For the Love of the Game – Raquel Savoy, Chabot College

Once we get into college and a higher level of competition, sports begin to change. Being a college athlete takes a level of commitment that is far beyond most “nine to five” jobs. As coaches we expect our athletes to commit to the university at a much higher level than a non-athlete student usually has to. We ask them to eat right, workout, practice, study, wake up early, spend time with teammates, and at the same time think about softball. Oh! And please don’t forget that great attitude.

With all this time and commitment some athletes and coaches begin to lose sight of why they are where they are. As coaches, we get caught up in our goals of winning and being the best, and sometimes we forget to have fun. We ask these young athletes for all of their time and effort but then move along to the next athlete when their eligibility is up. Sometimes our athletes become countless numbers, until we meet that special kid. The one that texts you talking about the game on TV. The same athlete that is the first one at practice and the last to leave. The athlete that does all of her requirements for school and practice, then wants to stay after for extra hits off the tee. This is the athlete we all look for. Where can we find this kid and why does there seem to be so few of them? This is the athlete that has the will to succeed at any cost. This is the athlete that has fun and is fun to be around out on the field. What separates her from the rest of the team is that ability to love the game and appreciate it for what it is. It is an unconditional love that always has fire. This is hard to find, but maybe, just maybe if us coaches work together we can create a few of these players.

First, we need to begin by allowing fun. It is important to let the players be their own person and enjoy who they are and what they bring to the team. We then need to show them what hard work feels and looks like, and then show them what successes can comes from it. Giving them realistic goals and positive expectations is important to see results. We need to develop individual relationships with each player. It is also very important to let each player know who you are, not just as a coach but as a person.

One of the most beautiful things about this sports is that it accepts everyone. There is a place for speed, power, strength, stamina, and smarts.  All can be successful in the sport of softball. It is our job as coaches to give our athletes the tools to get better. It’s also our job to encourage them to find their fire everyday. An athlete who becomes intrinsically motivated will have endless possibilities in their career in softball as well as life.

Raquel Savoy

Chabot College

The Insiderbat to be Used at USA Preps Softball Camps

The Insiderbat to be Used at USA Preps Softball Camps

July 08, 2015

USA Preps, LLC. is pleased to announce that the Insiderbat will now serve as a hitting training tool for USA Preps Softball Camps to build muscle memory and diagnose problem swings for hitters.  Both companies are committed to providing coaches and players the best practices to improve athletic skill levels.

The Insiderbat is a revolutionary softball muscle memory training tool that promotes proper grip, hand placement, and proper swing path before, during, and after contact is made. This unique design allows for only correct contact of the ball.

“Insiderbat is thrilled to partner up with USA Preps and looks forward to a long standing relationship.  We feel the model USA preps has going is not only one of the best we have seen for incredible exposure to softball players through the United States, but a model that will help promote the insiderbat for many years to come.said owner and creator of The Insiderbat, Steve Windsor.

A USA Preps Individual Collegiate Instructional Camp™ is a one, two, or three day event dedicated to providing prospective collegiate athletes with advanced instruction from college coaches. They are held in intimate settings that allow every participant a chance to learn from, and perform for, the coaches without being overshadowed by athletes on other fields or other teams. There are between 25 – 75 different colleges giving instruction at the events rather than just one.

“USA Preps is so excited to partner with Insiderbat.  They make a quality product that reinforces proper muscle memory to develop a strong path to the ball.  We have received feedback from coaches at all levels that their product is quickly becoming a must-have for training hitters,” said Price Hansen, founder of USA Preps. 

 About USA Preps

USA Preps is the largest Instructional College Camp and Tournament organizer in the USA. Our first camps were held in 2011 and served approximately 200 prospective college athletes. Since those early days of USA Preps we have served over 10,000 prospective college athletes. This year we are administering 18 events all over the West Coast, Texas, Las Vegas, and Indiana and anticipate serving over 10,000 prospective college athletes this year alone!

For more information about USA Preps, visit www.usapreps.com

About The Insiderbat

“At the beginning of the little league baseball season of 2009, the idea for the InsiderBat was born.

One of the most asked questions we get is, “How did you come up with the idea?”  In an effort to help my 7-year-old coach pitch team understand the proper hitting mechanics, I began to explore different ways to teach the young hitters proper hand path and the concept of staying “inside the ball.”  I made various prototypes and worked after hours until I was able to come up with a a simple version of what is now the insiderbat.  As the season continued, and the bat was taken to practices, games and tournaments, local coaches began to ask about the strange, new tool that my team was seen using.  Coaches wanted to know where they could get one and often asked to borrow ours.

In 2010, my wife and I decided to take a giant leap of faith and we went into production full-time.  Since then, we have been very fortunate getting the insiderbat into the hands of some the the best coaches, players, and trainers in the game.  The insiderbat has quickly become a favorite training tool due to its simple, yet effective, way of teaching the proper hitting mechanics.

The insiderbat Company is comprised of me and my wife, Karri.  Our two boys are involved in the family business and often “pack bats” for shipping.  My father helps us assemble the bats too, as it is truly a family owned and operated company!  Every insiderbat is made in our hometown of Spring, Texas.”

For more information about The Insiderbat, visit www.insiderbat.com

Dominant Pitching: Where did it go? – Helen Pena, Cal State University Bakersfield

Pitching is an art form that contains fluid movements, aggressive power and acceleration with the competitive mindset to beat a hitter. In many cases, this has recently been lost in the game of softball.

According to NCAA Division 1 Softball statistics, in 2005 the overall earned run average for the nation was 2.62 and within a decade that number has almost doubled to 4.40.  In addition, the national batting average for 2014 was .270, a 30% increase from 2004. The game has seen a dramatic shift from being dominated by pitching, to being overwhelmingly dominated by hitting, but what is being done about it?

As a pitching coach, it is immensely alarming that pitching hasn’t changed and has statistically been getting worse over the course of a decade. Some factors that are important for travel ball coaches, pitching coaches, and young athletes to realize is that even though showcasing is vital for athletes to be seen, the development of young athletes must not be sacrificed for it. If the focus is playing at the next level, then preparation to compete at that level must be the foundation of your teaching.

Coaches, I urge you to concentrate more on proper mechanics, while developing the mental game with your young pitchers. The execution of competent mechanics is the first stage in developing a good pitcher and enabling them to be successful in the future. Leg drive, explosiveness, consistency, accurate spin and movement must be at the core of what we are training these young athletes to excel at prior to them arriving at the college level. Furthermore, in my opinion, being consistent means hitting a particular zone on the intended part of the plate, with precision upon spin and break, depending on the contact point of the hitter. The fact that some pitchers possess eight pitches and are only able to hit them three times out of ten in the correct spot, it is harming their growth and ability to be successful at the next level. Mastering should be the goal before moving on to learning another pitch. Start with the fastball and then move on to the change up. If they cannot spot either one of those, then it is not necessary to develop further when the basics have not yet been established.

Master the foundation and you will see tremendous progress in all other areas of learning to be a dominant pitcher.

Helen Pena

Cal State University Bakersfield

Pocket Radar Ball Coach Model Named the Official Radar Gun for USA Preps Softball Camps

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Pocket Radar Ball Coach Model Named the Official Radar Gun for USA Preps Softball Camps

May 01, 2015

Pocket Radar, Inc. is pleased to announce that the Ball Coach model will now serve as the “Official Radar Gun” for USA Preps Softball Camps, and be used as a training tool to assess and evaluate the performance of hitters and pitchers.  Both companies are committed to providing coaches and players the best practices to objectively measure and improve athletic skill levels.

The Ball Coach radar is a pro-level radar gun and speed-training tool for player coaching or self-guided drills, with hands-free operation keeping it simple.  By making crucial results like hitting power, pitching speeds and throwing speeds instantly visible, training with the Ball Coach radar helps athletes get better, faster.

Since first partnering with USA Preps in 2013, we have found it to be one of the premier organizations for instructional softball camps and tournaments in the United States,” said Steve Goody, CEO and co-founder of Pocket Radar, Inc.  “We are very excited they will now be using the Ball Coach radar in their Individual Collegiate Instructional Camp™, to measure the batted Ball Exit Speeds for hitters and the different pitch speeds for pitchers.  Price and his team have done an amazing job in bringing together the elite teams and athletes, and giving them an opportunity to showcase their skills right in front of college coaches from across the country.”

A USA Preps Individual Collegiate Instructional Camp™ is a one, two, or three day event dedicated to providing prospective collegiate athletes with advanced instruction from college coaches. They are held in intimate settings that allow every participant a chance to learn from, and perform for, the coaches without being overshadowed by athletes on other fields or other teams. There are between 25 – 75 different colleges giving instruction at the events rather than just one.

“Simply Put, Pocket Radar’s new Ball Coach is a must-have training tool for every player that wants to get better at hitting, pitching or throwing! There is no finer, multi-purpose, easy to use and accurate radar gun on the market! This is why USA Preps and hundreds of other organizations around the world only use the Ball Coach!” said Founder of USA Preps, Price Hansen

About USA Preps

USA Preps is the largest Instructional College Camp and Tournament organizer in the USA. Our first camps were held in 2011 and served approximately 200 prospective college athletes. Since those early days of USA Preps we have served over 10,000 prospective college athletes. This year we are administering 18 events all over the West Coast, Texas, Las Vegas, and Indiana and anticipate serving over 10,000 prospective college athletes this year alone!  For more information about USA Preps, visit www.usapreps.com

About Pocket Radar

From the world’s smallest certified accurate speed radar, to the only radar gun specifically designed for coaching and training, Pocket Radar has engineered a revolutionary product line to fit your speed measurement needs. Each Pocket Radar design includes exceptional performance and technology that fits in the palm of your hand. Pocket Radar products are convenient and rugged enough for everyday use by everyone from pro to amateur, to National Championship winning coaches and anyone interested in speed. For more information about Pocket Radar, visit www.PocketRadar.com

 

Catching – Mallory Tacdol, Northwest University

Catching is a very under appreciated job. They receive recognition when throwing a runner out or blocking a ball in the dirt to save a run, but there is much more to catching that many don’t realize. Center field is in charge of the outfield, shortstop is the general of the infield, but a catcher is the administrator of the entire field. They determine where the ball is thrown, where the cut stands, and what to pitch to batters

Everyone on the field should know who is in charge, I teach my catchers to step out in front of home plate when calling a play or relaying information to the team in-between batters. This shows assertiveness and confidence; don’t be the catcher calling plays from behind the plate while still in a squat. Coaches need to devote time in practice to teaching catchers their role on the field. If you don’t do it in practice, there cannot be an expectation for it to happen in a game

In a tight situation, I look to my catching staff to control the situation and bring the team together. I need to be able to rely on her to call time on her own if a pitcher is struggling to hit a spot. Coaches are limited to how many times they can go out and talk to the defense during an inning; therefore I rely on the player behind the dish to manage the situation

If you never practice how to deal with these situations or how to be assertive and portray confidence, how will your players learn to do so in a game?

Mallory Tacdol

Northwest University

Teamwork – Whitney Johnson, University of La Verne

Winning is a culture that is created by effective teamwork. Teamwork is the greatest asset that makes common people capable of uncommon results. Everyone has different abilities and responsibilities; Everyone has a job to do and everyone must do their part and embrace their role. True teamwork is not measured by talent or ability, but true selflessness. No-team will succeed without teamwork; no matter how many all-stars you have.

Teamwork is not created by like-mindedness. It is a cohesion that develops from mutual respect, reciprocity, and from coping with good times and adversity.

Being a teammate means being generous enough to take pleasure in someone else’s success, not just your own. Teamwork also comes with obligations, headaches, and quarrels. However, the greatest reward of being part of a team is that it means you will never be alone, which in my opinion, far outweighs the bad.

The amount of success you are capable of enjoying and the pleasure you are capable of feeling is equal to the number of people you are willing to share it with.

Be a part of something greater than yourself.

Whitney Johnson

University of La Verne