How to develop fastpitch softball players
Training and teaching fast-pitch softball players is similar to developing baseball players, but there are critical differences. This article will cover the basics that coaches and parents need to know. This video clip from ClubHouseGas includes suggestions from high school coaches.
- Softhands SH-PRO Fielding Trainer
- Louisville Slugger Big Kids Instructo-Swing
Understand the challenge of playing fastpitch softball at the select level. Good pitchers dominate, throwing from short distances (35 to 43 feet, depending on the age) with great velocity and variety. Hitters must develop quick swings. The compact infield and shorter base paths put a premium on bunting and "slap" hitting.
Jennie Finch, the master
The "windmill" pitching motion is more natural than the overhand baseball pitching motion. It puts less stress on shoulders and elbows. Pitchers are able to work several games during a weekend tournament. But the motion is difficult to master without the help of an expert instructor or experienced pitcher.
A good fastpitch softball swing is even more compact than a good baseball swing. The bats cuts a diagonal path through the strike zone, from high to low. A good tool to teach this swing is the Louisville Slugger Big Kids Instructo-Swing.
An athlete with exceptional speed may want to master "slap" hitting. From the left side of the plate, the hitter moves forward in the batter' s box while bunting or slapping the ball into the ground. The hitter can get well down the first baseline before a fielder can reach the ball. There are several good examples of that in the Arizona-Arizona State highlight video.
Infielders must possess great reflexes. Third basemen usually play in tight to take away the bunt. Second basemen often play in tight against slap hitters. First basemen and pitchers must charge bunts, too, while the second baseman covers first. Shortstops must field everything cleanly. The "softhands" fielding tool helps infielders develop the needed dexterity.
Good catchers have great value in the fastpitch game. They must be able to field bunts, control the running game, avoid passed balls and take away wild pitches. Catchers must develop quick glove-to-throwing- hand exchanges, great arm strength and excellent pitch blocking skills.
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