Softball Catcher Tips to Help Improve Your Game
It is difficult to be a softball catcher. If you want to learn about some of our best softball catcher tips, you should click here.
Whether you are the catcher or the coach for a softball team, you must always work to improve your game or your players' games. There is always room for improvement, even for the best softball catchers. Practicing each day is a great way to stay on top of your game, but there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind as well.
Being or coaching a softball catcher isn't always easy. There's a lot more involved with this position than simply catching a ball as the name would imply. If you want to keep up with the best in the game, you need to do a bit of research.
If you want to dominate the game and help your team succeed, check out this list of some of our best softball catcher tips!
1. Help the Pitcher
A good catcher helps the pitcher during a game. A great fast-pitch catcher will know how to catch a ball with a form that makes even an average pitch look like a perfect strike! But catching balls with style isn't the only responsibility that the catcher has.
The catcher also needs to know how to save runs from happening by blocking pitches that are thrown in the dirt. A great catcher should block the corners off as well to prevent runners from stealing a base. Softball catchers need to know how to call a pitch and know how to observe the batters.
Observing the batters helps the catcher know each batter's tendencies and weaknesses. The catcher will then use this knowledge against the batters.
2. Play the Leadership Role
Sure, the pitcher on the team might be in the spotlight more than the catcher, but this is not to take any glory away from the catcher. The catcher in softball is equivalent to the quarterback in football. Catchers are always facing towards the action of the game.
Catchers are the ones in control of where the ball goes. They are the ones who make that call. Because of this, the catcher has a strong leadership role in the game.
A great catcher shouldn't be afraid to yell out where the play should be and any other directions concerning the play.
3. Control Base Runners
The catcher also has control over the base runners. Keep in mind that in the catcher position, it's your job to stop the base runners from stealing bases. You'll need to be aware of yourself, the game, and a good strategy.
It's essential to keep in mind that you have to divide your focus into both the runners and the batters. This is one of the main reasons why the catcher position is such a hard one to play. In many cases, the catcher will need to keep the focus on the batter rather than the runner.
This is something that a good catcher will know how to determine. It's all about understanding the game, where the team stands in the game such as runs and runners on bases, and more. If a speedster is on first and there's one out in a close game, there's a good chance the runner will attempt to steal. The catcher will need to keep an eye on this player and call for a pitchout to cut the runner off if they think they're going to run.
4. Practice Throwing Drills
As a softball player, no matter what position you're playing, you can never get enough practice. As a catcher, you'll want to practice throwing drills when possible. The catcher's footwork needs to be quick and strong to pop up fast and hit the target directly.
The way you throw the ball is your throwing position, and it's something that you want to have down pat. Performing a throwing drill practice regularly is going to help with muscle memory. Once you build this muscle memory, you'll be able to quickly stand up and throw with strength.
5. Get Your Body Behind It
Don't always rely on your glove to catch the ball for you. You should work on getting your body behind the ball and your catches. Set yourself up behind the plate to catch the ball with your entire body, not only your glove.
Use your body to block the ball and stop it from getting behind you. To practice this skill, a coach can use tennis balls and throw them at the catcher. Each throw should become wider and wider.
This forces the catcher to move around and block the ball with their body. If you do this drill enough, blocking will become second nature to you.
6. Know Your Pitcher
If the catcher and pitcher work together during every game and practice, the catcher becomes familiar with the pitcher's tendencies and will know when there's a problem. A good catcher will notice any issues and walk out to the pitcher to communicate these issues to him or her.
The pitcher will then be able to correct the problem. The catcher has a front-row seat for each pitch, which makes them a real-time review tape. As a catcher, you should know the pitcher better than any other teammate. The pitcher should be the one that the catcher communicates with the most.
Every Softball Catcher Needs a Trading Pin!
Knowing these six softball catcher tips is the best way to ensure that you play every game to the best of your abilities. Do you want to improve the teamwork on your team? To raise your spirits more, you and your entire team need softball trading pins!
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4 Softball Drills for Beginners: Youth Softball Drill Guide
Looking for some drills to hit the ground running this season? Use these 4 softball drills for beginners to learn the fundamentals of softball.
If you knew that baseball was America's favorite past time, you might not know that softball is almost as popular. Recent studies estimate that about 40 million Americans play a softball game each year!
Whether you are a new team coach or a proud parent, there are great softball drills that will help build all the necessary skills.
We have gathered a few of our favorite drills to help you get started. Keep reading to learn which drills can help your team get out of the dugout and into the game!
1. Home to First Base Drill
Many players have the tendency to lurch forward or to stop dead on first base instead of running past it. The good news is that this mistake is easy to correct.
To complete this drill, have the "batter" stand in the box and pretend to hit a ball on the coach's signal. As soon as they swing, they run full speed towards first base, run past it a few steps (making sure to touch the bag with their foot) circle around towards the first base dugout and come to a stop on the first base bag.
Line up the whole team to make this a relay drill!
2. Parachute Hitting Drill
Tie a plastic bag, a bat parachute, or even a bat weight to the end of the bat and swing away! Do not try to hit a ball like this, but practice swinging as if you were trying to hit a ball.
This drill teaches players to swing through the ball instead of stopping at the point of impact. Once mastered, this drill is excellent for developing a more powerful swing.
3. Grounding Drill
This drill's purpose is to help players pick up and throw a ball that hits the ground and rolls towards them.
The player should have a wide stance with bent knees with the bare hand placed on top of the glove forming a "V" with the wrists touching.
Hit a ball towards the ground in front of the player. Their goal will be to place the glove in front of themselves in the trajectory of the ball and, once the ball rolls into the glove, the bare hand snaps closed like a rat trap over the ball.
After that, the bare (throwing) hand pulls the ball out of the glove and proceeds to throw the ball to the baseman.
4. Best Softball Drills for Pitchers
One of the first things you should do is figure out what every player's strengths are and put the "aces in their places". Not everyone can play every position well and making sure your team has the right player in the right places can help the team dynamic function better.
After you identify your pitcher, have them run through a windmill pitching drill.
For this drill, start with the pitching motion without the ball. Once you have your form down, then add a ball.
The three main aspects to focus on during this style of pitching are your balance, the wrist snap, and the hip close.
Let's Play Ball!
Once you get your team together and you run a few of these softball drills, you will be ready to hit the field and start practicing!
Make sure you help build team rapport by doing something fun to bring everyone together. Have a team building party or make a unique pin for the team so everyone can represent their team when they are out of uniform too!
If you have questions about this article or if you would like a quote on your own custom team trading pins, contact us today!
Are you looking to help your players get more power behind their softball swing? Read on to learn 5 tips for a more powerful swing.
Did you know that nearly 10 million Americans play softball in a given year? Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice on the field, we all want to know some tricks to improve our game.
Are you looking to get more power behind your softball swing? We've got you covered.
Let's get to the top tips you need to know!
1. Use The Right Grip
When you grip the bat, you need to focus on applying your pressure with your fingers- not your palms.
Place the top hand against the bottom hand with the middle knuckles aligned straightly. You want to maintain a relaxed grip, so your wrists still have some flexibility.
2. Mind The Elbows
Many softball players mistakenly keep their elbows up when swinging. This works against gravity. In this position, you have actually to work harder to swing.
Instead, you want to focus on dropping the shoulder and keeping the elbows down. At this point, the front arm remains at a 90-degree angle.
3. Power Your Stance
Your stance must remain level at all times. To do this, you want to focus on both your hips and your knees.
The knees can be slightly bent, but the back should remain straight. Focus on evenly distributing your weight on the balls of your feet.
Keep yourself in the center of the batter's box. Feet should remain parallel to the home plate direction. Keep them dug in at about a shoulder-width distance apart.
4. Dominate Your Stride
As the pitcher begins to release, you need to focus on your stride. The stride creates the momentum, which sets you up for your contact.
To do this, you can cock your hips and turn in the front shoulder (making sure it's lower than the back shoulder). Keep the hips parallel.
Your hands move as your hips and shoulder turn. After the stride, your hands turn slightly toward the bottom hand.
You will then shift your weight back onto the inside of your back foot. At this point, you are in hitting position, and you are ready to make contact.
5. Improve Your Contact
The best contact for a pitch occurs directly down the middle and opposite to the front hip. Drive the elbow back into the body- and keep the hips open.
The force for the contact comes from the inner core, hips, and legs. Using the proper rotation, the ball contacts onto the bat directly- and the force comes naturally.
After contact, concentrate on hitting through the ball. Keep the bat in the direction where the ball is hit.
Transfer weight to the firm front leg. This process guarantees a longer, fuller contact.
Final Thoughts On Improving Your Softball Swing
Practice makes perfect when it comes to mastering your softball swing. Spent time familiarizing with these techniques, and keep putting them to the test! You'll start seeing improvements soon.
Are you interested in learning more helpful softball exercises to improve your game? Check out this article here!
Looking to get softball trading pins for your team? We are here to help! Fill out a free quote today!
Softball exercises are a great way to both strengthen your body and your softball game. Check out these 6 exercises that will have your softball player throwing harder pitches and feeling more confident about themselves at the same time!
There are a number of skills you need to master to become a great softball player: running, throwing, strength, analytical skills, softball knowledge, flexibility, teamwork, etc. Getting enough practice to hone these skills is crucial if you want to take your game to the next level.
Having confidence in yourself and your skills takes time and dedication. We're going to go over 6 softball exercises that will help you both hone your technical skills and help you gain experience and confidence in the game of softball.
1. Good Ol' Fashioned Sprints
Sprints might be used as a punishment by some coaches, but the best coaches (and players) know that speed and agility are essential skills needed by all softball players. You don't have to be the fastest one on the team, but you do need to be going as fast as you can and putting the most effort possible into your running game.
Start by having all the players line up at home plate. Have them get into their batting stance and mime swinging. Then, they'll take off towards first.
Have the player keep all of the running mechanics in mind for running to first: run all the way through the bag at a full sprint.
Have them circle back into the line after sprinting to first. Then, repeat the sprint but run to second. Again, follow all of the major mechanics of running to second: round your run at you near first, keeping the path curved towards 2nd base before coming to a complete stop on the bag.
Next, repeat but run to third. And, you guessed it, repeat a fourth time running all the way home.
This will keep players' running mechanics sharp while also improving running skills and speed on the diamond.
2. Pitch n' Field
This is a drill for pitchers, but it can be adjusted to fit all players. A line of players will be on the pitcher's mound and another line at first base.
The pitcher will pitch the ball to a catcher (usually a coach or a specified catcher). If you're doing this drill with fielders instead of pitchers, they can just throw the ball to the catcher in a normal throw.
Instead of throwing the ball back to the pitcher, the catcher will throw the ball as a grounder, fly, or line-drive in a random direction. The pitcher must then field the ball properly and make a good throw to first base.
You can repeat this drill with the same pitcher/fielder multiple times, or switch out pitchers once they make a good play.
This will give the pitcher practice adjusting from pitching to field as they would have to in a game. It also can generally be a great fielding drill, as the pitcher/field must be ready to field any type of hit. They'll also get to practice making clean throws to 1st, which is an essential skill.
The first basemen will also get practice receiving throws.
Regarding strength training, doing squat variations are some of the best for a softball player to build strength. Squats will build strength in not only your quads, but your hamstrings, calves, core, back, and glutes.
If you don't have access to a squat rack or a gym that has one, simply doing squats with no weight will help you build strength. These are especially important for catchers who have to be in the squat position and explode up out of it with power throughout the game.
4. Field a Fly, Field a Grounder
This is another great fielding drill that will boost a player's confidence in both their fielding and throwing skills. Have a player start in the outfield. Hit them a fly ball. Once they field it, have them throw into a catcher.
Once they release their throw, have them start sprinting in. Using the same ball they threw back to you, hit them a grounder. They'll then have to adjust their run to field the ball and throw it cleanly back to the catcher.
This will give players practice fielding all kinds of possible hits while also giving them practice making plays while on the move, which is essential during gameplay.
5. Kettlebell Swings and Windmill
Going back to the strength training aspect, kettlebell swings are a great way to build up the muscles used for batting. Grab a kettlebell with both hands in a squat position. As you come up from the squat position, swing the kettlebell up directly in front of you for 8-10 reps.
Next, take the kettlebell in one hand. Bring this arm directly above your head. With your legs in a wide stance (shoulder-width apart) and your eyes trained on the kettlebell, bring your other arm down to touch the floor while keeping your back straight.
Repeat this motion 8-10 times before switching arms.
6. Running Tosses
You'll need partners for this one. Both partners need a glove with one ball shared between the partners. Both partners should be positioned a short distance from each other.
Both partners start running alongside each other in the same direction. As they run, they'll underhand toss the ball between them. This will improve the players' stamina with running while also teaching them how to run and throw the ball at the same time.
This movement is essential to get down properly, as it's a typical one infielders use when fielding both ground and fly balls. It also teaches the partners to work together and communicate, which is another essential part of softball.
6 Softball Exercises That Will Improve Your Skills and Confidence: Wrapping Up
Gaining confidence in your skills will only come with dedication, practice, and effort. Taking the time to go through these six softball exercises will improve your running skills, your fielding skills, your throwing ability, your strength, and your confidence all at once.
If you'd like to learn more tips on how to improve your game, check out our blog. You can also check out our website to deck yourself out with team merch to get you and your teammates hyped for the big game.
5 Softball Pitching Tips for Beginners
Just like you have to crawl before you can walk, you need to practice before you become an ace. Here are our top 5 softball pitching tips for newbies.
After so many years of watching you're finally ready to get started.
Softball pitching, that is.
We know, we know. It can seem intimidating to learn, after all, softball players can make it look so easy. But as soon as you take the first few steps there's only space for improvement. That's why we've gotten together 5 super helpful pitching tips for newbies. Read on to find out what they are:
To master your softball pitching, you need to set goals for yourself. Not only in how much you pitch but also to improve your endurance.
Three important goals for softball pitching are:
- Understand the mechanics of the pitch
- Mastering control
- Accomplishing speed
Analyze the process of a good pitch. Pay attention to your arm and if it matches each step of the process. Good posture will also be important to accomplishing these goals.
Create a Practice Schedule
You're going to need to practice regularly. Don't skip out on these days as they are crucial to improving. If you must skip a day make sure you are not leaving a lot of time between practices.
Set practices on a weekly basis. This will help to work towards those goals that you want to reach. During each week you should throw a certain number of pitches.
This number should increase every week to build up your endurance. Below is an example of a practice schedule:
- Week 1: 100 pitches
- Week 2: 200 pitches
- Week 3: 300 pitches
- Week 4: 400 pitches
By increasing your number of pitches you'll be training your arm for this endurance.
Since you'll be practicing weekly you'll want to make sure you add in drills as well. This will help supplement your training further.
This will help with the power of your pitch. Start close to the wall and throw a few pitches.
Once you have done a couple, back up and place yourself farther away. Keep backing up after every couple of pitches.
If you start to feel as though your pitch is less powerful, move closer to the wall and start the process again.
This drill will be focusing on the rotation of the arm during pitching. Good stance and aim will help the completion of this drill.
The shoulder should not be in pain during this pitch. But should definitely be controlled and relaxed.
Communicate With Your Catcher
Softball is a team sport so pitchers should learn how to communicate to their catchers. You will need to make your pitches recognizable to the catcher.
Familiarize yourself with the basic signs for a softball pitcher. And if you are on a team talk with your coach and catcher to see what their signs are as well.
The biggest advice we can give to those who are beginners is to not give up. Athletes get better only when improvement. And if you feel as though you have a pitch or drill down you should still come back to it to freshen up your skills.
Always continue to practice your fastball to continue to get faster. After building your basics you should continue to learn more advanced pitches. Pitches like the rise ball and the drop screw are examples of these.
More Information On Softball Pitching
Being a beginner is not always easy. Especially in a competitive sport.
But with enough practice, you'll be able to improve your game. And even might be able to help other beginners one day! For more information on softball pitching check out our blog. If you would like to know more about softball trading pins we are here to help! Call us at 1-888-574-6118 or fill out our form!
5 Softball Hitting Drills to Improve Your Game
The only way to get better is through practice. Here are 5 of the best softball hitting drills to improve your game.
Whether you're a first-time softball coach or a parent of a player, you know how important practice is to building strong players.
Championship players recommend practicing three times a week, for at least an hour each session. For the best all-around training, players should alternate fielding, pitching, and softball hitting drills.
While field and pitching strategies are both important to building a good game, little emphasis is placed on hitting other than making contact. However, a strong batting game should be a part of the total package of player skills.
If you haven't tried the wide variety of softball hitting drills that are time-tested and most effective, try adding these 5 drills to your team's practice routine.
1. Two Hand Bat
Players should know how to hit a ball with accuracy, in a specific and defined direction. In order to hit a ball to a line on the field, it's important to focus on the work of the top hand.
Place a feeder about 10 feet away from the plate, behind a protected screen. Have your hitter stand at the plate, prepared to hit rapidly. Have the feeder aimed at the outside of the plate.
Get your batters trained with drills of 12 hits per turn of trying to hit the ball along a specific line. Most of the work is on the top hand for making sure the ball goes in the intended direction.
In order to build better swing technique, on-deck players should hit fungoes to fielders on the infield. Set up a few hitting stations and focus on downward swing, followthrough, weight shifting and batter hand action.
After all of your hitters have gone through a rotation, switch your infield spots out and have your infielders practice their batting. Get players to try to hit the top half of the baseball with short, downward angled swinging.
3. Bounce in Front
Hitting rhythm is important to build. In order to get batters to learn to drive a ball, use a tennis ball bounced in front of them.
For these softball hitting drills, have pitchers make a tennis ball bounce up into the strike zone from the area in front of the batter. When it bounces, the batter is meant to get their hands started into the swing.
Keep lots of tennis balls on hand. There are a lot of different drills you can run with them.
4. The Broomstick
Set up a feeder about 10 feet from the batter. Have it shoot plastic golf balls that batters will hit with a broomstick or a hit stick. Set up a net behind the feeder to catch the balls with a net.
Have them focus their bat speed by trying to go at about 90% in order to make contact. The point is to make solid contact with the ball on every swing.
5. Drop Toss
Batters need to build good hand speed for dealing with the ball. Have the batter get into a stance with a partner placed on a ladder above them.
The batter asks for the partner to drop the ball. The batter then takes a full swing.
If you're missing a ladder, try bleachers or a chair to keep the partner at a safe distance. Building teamwork and trust are some of the core life lessons you learn from playing softball.
Try Different Softball Hitting Drills
See what works for your team. Adapt any known drills when necessary. It's not as important that your team performs a drill perfectly so much as they get the practice.
If you're looking for more softball tips stay tuned for more articles on softballtradingpins.com! If you are interested in getting softball trading pins for your team contact us for a free quote. We offer free artwork design and affordable pricing. Call us at 1-888-574-6118 or fill out our form today for a quote!