Top 5 Softball Practice Drills that will Totally KILL it!

5 Softball Practice Drills to KILL it!

5 Softball Practice Drills to KILL it!

Softball practice drills is a MUST especially if you are just starting out. I am sure you have hear of the over abused phrases of all time, “Practice makes Perfect”. However I think that’s only true to a certain extend. If you are practicing daily but somehow with incorrect drills you’ve picked up somewhere, it is detrimental to your performace. Thus, I believe in “Perfect Practice” and AwesomeSoftballDrills is your one stop website to get all the knowledge you will need.

Softball is a fun sport, one that most enjoy. However, practice drills that simply involves players taking turns hitting and playing the field will get boring pretty quickly. Also, softball practice drills are a great way to teach valuable skills and also make training more competitive. When it comes to beginner softball drills, it is essential that you add a new drill with each passing practice. Lastly, when certain types of softball drills are popular among teammates, you can retain those.

Types of practice drills include hitting drills, running drills, pitching/ throwing drills, fielding drills and such.

Here are 5 softball practice drills you can incorporate into your training:

Softball Practice Drills- Hitting Drills

Hitting drills are very important, as they hone an essential part of their softball skills. Two drills that can be done to improve hitting are hitting off a tree and batting with a pitching machine especially when it comes to indoor softball drills. A live pitcher is also essential.

1) Hitting From a Tee

When it comes to hitting off the tee, it is important to remind players that they are never too old for ‘hitting from the tee’ drills. Many of the older players will likely think back to when they were six or so and played tee ball. It is necessary to remind them that even the best baseball and softball players use tees to practice. However once the players realize the importance of ‘hitting off a tee’, they will see its advantages and practice without hesitation.

When it comes to hitting off the tee practices, you need to ensure the players concentrate their stances and the positions of their hands and arms. Subsequently, the players need to make sure they step forward with the front foot, while keeping the back foot firmly planted. Keep in mind that when striking the ball, the player should do so well, i.e. all the way through the ball.

You should ensure the players focus on swinging the bat smoothly through the strike zone. Each hit should result in a line drive. Each player should have about 10 swings. You can make this drill more interesting by keeping track of all line drives and rewarding players based on their line drives.

This drill is one of the best way you as a coach can study the hitter. The coach can watch the player swing, then correct, and better areas that need improvement.

2) Fist Drill

This is another great hitting drill. This drill is meant to show the players how hand acceleration and upper body movement work during a swing. This drill is done without a bat.

First, the player starts by getting into a correct batting stance. Next, have the player drop the hand that is nearer to the pitch depending on her stance. Next, she will try punching an imaginary ball in the strike zone with the other hand, which is farther from the pitcher. The player should practice rotating the hips and shoulders as she turns to hit the imaginary ball.

This way the player can concentrate on all the possible movements her body goes through as she swings.

Next we will move on to the next softball practice drills.

Softball Practice Drills- Running Drills

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Running drills are essential, since being a strong runner is a desirable attribute both in softball and in baseball. Here are some great running drills to practice with the players.

3) Green Light, Red Light

With this drill, the player learns to run with a glove on.

The players stand on one side of the field with the coach/ trainer on the other side of the outfield facing away from the players. When the coach yells “green light”, the players run towards the coach; and when the coach yells “red light”, the layers that moves have to return to the starting point and then run from there once the coach says “green light” again. This is one of the more fun softball drills. The drill ends when a player manages to tag the coach or trainer. The coach can then decide to repeat the drill.

Softball Practice Drills- Pitching / Fielding Drills

Softball Practice Drills-Pitching Drills.png

Pitching is an important part of both the baseball and softball game. Drills that improve pitching in novice players are essential.

4) Four Corner

Four corners is a great beginner softball drills. with this drill, four players stand at each corner of a gym or field. The first player throws the ball to the second player diagonally. The second player catches and throws the ball to a player on the same side of the gym. The third player catches and throws the ball diagonally to the fourth player who catches and throws the ball back to the first player.

5) Fielding Without Gloves

With this fun softball drill, the players form two lines facing each other. The first player will slow the ball out to the player opposite her, and then run to join the end of the opposite line where the ball is yet to reach. The player with ball rolls the ball to the player opposite her in the opposite line, and then runs to join the end of that line.

The coach or trainer should ensure the players end their knees properly, cradle the ball into their bodies and ensure they are square with the ball. While watching, the coach or trainer has to study the players and make corrections to their fielding techniques.

The above are the 5 softball practice drills which will not only makes the training fun but also effective. While training hard, let’s not forgot that each softball training comes with a risk of injuring yourself like any other sports. Do continue reading to find out how you can reduce the risk factor of injuries as well as increase muscle strength.

Importance of Using J Bands

Although J bands will not directly make you throw or swing harder, it will help strengthen your muscles at the back of the shoulder. This will, in turn, reduce the risk of injury. Your body is not designed to injure itself, so your body will allow you to throw as hard as possible while resisting in the opposite direction so your shoulder would not come out of its socket. You can then throw as hard as you possibility can without getting injured.

Specialized band exercises are designed to increase the back shoulder muscle, increase joint stability, and integrity. This will enable you to use as much lower body strength and movement needed to swing and pitch at maximum velocity while reducing the risk of injury.

There are several resistance band exercises you can do such as Band Pull-Aparts, Face Pulls and Face Pulls. It is essential that you incorporate J band exercises in your softball practice drills routine 3 times a week, if possible. So hurry and get your J bands specially chosen by us at amazon at a discounted price now to outperform the rest of the players while staying safe from injuries!

Free feel to let us know about your favorite softball drills in the comment section~

The post Top 5 Softball Practice Drills that will Totally KILL it! appeared first on Awesome Softball Drills.

The Challenge of Relating to Your Players

Relating to Dani

Earlier this week I saw an interesting article in Cindy Bristow’s SE Insider newsletter. The article talked about how players have changed since “back in the day” (whenever that day was) and how coaches need to learn knew ways to communicate with them that matches their experiences.

All valid thoughts, and things I’ve seen (and experienced) before. But I think there’s another factor that is often ignored that plays into it as well – especially for more “experienced” coaches.

When coaches start out, we are usually not that much older than the players we coach. Some, such as former high school or college players, are fresh off their playing days. Which means if they are coaching in college they’re maybe no more than 4 or 5 years older than their youngest players, and a year or two older than the oldest.

Even if they are coaching high school or younger players, it’s still pretty much the same world. Their fashion sense and musical tastes are probably not quite considered “uncool” yet (although they are trending that way), so it’s easy for them to relate to players where they are in their lives.

Parent coaches are a little more removed personally, but they are very much involved in their kids’ lives. Maybe too much according to some, but they are living what their kids are living every day. That also makes it a little easier for them to relate to what is happening in their players’ lives.

Now fast forward just a few years. Coaches are now further away from their youth perspective, and have had time to lock into a more adult way of thinking. They’ve added several years of life experience that colors the way they look at things, and have had ample time to start believing “life was better back when…”

I certainly saw this coaching my two daughters, who are seven years apart in age. You can fit a lot of life into seven years, so the person I was when I started coaching my oldest daughter wasn’t quite the same person I was when I started coaching my younger one.

I was certainly more knowledgeable, not just about softball but about a lot of things. I had made many mistakes and learned many valuable lessons. I’d like to think I’d grown as a human being, and I had certainly experienced a lot more things generally than I had when I started.

All of that impacted my coaching, and my point-of-view as I would talk to and work with players. I was also seven years older than I’d been, so seven years more removed from the way I looked at the world when I was participating in competitive sports.

The point is it’s not just the players who change. Coaches change too. And as we all know, as we age there is a tendency to become more stubborn and set in our ways, less open to new ideas and experiences, and less tolerant of things that don’t align with our world view.

As a coach at any level, it’s important to be aware of it and to do all you can to battle that tendency. Your players aren’t going to learn about your youth culture, except maybe in a history class and even then they’re only going to get an abbreviated, sanitized view, so it’s up to you to learn about theirs if you want to relate to them more effectively.

Get an idea of what the music they listen to sounds like (even if it makes your eyes roll). See what TV shows and movies are popular. Understand how they use technology, and how that influences their perspective. Look into what they need to help them learn and grow, and use it.

Here’s a quick example. If you want to tell a pitcher she looks stiff, you probably don’t want to mention “Frankenstein” as an example. She may not know who that is. But if you tell her she looks like one of the Walking Dead, and then imitate a zombie, she’ll be much more likely to understand what you’re trying to tell her.

Yes, kids today are different than they used to be. And it’s not like there is a hard line that says they’re all “like this” now. It’s a gradual shift that you may not even notice until what you’re saying isn’t working anymore.

But keep in mind each of us different than we used to be, and will continue to change as we get older and more experienced. Techniques or explanations that once worked great may elicit nothing but blank stares now. In fact, the coach you used to be might still have been able to easily relate to your current players. But you’re not that coach anymore.

Making sure you can continue to communicate effectively with your players is critical to success. And it starts with recognizing that it’s not just them that’s changing. It’s you too.

Evaluate yourself where you are now. Then start figuring out how to meet your players where they are. You may find it’s not quite as tough as everyone makes it out to be.

Turning On A Light Bulb About Efficiency In Movement

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Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

Achieving efficiency in athletic movements is one of the most important principles in maximizing performance. Yet it’s also a concept that’s difficult to grasp, especially for younger players.

The drive to efficiency isn’t “fun.” It’s actually a lot of work, and usually starts with a lot more failure than success.

It also often requires breaking down a skill and working on a particular element until you get it right. Only when you can do it well is it inserted back into the overall skill.

Take pitching, for example. A pitcher may be over to throw the ball over the plate with decent speed, getting hitters out and winning MVP awards. A physically stronger pitcher may even be able to bring impressive speed naturally.

But until that pitcher develops a more efficient approach to how she throws the ball she will never find where her ceiling is.

While parents or coaches may understand that, players may not. Efficiency is kind of an abstract concept for them, especially these days when everyone is more focused on outcomes (Did we win? Did I perform well?) than development.

So, here’s a way of explaining explaining efficiency in terms they can understand.

Tell them to think about an LED light versus a traditional incandescent light bulb. (Depending on age, by the way, players may not know what “incandescent” means so you may need to reference an actual bulb at your home or somewhere else. Remember, they’re growing up in a world of compact florescents and LEDs.)

Let’s assume both lights are throwing out an equal amount of light into the room. Ask them what would it feel like if they walk up and touch the LED light. The correct answer, of course, is nothing. It’s like touching a table.

But what happens if they try to touch an old-fashioned light bulb? They’re going to get burned.

Then ask them if they know why one is hot and the other is not. It’s because 90% of the energy being consumed by the LED is being converted into light, while 10% is being lost as heat; the incandescent bulb is the opposite – 10% light, with 90% lost to heat.

In other words, the LED is very efficient because almost all of its power is being used for the purpose intended, while the traditional light bulb is very inefficient since most of its power is being wasted on something that is non-productive.

It’s the same with athletic skills. The more extraneous movements an athlete has, or the more things she does that get in the way of efficient movement, the less powerful she is. Even if she is trying as hard as she can.

But if she works on becoming efficient in the way she transfers the energy she has developed into the skill she is performing, she will maximize her power and effectiveness.

If you’re challenged with explaining the need to be efficient, give this analogy a try. Hopefully it turns into a light bulb moment for your player.

It’s a process

If Machu Picchu interests you at all, you need to make the trip to go!!

If Machu Picchu interests you at all, you need to make the trip to go!!

Well another month has come and gone, and summer is technically over, as school starts Monday. However, I am hitting the road again. I am in the Austin airport, as I type, for the first leg of our trip to Japan for Japan Cup. As always, there’s never enough time at home. Just as I got settled in, it was time to pack up again. I am glad I had time to wipe the DVR of Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, my guilty pleasure TV shows, haha. (I knew what happened on the Bachelorette but wanted to view the last 2 episodes myself).

Our last trip began in Lafayette. I always joke about not liking Lafayette, but it’s only because of the intense rivalry between Texas State and UL. I actually really enjoy when we go there. The fans love their Cajuns, but man they love softball. The turnout for our 3 games there was awesome, and their faithful fans cooked for us! I will take Crawfish Etouffee any day of the week when it’s homemade!

After Lafayette, we headed to my hometown! I love when we play in Houston. My parents still live there, but I also get to see a number of friends, teachers, coaches, etc. from all the different parts of my life. My freshman basketball coach and high school AP came to watch! I saw my cousin, his wife and their daughter in the stands. One of my best friends from high school brought his family, complete with two littles ones who were cheering me on! When the going gets tough, the reminder of who is in my corner always gives me the push I need to get through it and relish this journey. I never take for granted the people who are in my life.

After each game we have our autograph session. In Houston, it was fun to hear girls tell me their mom played with or against me. I also got to meet the cutest little girl, who just happened to be named after me! That’s a first! I almost didn’t believe them at first, and then I met this precious child, and she told me the same thing!! It’s crazy to realize just what the sphere of influence can do.

While in Houston, photographer Jade Hewitt took some amazing photos of my step-daughter watching me pitch. I have sited a few times, that she is part of my why, and it’s the truth. I want her (and other young girls) to see what hard work looks like. I want them to see hard work pay off, and I want them to see, there are no limits (age, gender, etc.) that can hold you back. If you want to accomplish a dream, set your sights and GO!

The team flew from Houston to Lima, Peru for the Pan American Games. These games are a similar set up to the Olympics, where we stay in a village with other athletes from all the Pan American countries.  It’s always fun to people watch and guess what sport others are competing in. Some of us pin traded more intently than others! I did not get too involved in the trading, but I did get a Jamaica pin, which was the highlight of pin trading for me.

I love being part of this group, as they show love, loyalty and grittiness daily.

I love being part of this group, as they show love, loyalty and grittiness daily.

We played 5 pool games, winning all of them. Personally, I pitched against Puerto Rico, and felt pretty good. It’s still taking time to get the endurance I need to meet my standards for 7 innings, but every outing is a chance to improve, reflect, and learn. I was given the ball for our semi-final game vs Canada, and I can’t report the same feeling as I had for the PR game. The interesting part of this journey is having to re-learn things, especially mentally and emotionally. Four years out of the circle means 4 years my mental toughness wasn’t tested or my emotions weren’t fluctuating up and down due to my performance. All this is natural responses, that over time you learn to harness, control and work with. I guess I assumed it would come back naturally, but that assumption was off. It’s a process… as much as I don’t want to admit it is… it is. I am learning to trust that process, and know, I am getting better, even if it’s only a little step at a time.

The biggest thing I have learned to embrace is this team I am part of. I love being part of this group, as they show love, loyalty and grittiness daily. After losing to Canada, we bounced back with two wins to earn the Gold! This team, no matter what, goes to battle with and for each other. When I felt like I had put us in a hole, they had my back, and performed amazingly on the final day. I’ve mentioned a few times, how fun this journey is, and even in the midst of adversity, it was fun!

For the first time, I had time to stay and be a tourist. My parents and husband flew to Lima to watch the games, and then we flew to Cusco and journey to Machu Picchu. I will say, if Machu Picchu interests you at all, you need to make the trip to go!! I get absolutely no kick back from this next statement, but we used PeruForLess and our whole touring trip was planned and executed with ease!! We saw Cusco Sacred Valley, an animal rescue, and of course Machu Picchu itself. Our guides were so knowledgeable and taught us so much. Our first guide, Rodney, was awesome, and knew tricks to take pano pics that showed you in 3 different spots of the view you were capturing! Fredy took us to see bears, goats, wildcats and Condors that have been rescued from either the wild or as illegal pets. We saw how they rehab Condors to fly, so they will be ready once they can release them back into the wild. Peter, he didn’t skip a detail when he walked Machu Picchu with us. Seeing the different stone work, the different tiers, and the history he had studied made the place come to life.

The Incas were an incredible group of workers. The way they cut stone and built their sacred buildings and cities are just incredible knowing the bare minimum they had during that age. Imaging transporting some of these massive stones is just impossible, but they did it. Like I said, plan a vacation and go see it!!

In the week home, Texas State moved our freshmen into their dorms, and hosted our annual Welcome Back dinner for all our families. It warmed my heart to see my kids again, and get to be part of both events. Even if it was just a short trip, it was nice to be in my own bed, in my own office, and getting back to what normal has been for me.

I look forward to this last trip of summer 2019! Maybe, just maybe, Val won’t accuse me during Mafia… and when we fly home, I bet we have more moments and memories to add to this summer.

Ta-ta for now!

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Top 8 Softball Catcher Drills You Should Know [2019]

Top 8 Softball Catcher Drills You Must Know

       In softball, it’s not how good you are, but how good you want to be. With no shadow of a doubt, softball pitcher is the most important position in the field. It is also the position that is most difficult to learn. There are lots of grounds you need to cover including mechanics, grips, accuracy, velocity and the mental game. Hence why we are covering softball catcher drills that will help you get better at the game.

        Catching is 85% mental and 15% physical, so you as a catcher need to work on thinking about the game more than playing a game. Softball catcher drills need to reflect that and mental preparation is just as important (and more) as a physical one. They don’t say for nothing that the softball pitcher’s motto is: “Stay calm and throw strikes.“

        Regardless of that both physical and mental preparations require hard work and good training. Or as a great American softball player, Michele Smith would say: “I didn’t fall out of bed to become an Olympic champion. I worked hard, I was dedicated, and I worked to perfect all aspects of my game.“

So, without further ado,  here are 8 softball catching drills you should know and integrate into your training:

Slides Drill – Softball Catcher Drills

Slide drills

       This is one of the basic softball catcher drills for beginners. This drill teaches you how to replace your feet on the ground with your knees when you shift left or right to block the pitch.

  1. The body has to be in the right angle properly toward a home plate, while the left or right leg has to be thrown so the catcher slides into proper position.
  2. You repeat drill 10- 15 times in each direction
  3. As you improve, they can make the drill more and more challenging by tossing softballs gently to your left or right so you can practice blocking that pesky ball correctly.

        The point of this fastpitch exercise is to counter the instinct to just block the ball with the glove. You do it properly when developing a habit where you are using the whole body to block the ball each time. The next progression of the drill is to incorporate the throw. So you block the ball and toss it to second base so you could throw the runner out. 

Targeting Drill for Softball Catcher

targetting drills

       Catcher’s job is also to present his/her softball gloves and itself for the pitcher to target with the right pitch.

  1. The catcher’s stance must remind the pitcher where to throw the ball. This also helps the pitcher too, so it’s one of the most important fast-pitch softball catcher’s drills.
  2. You as a catcher need to learn how to split the inside corner of the plate with the middle of your body to provide the frame of the target.
  3. Then hold your glove out to place the glove into the middle of your body from the pitcher’s perspective. The same procedure goes when the pitch is toward the other side of the plate.

Pop- Up Drills

       To emphasize a wide range of functions that softball catcher need to master, you can just look (and spend and effort to learn and perfect) pop-up softball catcher drills. When batters hit that pop up the ball it’s often catcher’s job to get the ball for an easy out.

  1. You should crouch in position while your coach (or somebody who you practice) toss softball in the air in order for you to catch above your head.
  2. Sometimes there won’t be a time to remove the mask, so a further step is to catch that pop up with your mask on. This drill teaches you to recognize these short pop-ups and don’t waste your valuable time on removing the mask.
  3. Then you can move on fast-pitch softball catcher’s drills for high pop-ups. There it’s needed to learn how to remove your mask quickly, locate the ball in the air and throw the helmet out of the air properly so you don’t step on it and get hurt.
  4. You can also practice the drill when the pop-up is behind you so it needs to turn your back toward the infield for a high pop-up.

         This drill is also good because the catcher learns to get his/her lower body right under the ball. When you need to extend the glove, it should develop you a habit of pulling the glove back into the chest protector to secure the ball in the glove. It’s mostly done in 4 to 5 sets of 5 reps each for a short pop-up, high pop-ups, and pop-ups behind the catcher. Also, pop-ups can be placed in a different location so catcher could practice locating the ball which isn’t so easy with short pop-ups. 

Goblet Squat -Softball Catcher Drills

       For a catcher, it’s important to withstand on his/her legs for a long time. This one is a great drill for building leg strength and developing a proper core alignment.

  1. You should stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a kettlebell (or dumbbell) with a hand on each of its horns (if it’s a dumbbell then you hold it in a vertical position with both hands under the top plate). They should flex your arms so your elbows point out and the weight is against the center of your chest.
  2. Then perform a squat where your weight should be over your heels and your lower back should be straight while not leaning forward with hips.
  3. Squat until your hips are below parallel or as close as you can get and then try to squat lower with every workout. When you are in the bottom position, elbows should be inside your thighs, pointing little down and toward the ground. Then, in the end, push with heels and return to the starting position.
  4. Do 4×5 reps with 8 explosive reps.

Rotational Med Ball Throw

softball catcher drills_medicine ball throw

        When the catcher is on his feet, he needs rotational power to develop arm speed so he/she can make that hard throw to the base where the runner is heading. This drill is to develop that. Also, you can use a block wall as a re-bounder.

  1. You begin in a shoulder-width stance with your feet in a heel- to- toe alignment.
  2. The medicine ball should hold approximately at the naval level (right and top left).
  3. Then rotate your trunk, shoulders, arms, and head to one side as far as possible and immediately twist back in the opposite direction to throw the ball. You should mostly focus on rotating your feet, hips, and shoulders first and finishing with your upper body.
  4. You should do 3×6 sets and 10 reps with the focus on rotational speed. 

Catcher’s Pick Off Drills

softball catcher drills_catchers pick off

       This is one drill that helps you pick off runners at 1st and 3rd. To execute it, you will need a little more people (you, pitcher third or first basemen and a batter) but it’s worth it.

  1. Have a pitcher is throwing a bucket of balls at you. He/She should not throw a hardball and throw them just over the plate.
  2. You need to do consistent work on low snap throws behind the batter.
  3. If you use the batter to hide behind, then coming up runners might not notice you as quick and you would have a better chance of picking them off.
  4. It’s also important that batter switches left-handed and right-handed positions so you could try both.

Although this is one of the softball drills that seem basic, it’s important and repetition of it really helps your game a lot.

Catcher Conditioning

        This is one of most effective softball catcher drills for building muscle and speed. You should be in full softball catchers gear without softball glove.

  1. Take the stance with both hands behind your back. In a quick-paced motion, drop right knee, pick up left knee and be in your catching stance.
  2. You shouldn’t squat any higher than the position you originally started at. 
  3. This drill is quick and effective, and beginners should start with about 10 knee drops and build it from there as the time passes. 

Runners Running – Softball Catcher Drills

softball catcher drills_runners running

       This one is fun and competitive and good not only as softball catcher drills but for the whole team.

  1. With runners standing at home, and first base coach (who is behind you) will toss the ball over your shoulder simulating a bunt.
  2. You should feel the bunt, decide which of runners to throw out and then make a throw.
  3. One point should go to defense if the runner gets thrown out at first and two points if the runner gets thrown at second. Offense earns one point for reaching second safely and a half-point for reaching first safely.
  4. Whichever team earns five points first wins. 

Shadow Drill for Softball Catchers

         This is one of the softball catcher drills that is very good for younger and older catchers to maintain being in excellent shape especially for warm weather and the long season that can take its toll on the catcher.

softball catcher drills_shadow-drill
  1. Two catchers begin the drill in the full gear facing each other.
  2. One catcher begins as a leader and simulates typical catching motions (squatting, dropping to the knees for a wild pitch, catching the pitch and throwing down a runner) while the other one “shadows” all the motions.
  3. After about 3 minutes, take a small break and have the other catcher be a leader. 

       That would be some drills that can help you improve your softball catcher game. We hope that after reading this, you would at least find inspiration for practice and improve. But always remember, the point of the game is not how well an individual does but whether the team wins.

        That is the beautiful part of the game, the blending of personalities, the mutual sacrifices for group success. You’ll forget the plays, the hits, the scores, but you’ll never forget your teammates.

practicing softball catching drills

We have come to the end of our article~ Let us know which drills are you intending to include in your training in the comment section below.

Do check out our previous article here which is on softball defensive drills. Keep going!

The post Top 8 Softball Catcher Drills You Should Know [2019] appeared first on Awesome Softball Drills.

Top 5 Best-Selling Softball Face Masks (Updated 2019)

Softball Face Guards

Here are our Top 5 Recommended Softball Face Masks sold on Amazon:

Top 5 Best-Selling Softball Face Masks (Click on link and skip to my reviews)Softball Face Masks' Images
[#1 Best Seller]
Rip-It Defense Softball Fielder's Mask (Ponytail friendly)
Softball Face Guards RIP-IT ponytail friendly multiple
[Our Recommended Choice]
Schutt Sports Softball Fielders Mask (Schutt Facemask)
Softball Face Guards Schutt
“The Grill” Defensive Fielder’s Face Mask For Softball By Champro SportsSoftball Face Guards-The Grill sideview
Rip-It Defense Pro Softball Fielder's Mask with Blackout TechnologySoftball Face Guards RIP-IT ponytail friendly
SKLZ Field Shield - Full-Face Protection MaskSoftball Face Guards-SKLZ Demo

Softball Face Masks

Why do softball players wear face masks?

Although softball is relatively a very safe sport, there is still a risk of injury. This is particularly true when you move from slow pitches to a fastpitch. The speed of the balls increases and so does the chance of injuries.

Pitcher Miranda Elish was another unfortunate incident who have been injured in the face because of the absence of a face protection gear during Texas-Alabama game on May 19. According to the tough to watch 5 seconds of video footage from twitter, she collapsed immediately after the ball flew straight into her face.

Apart from the speed of the ball, on-field collisions can occur, and players can get accidentally stroke by a batted ball or a pitch during softball practice drills or live games.

High school fast pitchers can reach pitch speeds of over 60 miles an hour. At this speed, pitches can call painful welts and even concussions during fun softball drills.

Because of all the mentioned factors, both batting helmets and softball face masks are necessary for your safety while enjoying your game.

For some position such as batter, helmets and face masks are vital, while for other positions such as for infielders, face guard is an optional choice, but of course, highly recommended because it brings in a psychological effect to allow you to focus on the game knowing that your delicate will be safe and protected.

There are parents and coaches who complain about their kids having to wear a softball face mask, as the kid is not used to wearing face masks and as such gets in the way of their game. Some also say when they buy softball face guards; the cost eats into the budgets.

However, safety must always come first!

In addition, the sooner the kid starts wearing a softball face guard, the sooner she will get acclimatized to it.

What is the best softball face guards’ material?

Plastic or metal? That might be the question you will ask. The short answer is “it depends”. That’s because it highly depends on the age of the player. Plastic is more economical while metal is of higher quality and therefore more durable.

If your child is still growing, it might be good to get them a plastic face guard because they will soon outgrow it.

However, if you know you haven’t been shopping for apparel in months, you can probably consider investing a metal one.

Now we’ve come to our highly recommended face masks for your selection.


Top 5 Best-Selling Softball Face Masks

1) “The Grill” Defensive Fielder’s Face Mask For Softball By Champro Sports


Softball Face Masks Softball Face Masks-The Grill sideview

“The Grill” Defensive Fielder’s Face shield is a metallic face mask comes in 7 different colors and two sizes for youth and adults. This face mask is excellent for softball drills and games.

It’s a highly recommended softball equipment on Amazon. 

Get yours today by clicking the button below:

FIELDER’S FACE MASK

Pros /Reasons to buy this face mask:

  • Your view on the whole field will never need to be blocked by the narrow opening of the mask anymore because it has a really wide eye-opening. No more compromising of view over safety!
  • “The Grill” Defensive Fielder’s Face mask great details to engineering and design have enabled you to enjoy the true lightweight of a mask you deserved as well as getting you the most out of slight lines because of it’s low profile flat beam.
  • If you have a ponytail, worry no more about ruining it because of wearing a face mask because this face mask has a ponytail slot where you can just comfortably let your hair rest there while focusing on your game.
  • It also comes with an adjustable harness to fit perfectly to your face.
  • To make things even better, the chin cup is adjustable which will make your chin feels comfortable throughout your practice.
  • Best of all the customer reviews of this product is overwhelmingly strong, meaning buyers were very pleased with this softball face mask!

Cons of this product:

  • The youth-size ‘6 ¼ – 6 ¾’ may still be too big for the very young kids.
  • The chin cup may come off after a while depending on the care.

Check out more reviews of “The Grill” on Amazon.


 

2) RIP-IT DEFENSE PRO SOFTBALL FIELDER’S MASK WITH BLACKOUT TECHNOLOGY

Softball Face Masks RIP-ITSoftball Face Masks RIP-IT multiple

The RIP-IT Defense Pro Softball Fielder’s Mask with Blackout Technology by RIP-IT has the best quality among the vast brands of softball face masks on the market which explains why the price is a little steep as compared to their competitors.

This face mask comes in two sizes – Youth, and Adult. One of it’s best selling features is it’s superior wide-angle viewing where it offers softball players the best vision possible.

Get yours today by clicking the button below:

Rip-It Softball Mask

Rip it face mask features

Pros /Reasons to buy this face mask:

  • The RIP-IT Defense Pro Softball Fielder’s Mask’s wide eye-opening and design allows for uninhibited visibility and has features such as glare-reducing technology and moisture-wicking pads.
  • You would not need to be affected on sunny days by the glaring sunlight because this face mask has an awesome blackout technology which reduces glare and maximizes visibility. This is ideal if you are playing outdoors frequently. 
  • This face mask uses variable flex technology to minimize the weight of the face mask while reducing the force of impact. Some even say that you would not realised the presence of it because of its lightweight feature as compared to some other face masks they previously owned.
  • The chin cup is adjustable which will fit the shape of your face perfectly.
  • Unlike other face masks, this is the one that will fall in love with.

Con of this product:

  • The price is higher due to it’s higher quality as compared to other face masks’ brands.

Check out the reviews of “Rip It” on Amazon.


 

3) SKLZ FIELD SHIELD – FULL-FACE PROTECTION MASK

Softball Face Masks-SKLZSoftball Face Masks-SKLZ Demo

The SKLZ Field Shield – Full-Face Protection Mask by SKLZ is one of the best selling softball face masks for both kids and adults. This is one of the few face masks that are not metallic, making it very lightweight.

Do not be deceived, the polycarbonate material it is constructed of is extremely durable and is shatterproof.

Get yours today by clicking the button below:

SKLZ FIELD SHIELD

Pros /Reasons to buy this face mask.

  • The SKLZ Field Shield – Full-Face Protection Mask is designed for full visibility and ventilation. That means with this new mask, there is no need to feel your warm breath inside your old mask no more! Furthermore, you still get to enjoy the full view of the field.
  • This face mask is very light and as such, it will not hinder your game in no way. As stated, this is made of polycarbonate material which are often used in engineering because they are super strong and tough material which are used to build things to last.
  • No more dangling face mask while running because SKLZ field mask has a chin cup that is adjustable so it will ensure you with a secure and comfortable fit.
  • The customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

Con of this face guard:

  • The chin pad may come off after a while depending on your frequency of usage as well as handling.

Check out the reviews of “SKLZ” at Amazon.


 

4) RIP-IT DEFENSE SOFTBALL FIELDER’S MASK – LIGHTWEIGHT SECURE FIT PROVIDES MAXIMUM PROTECTION AND COMFORT – DOES NOT OBSTRUCT VIEW – PONYTAIL FRIENDLY

Softball Face Masks RIP-IT ponytail friendlySoftball Face Masks RIP-IT ponytail friendly multiple

The RIP-IT Defense Softball Fielder’s Mask – Lightweight Secure Fit by RIP-IT is definitely a must-have it you are looking within the range of super light softball face masks that will not hinder your fun softball drills and games in no way.

Get yours today by clicking the button below:

rip-it face masks

Pros /Reasons to buy this face mask.

  • The RIP-IT Defense Softball Fielder’s Mask is very open, and lightweight as such it ensures you have your full visibility, movement, and ventilation which are vital during practice and games. 
  • This face mask is extremely strong and will protect your face from all manner of impact, from fast pitches to batted balls. It will increase your overall performance as a result because you will not have to worry about getting smashed in the face with this piece of protection. 
  • This face mask is extremely comfortable because it is designed for comfort, even the ponytail friendly strap increases comfort. You do not have to be affected by the swinging of your ponytail no more and will be able to give all your attention to what’s happening on the field. 
  • The chin cup is adjustable. This ensures the RIP-IT Defense Softball Fielder’s Mask is always secure and fits you comfortable throughout the whole game.
  • The customer reviews are extremely positive.

Con of this product:

  • The sizing listed can be tricky as the adult size failed to fit several players, especially the adults.

Check out the reviews of “Rip-It Lightweight” on Amazon.


 

5) Schutt Sports Softball Fielders Mask (Schutt Facemask)

Softball Face Masks Schutt

The Schutt Sports Softball Fielders Mask is one of the face masks that is loved by its many of its users. This face mask allows for both comfort and functionality. It has one of the highest ratings under the softball face mask category on Amazon.

Get yours today by clicking the button below:

schutt titanium fielders mask

Pros /Reasons to buy this face mask:

  • The Schutt Sports Softball Fielders Mask is a lightweight face mask that is not only open but also allows for an unobstructed full-field view that you desired.
  • This face mask provides great dental and facial protection. With this in your head, you can set your mind at ease and focus on your game. You can also ensure that your teeth will be in good condition throughout your softball journey. 
  • The adjustable harness and chin cup allows it to fit players of different sizes and ages. You do not need to worry if you have an extremely small or huge face shape because of that. 
  • The customer reviews of the Schutt Sports Softball Fielders Mask are extra positive.

Con of this product:

  • Some users complained that the chin foam comes off a lot.

Check out the reviews of “Schutt” on Amazon.


Which one will you choose?

Now, we have come to the end of the list for our top 5 recommended softball face masks~

Will you go for plastic or metal?

Will you go for anti-glare technology?

Or will you go for the #1 Best Selling face guard
“Rip-It Defense Softball Fielder’s Mask”?

Personally, I would recommend you to go for the Schutt Sports Softball Fielders Mask (Schutt Facemask) because of the great quality, comfort as well as its fitting. 

Do let us know about your favorite face mask(s) in the comment section below.

If you are still in the midst of shopping for equipment, I’ve and will continue to provide you with high-quality reviews post. This is dedicated to you to make your best-informed purchasing decision.

Don’t forget to check out our previous article on softball hitting drills.

 

The post Top 5 Best-Selling Softball Face Masks (Updated 2019) appeared first on Awesome Softball Drills.

TOP 3 Softball Drills every 14u Players Must Know

TOP 3 Softball Drills every 14u Players Must Know

TOP 3 Softball Drills every 14u Players Must Know

I get asked alot on this questions. What are the Softball Drills every 14u Players Must Know? In this post, you will learn the exact step by step drills and I wish to ask you a favour. Please share with me which is favourite one in the comments section at the bottom.

It is important that practice sections include drills. Drills are a way to hone the skills and technique of young players to their top notch potential in a fun way, especially at the 14u level. Before we go on to talk about the top softball drills every 14u players must know of, lets go abit nerdy and discuss about 14u.

What is the definition of 14u in softball?

14u means 14 years and under as of January 1st of the year, the players are playing. This is the age limit of the players. This means a 15-year-old who was 14 as of January 1st of the year she tried out qualifies to play in a 14u team.

Here are the top 3 Softball Drills every 14u players must know:

1) 20-Ball Challenge

This is one of the more intense youth softball drills that improves fielding and is perfect for 14u.

Here is how the drill goes:

  • Start by putting up 2 cones, which are about 12 yards apart.
  • Now place a player between the cones even when they start get weary, and players at each cone.
  • The coach will then field 20 balls very quickly to the player in the middle. If the ball is field to the receiver’s left, she will toss it to the player to her left, and if the coach fields the ball to the receiver’s right, the receiver will toss the ball to her right.
  • When the receiver fields the ball properly, she gets a point. If the receiver does not field the ball properly (such as using her backhand to field when she gets behind the ball), she receives no points.

The focus of this drill is to ensure that the players learn to maintain good fielding even when they start to get weary.

Next off in our “TOP 3 Softball Drills every 14u Players Must Know” list:

2) Spray Hitting Drill

This is one of the best outdoor/ indoor softball drills, and this drill will help players with their short rapid swing. These fun softball drills are all about bat control. This drill also improves fielding.

The following is the drill:

  • Start by having three fielders stand about 4 feet away from each other. The batter should be about 22 feet from the fielders.
  • The batter, without a pitch, attempt to hit a ball to one of the fielders as determined by the coach, then the batter will move onto the other fielder doing similar.
    • The fielders can fielders throw to the first, and a first baseman throws it home for the batter.
  • The key of this drill is to ensure the ball is as close as possible to the fielders.
  • Ensure all the players get to bat.

Lets check out the final drill from our “Top 3 softball drills every 14u players must know” list

3) Multi-Ball Hitting Drill

TOP 3 Softball Drills every 14u Players Must Know-Multi Ball Hitting Drill

This is another excellent hitting drill to practice with your 14u team.  This fun softball drill will develop the player’s concentration and it will also correct body movement. It is the job of the coach to ensure they are correcting any bad forms.

Below is the drill:

  • The coach starts by having two balls of two colors.
  • The coach will then throw both balls towards the batter. As soon as the coach let the balls go, she or he shouts out a color of the ball the batter should hit.
  • The batter is awarded a point if she is able to hit the right ball.
  • This will greatly improve the reflex of the player, quick hand to eye coordination and quick thinking.
  • Each batter will get 10 tries before the coach moves on to the next player.

Catchers and fielders can also be included in this drill. After the batter hits the ball, the ball can be fielded. The coach’s throws should vary. Some of the tosses should be low tosses while others should be high tosses. This will keep the batter guessing and thus improve her concentration and also help the coach notice and correct body movement just in case.

BONUS: Team Effort is Key

TOP 3 Softball Drills every 14u Players Must Know-Team Effort is KEY

It is essential that you include both drills that teach team effort and drills that improve the players individually. Scoring will help keep the drills fun and competitive that way the players will give their best. Going over the basics and doing practice as you should come first. Drills will help keep practice sessions fun and upbeat.

Free feel to share with us in the comment section below on your opinions or questions you might have about those drills mentioned above for 14u.

The post TOP 3 Softball Drills every 14u Players Must Know appeared first on Awesome Softball Drills.

My Pitching Story

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My story (inspired or asked for by Amanda Scarborough on Instagram):

I actually quit softball after 1 season in 1st grade. Two leagues had split and we had 1st-5th graders playing together, and it was kids pitch.

When I was 10, I wanted a change from soccer and my dad suggested I try softball again. We signed me up for Bear Creek Little League. Being left handed and inexperienced, I was ‘playing’ outfield. Due to rain outs and pitching rules, our pitchers had used up their innings. Our coach asked who wanted to pitch... I volunteered, and I struck someone out. I asked my dad for pitching lessons for my 11th birthday and he granted it! The rest (with a lot of hard work and failure mixed in) is history!

I love our game, but I love working to perfect the art of pitching more. Pitching is what I truly fell in love with ❤️ What got you started? What do you love about it?

FUN Softball Drills: You’ll look forward to your next training with these drills!

Fun Softball Drills Everyone Should Know

Fun Softball Drills Everyone Should Know

I suppose you might find the term “Fun Softball Drills” might be hard to believe because drills are usually dry, repetitive and…boring. However, it is not impossible and in this post, I will give you a couple of fun softball drills ideas to spice up your next training and make sure you look forward to your future ones.

Softball practice can get boring at times, that is why it is vital to include some fun softball drills in practice. This way, the players hone their skills and physique while having fun. Drills should include fielding and throwing, running, and hitting.

The following are some of the BEST Fun Softball Drills you need to learn!

Fun Softball Drills –> HITTING DRILL

A vital part of softball is hitting. This will help improve technique, positioning, and hitting. The first fun softball drill we will look at will be a hitting drill called Don’t Miss.

1) Don’t Miss

This beginner softball drill is designed to teach and improve correct placement of the bat once the ball has been hit, and emphasizes contact with ball.

Equipment for the drill:

  • a ball,
  • a bat,
  • a hula hoop
  • a tee,
  • and gloves for the players

Here is the drill:

  • Start by creating two sides: batters and fielders. The fielders will go about their business as usual. The batters will hit the ball from a tee, one after the other. The focus should be on making solid and thorough contact with the ball.
  • After the player strikes the ball, she will have to toss the bat into the hula hoop next to home base and then run to first. However, if the player missing the ball or hits the tee, it is a strike. Each player has 3 strikes before they are out.
  • The player also has to make sure the bat is placed in the hula hoop before running to first. If the player fails to do that, it is an out.

2) Hit the Coach

This is an amazingly fun indoor softball drills that will teach young players how to throw the ball. The focus of this drill is accuracy.

Here is the drill:

  • Just like the previous drill, the players will form a line facing the trainer. The players should then try to hit the trainer with a soft ball such as a small rubber or foam ball when the trainer asks them to start the game.
  • The trainer should then make it as hard as possible for the players to hit him or her. After the players have thrown their balls, they can go retrieve it and get right back in line.
  • If the trainer is hit three times, he or she will have to do a silly dance or something silly as suggested by the players.

Fun Softball Drills –> RUNNING DRILL

Fun Softball Drills Running

Since running is a vital part of both softball and baseball, it is necessary for drills to include running. Here is a wonderful running drill to consider.

3) Red Light Green Light

Although this may be seen as a beginner’s softball drill, it is one that all teams can do. This drill will ensure players are used to running with their gloves on, and a ball in his or her hand.

Here is the drill:

  • For this drill, the players will need to have a glove and a ball. The players will form a straight line facing the trainer. The line should be about 60 to 90 feet from the trainer.
  • When the trainer says the word green light, the players should run towards the trainer. When the trainer says the words red light, the players spin around.
  • Any player moving when he says red light will be out.
  • The game ends when a player finally tags the trainer.

Fun Softball Drills –>  CATCHING DRILL

4) Look Up

Fun Softball Drills Catching

Finally, lets move on to the catching drill, which will help the young preteen players gather fly balls in the outfield. However, one of the main problems that many beginning players face is feeling comfortable looking up to catch fly balls. This means it is important that players feel comfortable doing this. The ‘Look Up’ drill will help them catch fly balls with more ease.

This is a simple drill that requires small soft balls such as rubber balls and as many tall people as you can find. The tall players will stand by the young players and drop the balls over their heads. The job of the players is to try to catch the ball. You can start them off with no gloves then move them up to gloves on.

Still wanting to learn more fun softball drills? We heard you! Here’s a short informative video on more innovative softball drills for you! Enjoy~

We have come to the end of our list of fun softball drills and hope you enjoyed it! Let us now move on to understand how can we reduce or minimize injuries during training sessions by having the correct softball equipment.

Importance of Buying Suitable Softball Gloves

To get the best out of players while ensuring their safety, suitable equipment for that sport is necessary. There are a lot of important equipment needed when playing softball such as softball gloves/mitt, bat, batting helmet, sliding shorts and sliders, and catcher’s equipment.

With the speed of the balls, having suitable gloves is vital. The gloves are equipment made to protect players when catching softballs. Suitable softball gloves will help reduce the impact of flying ball, thus reducing the risk of injury. Hence, that makes them a must-have.

Get our recommended softball gloves at amazon now by clicking on this link~

If you are someone who goes for quality softball equipment, you will need to check out our post on the top 5 best-selling softball face guards recommended and reviewed by us~

Share with us which are your preferred softball drills which you enjoyed using the most below~

And also, don’t forgot to check out our previous article: TOP 3 Softball Drills every 14u Players Must Know

The post FUN Softball Drills: You’ll look forward to your next training with these drills! appeared first on Awesome Softball Drills.

The greats work hard when it’s hard to work

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Where to start…

There have been so many times I’ve thought of blogging over the last month, but to be honest, I don’t think I ever had enough time to put all my thoughts in order. That being said, I am going to do my best to cover as much as I can without writing a full-blown novel. 

I know I never really used my own avenues to explain the decision to return to the field. I let Graham Hays, ESPNW, to break the story, as he has always been a huge advocate for softball. The decision for me was not a long thought out process. Long story short, Kelly Kretschman was in San Marcos visiting, she told Coach Woodard she thought I still wanted to play. Days later, Coach told me if I wanted to try and go for 2020, we would make it work. I’m not lying when I say, I had not thought of the idea for a while, but my heart jumped when I heard those words. I got home, discussed it with my husband, and it was decided. This was in October 2017, so a year and 9 months later, I am completely happy we made this decision. It was a team decision, and I am so fortunate that I have a husband, step-daughter and massive amounts of family and friends that support our decision. It’s been pretty awesome to have the tribe of people in my corner that I do!

In May, USA Softball had our Gold Gala fundraiser in Oklahoma City.

In May, USA Softball had our Gold Gala fundraiser in Oklahoma City.

Leading up to June, the most nerve-wracking unknown for me was how would I fit in or get along with the women on the team. A good number of them have been on Team USA for a few years, so there is a bond. Monica and Shelby Pendley were the only two athletes I have ever been on a team with. Val Arioto game into the USA program the last year I was part of it. So, my familiarity with the team members was limited. In May, USA Softball had our Gold Gala fundraiser in Oklahoma City. This was a great opportunity to not only meet, see and hangout with teammates, but we also got on the field together a bit. I was soaking up all opportunities to chat with my new teammates. The transition in joining this team was so smooth. I can’t say enough how welcoming and accepting this group was.

Personally, I can’t put into words what it’s like to be back on the field. I love it! I am having so much fun. The process to getting comfortable and feeling like I used to, was frustrating at times, longer than I wanted, but it was something I had to go through. It’s a reminder to me as a player and coach, to put in the work, trust the work and the process. We are not in control of the length of it! But working towards that, and seeing it play out, that has been FUN.

I can’t put into words what it’s like to be back on the field.

I can’t put into words what it’s like to be back on the field.

Chicago was where we began. We practiced, we trained, we were learning while trying to be game ready. Before games started, we got the opportunity to be on the field at the White Sox game in honor of Olympic Day. It was a great opportunity to promote Softball being back in the Olympics and showcase Team USA.

We played 4 exhibition games, after only 3 days of being together. This is a quick turnaround to be on the field. Each outing, we were working, improving, learning. Pitching wise, I felt ok. But in my mind, I knew it was first competitive innings for me since August 2015. While I wanted to be in top shape, I knew that’s not how this would happen. However, I was able to feel a little better each outing and take away progress every time.

Then we were off to Japan! I haven’t been on that long of a flight in a LONG time, and I forgot that I rarely sleep on those flights. Thankfully Netflix, movies and some books kept me occupied. Off the field in Japan was an amazing experience. We opened in Sendai, which is close to the area the Tsunami hit in 2011. We took a trip to an Elementary school, that now serves as a memorial to the Tsunami. This school was an evacuation site for many citizens of the area. Everyone that evacuated there was rescued safely, but not before they watched as the Tsunami struck their town. We were escorted to the roof of the school, where the evacuees awaited rescue, and from there they watched as parts of houses, cars, etc. floated away. I can’t imagine what that was like. There were pictures of cars and debris that came through school windows on the bottom floors. The devastation was unbelievable.

After this visit, we visited a Junior High, where they welcomed us with open arms. We introduced ourselves. They asked us some good questions about how to handle pressure and other aspects of life and our game. We did a pitching demonstration for them, and it ended with their yell leaders leading a cheer or chant for us. It was an afternoon full of plenty of smiles on both sides.

Playing in Japan was amazing. The crowds were awesome. They love softball there, and it is always on display. Our 3rd game had over 22,000 people in their Tokyo Dome. That’s just mind blowing!

You guys all got to follow and watch International Cup!! It was a great week, where we could feel ourselves growing together each day, each game. It was a blast to be part of. I hit my stride in the circle. The feeling of the ball coming off my fingers was like days of old. It’s crazy the emotions you get when things finally click. When the last out was made on Sunday, I almost cried. I think I’ve only cried over the ending of 3 games in my life, and two of those were not wins. The tears came from deep within. I was so excited to be part of this first Gold with this team.

I am looking forward to getting back with the team soon.

I am looking forward to getting back with the team soon.

In the last month, we have had 2-a-days a lot, we’ve had double headers, single games, testing… you name it. It was tiring, it was hard, but at the end of every single day, I was so honored to be wearing USA across my chest again and working with 17 women towards a goal. This past year at Texas State, I told my kids “the greats work hard when it’s hard to work.” This is the epitome of the last month. It was hard, but together we conquered it.

Summer isn’t over. We still have exhibitions in Lafayette and Houston before heading to the Pan American games in Peru. I’m excited to stay a few days past the Pan Ams and see Machu Picchu with my family. We’ll end our summer with Japan Cup in Aug/Sept. I am looking forward to getting back with the team soon.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this first month… I have absolutely no regrets in putting the cleats back on. The workouts, bullpens, conditioning (all done solo for the most part) were completely worth being able to represent the Red, White and Blue every day.

Sorry this turned into a novel!

Until next time…

❤️
#38