear say or rumors. I could not find any suspension, or any factual information that stated coach Flanigan had been suspended for a year for having an illegal pick up player at Nationals. Again, I did verify the team was disqualified. Digging as deep as I could, I found that Coach Thomas Flanigan left coaching of fast pitch softball for many other reasons.

First, I found that it's a cruel and somewhat evil softball world, at least for some in North Texas. How does, or would anyone make ridiculous statements about anyone they don't personally know? Even a man with quality leadership, character and strong will can only take so much. It is unfortunate that we lost a coach that has led North Texas athletes through mentoring programs, clinics and individual skill training.

I laugh when I write Coach Thomas Flanigan may be the Bill Belicheck of fast pitch softball, you love him or you hate him. To even mention coach Flannigan's name with Bill is an over statement to say the least. However, in the world of fast pitch softball, that's who he is. Would you play for Bill? Ummm - YES! I still hate him though, because he isn't coaching my team. He coaches the competition of my team.

In my most recent research, Coach Thomas Flanigan is in umpiring school and planning to umpire at the Division 1 Fast pitch softball level, and I have also learned recently that he may make a decision to come back to coaching fast pitch softball. Could this be true? If so, North Texas would be honored to have him coach here again.

Thank you for reading my article.

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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Softball - The Best Softball Bat For Slow Pitches

Ever wonder how some players seem to effortlessly crank softballs 275' and more while you're struggling to put one over a drawn in outfield, and your team's best power hitter is overshadowed by your opponent's bottom three in the line up. Want to know the secret for hitting for power in slow pitch softball?

One word... Bat, or rather Softball Bat. All other things equal... the bat is the greatest single difference maker when it comes to increasing distance and velocity when hitting in slow pitch softball. Now that you are aware of the bat's importance I would think you'd cancel your trip to K-mart or Target to buy a new bat for the upcoming season. It's imperative, if you're serious about becoming a power hitter, to buy the best legal softball bat you can find or afford.

So what's the best slow pitch softball bat available? We're going to review, what I have found to be, the Best 3 Bats available. This is not my personal opinion, but rather a consensus of opinions from several highly competitive slow pitch softball teams, from several different leagues.

The Easton Stealth Speed Slow Pitch Bat was in the top three evaluated. It's one of the best ASA legal bats because Easton engineers somehow figured out how to increase bat speed without altering the barrel length, which is critical to remaining ASA qualified.

It's a proven fact, whether it be baseball or softball, Bat Speed dictates power and distance which the ball travels after being struck. Whether you're a number 4, 5 or 6 hitter looking to increase home run power or the number 1, 2, or 3 hitter looking for increased on base percentage by lacing line drives through the infielder, this is the bat for you.

The only draw back of this bat is it's a little bit pricey at $400

Monday, 4 June 2012

Differences Between Softball And Baseball Gloves

ByPeter V. John

What are the real differences between a baseball glove, a fast pitch glove and an adult slow pitch softball glove? To figure this out, we need to look at what size glove is used for each sport. Baseball players tend to use sizes from 10″ up to 12.75″. Fast pitch softball players tend to use 11.5″ up to 13″. Adult slow pitch softball players tend to use gloves that range from 11.5″ up to 15″.

Most manufacturers design and create equipment more towards the baseball market than the other two markets. However, many of the glove sizes overlap in sizes 11.5″ to 12.75″ between baseball and softball.

Basic glove design is influenced on the size of the ball being used. Baseball uses a 9″ ball. Fast pitch and slow pitch softball uses either an 11″ or 12″ ball. For baseball gloves, the pocket is typically smaller and longer. Softball glove pockets typically are wider and deeper. With deeper pockets, the height of the glove is shorter. For example, a 12.75″ baseball glove will be taller than a 12.75″ softball specific glove because the softball pocket is deeper and brings glove profile down. Many manufacturers tend to "add length" to their baseball gloves to make them even with softball gloves.

The next factor is the size of the players' hands. Fast pitch gloves are geared towards female players. Typically, females have smaller hands than males. Baseball and adult slow pitch softball tend to have larger hand openings and/or finger stalls. However, not all manufacturers change their hand opening or finger stalls. Some higher-end manufacturers have slightly smaller finger stalls that form and mold to the player's hand, whether the hands are small or big.

Most softball players like to have the glove tightly clamped to their hands. To help, manufacturers add Velcro on the glove for the widest degree of adjustability. Baseball players tend to feel more comfortable with a little movement, so they tend to have standard backs.

Finally, the quality of gloves comes into play. Baseball gloves range from $50 and up to $600. Fast pitch and slow pitch softball gloves range from $50 to $200. Some manufacturers offer quality gloves around the $200 mark. Most do not offer a softball specific type above $120, pushing softball players into baseball gloves with smaller pockets. However, some high-end manufacturers like Vinci do make high-end softball gloves for the serious softball player.

In the end, it's all about what works best for the individual player! The right equipment makes for a more enjoyable and better-performing game.

Vinci has manufactured high-quality baseball gloves and equipment since 1997. Find first baseman mitts, catcher's mitts and more. Vinci softball gloves and baseball gloves are the highest in quality, durability, style and performance. When you wear a Vinci, you are part of our family.

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Sunday, 3 June 2012

Key Differences Between Softball and Baseball

Many would compare softball and baseball as extremely similar sports. While that is true, there are a few key differences. First, the actual balls are different sizes; a softball is much larger than a baseball. A softball is eleven to twelve inches in circumference and is less dense than the baseball, which is typically nine inches in circumference. Another key difference is the length of the bats used; baseball bats are often longer than their softball counterparts. A softball bat measures no longer than thirty four inches, where as a baseball bat must be no longer than 42 inches, and made of wood at the professional level (in softball, aluminum bats are used at every level).

The field used also differs in size; a baseball diamond has base paths that are ninety feet long, and softball diamonds have base paths that are thirty feet shorter at sixty feet. In softball there is what is called a "double first base" where the runner can run to in foul territory, baseball has no such base. The distance from home pate to the outfield walls also is different; in baseball, the distances vary, but in softball the distances must be constant and be no more than two hundred and fifty feet from home plate to the outfield wall.

The pitchers have different distances to work with as well; in baseball the distance from the rubber on the pitcher mound to home plate is sixty feet and 6 inches; in softball it is varied by level with amateur being forty feet, forty three feet for high school college and international, and forty six feet for men. In baseball, the mound is raised, however in softball the mound is flat, and is marked with white chalk to designate it. The pitching method is also different; in baseball an overhand motion is used, while in softball, an underhand method is generally used.

There are some similarities in the two sports, however. One of the similarities is the rules for bunting with two strikes, striking out, getting hit by a pitch, and the number of players on the field. Another very important similarity is the type of uniform, particularly the types of socks used.

A baseball sock and softball sock are very similar, and a sock that is worn in one sport can be worn while playing the other, however there is much more variety available to a consumer looking to purchase softball socks.

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Saturday, 2 June 2012

Using Softball Jewelry As Incentives for Coaching Junior Softball

Softball Clubs often hand out weekly or end of season awards such as fast food vouchers, cans of soft drink or trophies. What about a more lasting reminder of the child's achievement such as a piece of softball jewelry.

Children can then wear the softball necklace or bracelet with pride and it will act as a constant reminder of what can be achieved and show the world what game they are playing and love. Other items of Jewelry that can be given out are softball earrings or charms to add to a Charm Bracelet or keyrings.

End of season trophies are often what are given out at the end of a softball season. These are generally hidden in a room and not looked at regularly. The end of the softball season should be a time to reflection on an enjoyable and fun time. Presenting players with softball jewelry in the form of say a charm bracelet will help to ensure everybody finishes the season feeling great and this will then also encourage players to play again the following season.

This is a list of coaching ideas for the timing of giving a piece of softball jewelry.

1. Set regular quizzes regarding the rules of the game. Try acting them out so the kids can see what not to do.

2. Try skills tests against the clock on who can be fastest to pick up the field ball and get it back to the pitcher. etc

3. Each week you should see an improvement in one of the children's abilities so a Most Improved award can be given. Make sure each child ends the season with an award.

4. End of Season award parties can be a great time to give awards for Best and Fairest, Most Improved, Most consistent and Best New Player.

The winner of each of these coaching ideas will receive a cute piece of softball jewelry.

Lots of kids love to play softball. They love the team environment and getting fit and healthy with their friends. Of course some kids are more competitive that others. They like to win and be rewarded for winning. This is all well and good but rewarding progress at a skill or fair play and sportsmanship is equally important. We all achieve in different ways so be very fair in handing out prizes because if not all kids get an award at some stage they may be upset and not want to play again.

Julie is a youth softball coach and also sells a great range of Sports Jewelry including Cricket, Baseball, Football, Soccer, Netball, Hockey, Basketball, Tennis or most other sports.
So if you require Softball Jewelry you can find it all here:

http://www.juzii.net/categories/Sports-Jewelry/Baseball-Softball-Jewelry/
http://www.juzii.net/sterling-silver-i-love-softball-heart-pendant-necklace/

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