Article

Pitching – Change Ups

On the change up, if you're trying to help your pitchers motion look more like the motion on her fastball then try this: have your pitcher throw her changeup using the walk-through motion she no doubt uses during warmups. The...

 

Read More

Be an Adjustment Wizard

The wizarding world of Harry Potter has taught lots of kids the wonder of magic and the power of belief. See how Harry can help your players as well! You might be surprised that a wizard and a wand hold a...

 

Read More

Coaching – Leadership

"If we had good kings, we all would still be monarchists." ~ Lincoln Steffen As a coach you're a leader, so be a good leader. The above quote speaks to that exact issue - if all the kings in this world,...

 

Read More

2 Keys to Improve Your Slapper

Learn two critical slapping keys that one of the best slapping coaches in the country recently shared with me. Having slappers in your lineup can wreak havoc with the defense, but only if those slappers can put the ball in play,...

 

Read More

Communication – Smartphones

To help your players have a clearer picture of what you need them to do or to help them actually see what they're currently doing try using your smart phone. Instead of trying another set of words to help a...

 

Read More

My Top Takeaways from the Pitching Summit

Our recent Pitching Summit was a huge success, and while everyone couldn’t attend, here are my Pitching Summit Takeaways that will make all of your pitchers better. Discover what I learned from Lonni Alameda (Florida State), Melyssa Lombardi (U. Oklahoma), Jen...

 

Read More

Bang the Bucket – Throwing Drill

Do you feel like your team practices throwing all the time only to lose games because they can’t throw? Discover how this Bang the Bucket Drill will reinforce accuracy instead of simply release. Throwing a ball involves more than simply releasing...

 

Read More

Put Your Oxygen Mask on First

We’ve all been on airplanes and heard the flight attendant tell us that “in case of an emergency, an oxygen mask will drop down from the ceiling. Put your mask on first, before assisting others”. This sentence holds a valuable...

 

Read More

Pitching – Screwball

To help your pitcher's make their screwballs go IN instead of up have them focus on tilting their back shoulder down slightly and turning their chest toward their release point instead of forward toward home plate. This will allow them...

 

Read More

Eliminate their Not-Thoughts

With many of you playing in National Tournaments this week or next, the pressure on your players to perform really builds. How they talk to themselves can make all the difference, so help your players perform better by helping them...

 

Read More

Get Extreme to Mixup Your Pitching Workouts

Boring pitching workouts create bored pitchers, and bored pitchers are very hittable. To improve your pitcher’s movement and control try this extreme target pitching practice. Too often pitchers avoid practicing their weaker pitches and locations which leads to weak pitches and...

 

Read More

Your Hitters Only Have One Brain

The idea of having more than 1 brain is ridiculous, but in fact, it’s what many of us ask our hitters to have on every swing and every time we work with them. Find out how harmful this can be! Teaching...

 

Read More

Hitting – Batting Stance

To help your hitters get into the proper Stance with their feet, have them put the bat down and pretend like they're getting ready to field a ground ball. No doubt they'll immediately bend their knees more and shift their...

 

Read More

How to Get More Tag Outs

Tagging runners out might seem like it has everything to do with the throw. But, you might be surprised to learn there’s a secret in how you make the tag. There’s actually an art to the way your infielders receive a...

 

Read More

Catching – Throwing

Catchers spend most of their time throwing to players that are on the move hustling to cover a base in time to catch the ball and make the tag. To help your catchers with this idea of throwing to a...

 

Read More

Backwards Softball

Looking for a way to make practice more fun and yet improve your team defense, then try a little Backwards Softball. If it's hard for you to imagine how you could possibly play softball backwards, then let me show you -...

 

Read More

1-2-3-4 Scrimmage

This modified scrimmage creates competition while challenging your players to rise to the occasion and get it done, now! Check out how. Create a game-like situation that forces your players to rise to the occasion by taking away all their “do-overs”...

 

Read More

Pitching – Technique

[caption id="attachment_76" align="align right" width="250"] 2008 Softball Australia Friendship Games - Gold Pitcher[/caption] I've just discovered that a lot of young pitchers (12-17 yr olds) leap as a result of leaning their chest or head too far forward too far into...

 

Read More

Put Your Oxygen Mask on First!

No doubt you’ve heard the safety briefing a million times, but have you ever realized it applies to the softball field? You can’t take a flight without hearing a long list of things to do in the event everything goes...

 

Read More

How a Trashcan Will Improve Your Defense

Discover how the lowly trashcan will improve your defense, by helping to create throwing lanes. From doubleplays to bunts, fielders have to make plays by throwing around runners. While this isn’t easy, it’s now easier to practice using a simple trashcan. Middle...

 

Read More

A Great Indoor & Outdoor Hitting Drill

Whether you’re practicing indoors or outdoors, here’s a great hitting drill that will help your players hit the ball up the middle! The setup for this drill is pretty simple, but simple doesn’t mean easy, as your players will soon discover...

 

Read More

How to Get 68 Great Drills

Are you looking for some great Drills for making your 2017 practices better? If so, then check out our 68 proven Drills! We could all freshen up our practices with some new and exciting drills. If you’re looking for ways to...

 

Read More

3 Tips for Tackling 2017

Did you make your New Year’s resolutions? Over 140 million Americans do so you’re not alone. If you’re one of them, discover my 3 Tips for Tackling this New Year! New Year’s resolutions, while popular, fail horribly within the first 2...

 

Read More

Outfield: Judging Fly Balls

Having trouble teaching your outfielders which balls will go over their head to go back on and which ones will land in front of them to move in on? If so, then here's a quick way to help your outfielders...

 

Read More

Advice for Handling Rumors

Players love to talk and unfortunately many will talk about other players or about friends they all know. As adults we know that rumors aren't things we want to encourage as they can be damaging to people. Fortunately we can...

 

Read More

Confidence Cleats

Getting players to believe in themselves can be tough, especially during a game. That’s why confidence cleats can really help. It’s super challenging for players to keep that “one” key reminder, or phrase in their head during the chaos of a...

 

Read More

A Change of Angle Curveball Drill

Do you have a pitcher struggling with her curveball? If you’ve tried everything, then this simple change of angle drill just might do the trick. Your pitcher works hard to make her curveball work and yet she struggles getting it to...

 

Read More

3 Steps to Overcoming Failure

Today’s generation wants to avoid failure or eliminate it all together, but since failure is part of sports that’s not a very realistic approach. Instead of avoiding it, discover how to help your players overcome failure with 3 simple steps. By...

 

Read More

Hitting & Pitching Posture

If your body was a stick, keep the stick straight up and down when you're hitting - or when you're releasing the ball as a pitcher. This concept of a player's body actually being a stick helps them visualize how...

 

Read More

TEAM CHEMISTRY: NERVOUSNESS

To help your players handle their nerves during games help them understand how to control their focus in practice. When players are nervous their focus gets too big - meaning, they're thinking about big things like "we've got to win",...

 

Read More

Fielding: Count the Bounces

If you have a player that is struggling to field groundballs cleanly then try this simple tip - have them count the bounces! It's very common for infielders, even expert fielding infielders, to suddenly become fumble-hands and not be able to...

 

Read More

Are You an Arrow or the Sun

Do you struggle with getting your players to understand what you’re saying? If so then you might need to switch from being an Arrow to being a Sun. The Arrow approach is very common in coaching, but is nowhere near as...

 

Read More

Could You Coach in the WCWS?

If you’re a softball coach then this was the best weekend of the year – or at least one of them! The Women’s College World Series is the pinnacle of softball, but could you coach there? Do you have what...

 

Read More

Should Your Bunters Tilt or Not Tilt

Having a super-hitting team is great, until you come across that super-pitcher and your hitting goes on vacation. Being able to bunt will win you championships so make sure you know which method is right for you – Straight Bat...

 

Read More

3 Tips for Young Catchers

While catchers don’t seem to get a lot of coaching, they are HUGELY important to the outcome of a game. A great catcher helps make a great pitcher so discover 3 things to improve your catcher today! Catching involves lots of...

 

Read More

Pitching – Screwballs

To help your pitchers get better movement on their Screwballs have them focus on leading with the thumb into the release. This helps position the hand better for a more complete finish of the snap instead of a common screwball...

 

Read More

3 Must-Haves for a Great Tryout

Everybody holds tryouts, but holding a great one can be tricky. Make sure you have all the right Forms, Drills and Schedules to hold a Successful Tryout! On the surface, tryouts can seem pretty simple – you just pick the best...

 

Read More

Catching – Framing

To help your catchers improve their framing have them work on catching the "outside" part of the ball. Start them with their glove off and just working on hand position to the ball from a short distance using easy tosses...

 

Read More

3 Steps to the Running Slap

Another softball season is here and you’re faced with teaching your faster players to slap. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task, follow 3 simple steps and let me help you. In theory, the running slap is a dangerous weapon....

 

Read More

A Timing Drill from a Batting T

Batting T’s are great teaching tools since the ball isn’t moving they help our hitters focus more on mechanics. But they weren't helpful for timing practice – until now. Practicing timing usually takes a tossed or a pitched ball and can...

 

Read More

Baserunning – Leadoffs

Want an easy way to teach your baserunners when to start their leadoff? Any player that uses the rocker or sprinter start (if these terms are not familiar to you, check out our Baserunning eSkills) needs to start her...

 

Read More

4 Keys to Hitting a Changeup

Ever watch your players swing and miss on the changeup and wonder why they can’t hit something so slow? Well discover 4 things you can do to keep your hitters from looking like fools the next time you face that...

 

Read More

Indoor Practice

As many of you head into that part of the year when practicing indoors is your only alternative - then remember this. The next time you have to tape anything to the floor, like a base or a pitching rubber,...

 

Read More

Share it Their Way

Looking for a great way to give your players some positive messages throughout the season? Try doing it via YouTube. Simply get out your video camera and film yourself saying some kind of message to your players. You could talk...

 

Read More

Push Bunts

To help ensure that your players get their push bunts through the infielders, have them setup with their weight over their back foot and their arms close to their chest. This makes it much easier to "Push" out as the...

 

Read More

Pitching – 7 Mini Battles

To help make a 7 inning game more manageable take a tip from UCLA's head coach - Kelly Inouye-Perez - and break it down into 7 mini battles within the game. Work to win as many of these 7 different...

 

Read More

Catcher or Firstbase

If the ball keeps popping out of your catcher's or 1st Baseman's glove it's because they're squeezing their hand as the ball comes into the glove instead of letting the ball simply enter the glove on the pitch or the...

 

Read More

Hitting – Batting Helmets

Lots of hitters now have face masks on their batting helmets. These face masks can often be bulky and heavy making it hard for hitters to see over the bars (some masks) and tough to balance and control their heads....

 

Read More

Fielding – 1st Base

A 1st baseman will sometimes slightly miss tagging the 1st base bag with her foot when a throw is off the mark. Since an umpire's angle on this play is usually poor, avoid having this play called "safe" by telling...

 

Read More

Catching – Catching

"Invite the pitch" is a great way to think about how a catcher should set up for a pitcher. Everything the catcher does from her body positioning to how she holds her glove should be to help "invite the pitch"...

 

Read More

Fielding – Fielding and Receiving

To help your players do a better job of fielding groundballs, receiving throws and making quicker throws have them practice keeping their eyebrows level at all times. Whenever your players are fielding or catching a ball if their eyebrows stay...

 

Read More

Coaching – Team Chemistry

To help your players keep from getting too mad or being too hard on themselves encourage them to allow themselves to get as mad as they get happy. Since most players are too critical of themselves and never get too...

 

Read More

Baserunning on a Sacrifice Bunt

To help your baserunners have a better chance of making it safely to 2nd base anytime you call for a sacrifice bunt, have them leave just a little later than usual (instead of with the pitch) so they'll have extra...

 

Read More

1st BASE Footwork

A 1st baseman will sometimes slightly miss tagging the 1st base bag with her foot when a throw is off the mark. Since an umpire's angle on this play is usually poor, avoid having this play called "safe" by telling...

 

Read More

What are eClinics?

We get tons of questions about our various educational products and how they’re all different. This is a new addition to our newsletter that will highlight a product or category of product so you can see if we might have...

 

Read More

Catching – Low Pitches

To help your catchers get more low pitches called for strikes have them reach out more for the pitch so their elbow is almost straight, but not stiff. This allows the catcher's glove (with the ball in it) not to...

 

Read More

Baserunning – Sliding

To help ensure you're safe on a close play at a base try to notice where the fielder is positioning herself for the throw, and then be sure to slide to the opposite side of the base.

 

Read More

Pitching – Dropball (Rollover)

To help your pitcher make her Rollover Drop break more have her dribble a basketball. Avoid using the palm to dribble and use the pads of the pointerand middle fingers instead. Have her dribble a few hard, really pushing down...

 

Read More

Catching – Faster Throws

To help your catcher be able to throw quicker after she's blocked a ball in the dirt, have her lift up her throwing-side knee instead of using her hands to raise her entire body off the ground. A catcher can...

 

Read More

Fielding – Backhand Toss

Whenever your players have a short distance toss close to a base and the base is on their throwing-hand side, they'll need to use a backhand toss. An important key for this toss includes staying close to the ground by...

 

Read More

Hitting – Slapping

To help your slappers keep their slaps in fair territory instead of hitting foul balls down the 3rd base line try practicing using real softballs instead of whiffle balls or lite flight balls. Whiffle balls are so light that slappers...

 

Read More

Outfield – Flyballs

An important thing to make sure both your left and right fielders know is that any flyball that goes between where they are playing and the foul line will continue to move toward the fouline. That means that both of...

 

Read More

Hitting & Pitching – Adjustments

Getting our players to make quick and accurate adjustments is vital for being successful during games. Here are drills for hitters and pitchers to help them learn how to make better and quicker adjustments: Hitters: Have 5-10 different bats of...

 

Read More

Catching – Blocking

One of the hardest things for catchers to learn is to drop to their knees and block balls in the dirt. They've been taught their whole life to catch with their glove and now we need them to use their...

 

Read More

Pitching – Increasing Speed

To get your pitchers to throw faster they've got to get their hand moving faster at release. A good way to help make this happen is to ask your pitcher to move her hand faster in the follow-through. This...

 

Read More

Pitching – The Screwball

For anyone who has a pitcher whose screwball either isn't breaking enough, or else it's acting more like a riseball, try this. Have her enter the release point with her thumb facing forward. This will really help ensure her hand is...

 

Read More

Coaching Tip from NASA

Coaching requires a lot of quick thinking and creativity. When faced with a problem sometimes simply stepping back and getting a different perspective will allow you to find a better solution. There is a great a great fable about how...

 

Read More

Better Bunting

To help your bunters keep from bunting the ball too hard or else pushing the bottom of the ball and popping up, try this. Teach your players to Reach Early and Catch Late. This means when your player turns into...

 

Read More

Cover 2nd with your 2nd baseman

Using our Shortstop to cover 2nd base is a very traditional thing to do in softball, but it isn't always the fastest, easiest or even best method of coverage. With a runner on 1st, consider using your 2nd Baseman to cover...

 

Read More

Double Play Practice

The first out of a double play is THE most important out! To help make sure your players execute more successful double plays have your players practice feeding the ball at an upward angle toward the player that’s receiving...

 

Read More

Range on a backhand

If your players are struggling making the backhand play have them try angling back slightly on their approach to give them more time for the hard hit balls to the backhand side. This prevents the ball from getting past the...

 

Read More

Slappers: Getting More Bat Control

To help your slappers have more bat control tell them to move their hands forward as they move their back foot forward. This will allow them to keep their hands and the bat in front of their body when contacting...

 

Read More

Throwing Accuracy Tip

To help your players be much more accurate with their throws teach your players to always point the instep of their throwing-side foot (right foot for righthanded throwers and left foot for lefthanded throwers) at their target as they begin...

 

Read More

Baserunning – Heads-Up

To help your baserunners see the ball better and make better, and faster decisions, get them to run with their heads UP! It's pretty common for runners to get their heads down when trying to run fast, and while the...

 

Read More

Pitcher/Catcher Relationships

This tip provided by Michele Smith. To help pitchers and catchers work better together think about their relationship this way: Pitchers are the train and catchers are the tracks. The catchers job is to steer the pitchers where she wants her...

 

Read More

Reading Bunt Locations

The next time your team is on defense and the batter is probably going to bunt (right handed bunter), to help figure out if the bunt will be on the left or the right side of the infield have your...

 

Read More

TEAM CHEMISTRY: The Positive Promise

If you have a player or players that are really hard on themselves think about putting into place The Positive Promise. Players can't say anything bad about themselves until they first say something good. So for instance, if a player...

 

Read More

Bristow Accepts Position on NPF Board

Softball Excellence is proud to announce that Cindy Bristow has been named to the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) Board of Advisors. Cindy will serve along with the 9 other standouts including Mike Candrea, Jane Cowles, Sue Enquist, Jennie Finch, Billie...

 

Read More

TECHNIQUE FOR LEFTY SLAPPERS

Here are some quick keys for helping your lefty slappers become more consistent and effective: Line up about middle of box with bellybutton near middle of plate As pitcher delivers the ball player either takes a cross-over step with the back foot,...

 

Read More

WCWS Predictions

Think you know whose going to win this week at the WCWS? 8 Teams arrive in OKC but only one leaves crowned the National Champion. Find out what it takes to be THAT team! Way back in January, 290 Division I...

 

Read More

Baserunning – Lead-offs

A good way to help your players know when they should start their lead-offs so they don't leave too soon (before the ball leaves the pitcher's hand) or too late, is to tell them to leave as the pitcher's arm...

 

Read More

The Value of a Little Bit

Too often our players aren’t patient with anything other than making huge improvements and doing them right now. And let’s be honest, how often do those bounds in skill really happen? Discover the role that a “Little Bit” can play...

 

Read More

Why don’t I get the Newsletter?

Twice a month on Tuesdays at 6am (ET) Softball Excellence sends out its Insider Newsletter with exclusive reader deals, great softball tips, upcoming softball events and broadcasts, and instructional articles to help you become a better coach or player. Much...

 

Read More

Coaching Certification Up Close – Level 6

Continuing on with our Coaching Certification Program overview, we're highlighting Level 6 in this issue so you can see if this contains the information you need. This article looks inside Level 6 which is targeted toward more advanced coaches and players....

 

Read More

7 Levels of Excellence

Softball Excellence has an exciting 7 Level Coaching Certification program that is the first of it's kind for Softball! No other softball organization in the country can claim a comprehensive 7 Level program that educates coaches in 9 different skill...

 

Read More

Softball Down Under

Recently Softball Excellence had the pleasure of traveling to Australia to work with Softball Australia on creating Pitching Excellence Schools and to helping train their top Girls & Boys softball players. Check out the great sights we saw and see...

 

Read More

Olympic Highlight - 4 Timers

Most people grow up watching the Olympics on tv and imagining themselves standing on the medal stand hearing the national anthem play while they receive their medal, but very few of us ever get that chance. Every 4 years only...

 

Read More

Behind the Scenes of a TV Game

Most of us enjoy watching softball on TV anytime we can and since I'm fortunate enough to get behind the scenes I wanted to take you with me and show you what's involved when ESPN televises a softball game. Putting...

 

Read More

Pennsylvania On Board

Pennsylvania ASA, one of the largest and most progressive Amateur Softball Associations in the country, has selected Softball Excellence to provides online coach's training and instruction to its Junior Olympic Coaches. This landmark agreement was announced at the recent PA-ASA State...

 

Read More

Softball in Iran

Even the title sounds hard to believe - Softball in Iran! But you may be surprised just what inroads are being made in a country not known for equality for women, let alone for playing softball. Softball's an extremely popular sport...

 

Read More

7 Lessons from the WCWS

This year's Women's College World Series was terrific. There were lots of great plays, tough calls, tense moments and surprising outcomes. But among all those games and great plays I saw 7 key things that we can all learn from,...

 

Read More