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I just came across a very interesting research study that compared hitting and pitching records and career lengths of 312 sets of brothers who become major league baseball players. Researchers found out that older siblings at non-pitching positions had signficantly higher batting averages and longer career than their younger siblings. These results corroborates other studies that have shown that first borns are more likely than later born siblings to be higher achievers. In the case of pitching, the authors think that many different factors may be operative for pitchers. I would be really curious to learn more about the reasons why first borns are more likely to be dominant players and have longer careers.
Even though I’ve been coaching softball for 20 years, I still get excited at the beginning of each season. You’ve got to minimize errors as much and as you can and execute all the fundamentals very well. So, I spend about 85% of my practices working on these things, especially with an inexperienced 16U team. Basically, it means that the more specific to game conditions your preparation is (in training or in warm-ups), the more you’ll be ready to compete at the highest level.
It has to track the ball coming from the pitcher’s mound and adjust to variable speed, location and movement.
Now, I see all kinds of crazy stuff being done by done by teams before game that are far from warming up the tracking and adjusting ability of hitters. 2) Side toss rapid fire swings – how in the hell doing cardio hitting is going  helping a kid prepare to track a ball coming from in front of them? I was just cleaning some old files when I came across a scientific article I had kept on the specificity of sport training for the enhancement of base running speed in softball players.
In other words, the researchers wanted to know: does strength training increases base running speed?
Their research findings  indicated that strength training does increase base running speed. What’s the bottom line?  If you want to get faster, in addition to learning how to running more efficiently (improving your running mechanics), you also have to do strength training.
I read a lot of stuff to stay up to date with current trends and latest research findings in softball, strength and conditioning, sports psychology, nutrition, sports injuries and so on.
In one of its latest publication, the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) has a great article on the importance of core training for softball pitchers. 1) Instability occurs in the softball pitching motion due to the re-distribution of weight and this can create mechanical problems for pitchers. The job of the core muscles is to be strong enough to support the pressure and keep the body stable during the pitching motion and counteract the instability produced by the weight re-distribution producing an efficient and fluid motion.
3) A strong core helps reduce the rikks of injuries because when the muscles of the core are strong, stable, and efficient, they are better able to absorb and translate power, putting less stress on the extremities.
For years, we’ve heard that the windmill pitching motion is natural and safe for the body unlike the overhead throwing motion that baseball players use. The common belief is that overhead throwing motion puts a lot more stress on the shoulder and the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding it and that leads to way more injuries than underhand pitching.
As evidence, were are given the example that baseball pitchers are required to take a break of a couple of between starts where softball pitchers often pitch 2 games the same day and several in a weekend. While we can’t dispute the fact that softball pitchers throw a more than baseball pitchers, the belief that softball pitchers are less subject to injuries than is  a total myth. More and more research studies are showing that the incidence of pitching injuries in softball is pretty much the same as in baseball. In fact, the studies are showing that the windmill pitching motion is very tough on the body.
From personal experience, over the last 15 years, I have seen  many young talented pitchers just disappeared after they have  suffered various overuse injuries. Young softball pitchers are at risk and the windmill pitching motion isn’t totally natural or safe on the body.
The windmill style of pitching in softball which required underhand throws, according to the medical doctor Verma, Nikki N. Female softball pitchers who frequently performed windmill pitches usually complained of pain and discomfort on the shoulder area. It has then been concluded that the biceps incurred most of the impact due to an application of such great acceleration then stopping immediately as soon as the force has been transferred to the ball. Here’s a short video that discusses how important it is to act confident at the plate and how big of a role that plays into the overall success of a hitter. So, I thought this was a great question and that I should answer to the benefit of everybody.
Always choose exercises that combine more than one muscle or one muscle group; they will give you more bang for your buck.

Think in terms of training movements (pushing, pulling, twisting, bending, lunging, etc.) instead of training specific muscles. Select exercises that are appropriate to the goals you are pursuing at that point (strength, explosiveness, etc.). Here are 6 excellent softball conditioning exercises that can really help you improve your overall game. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. So a persons performance (at work) will be a combination of their ultimate potential minus any blocks and barriers.  Those blocks and barriers might be other people, rules and regulations, company culture or very often – self limiting beliefs. According to Wikipedia :-  “Coaching is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal”. You see coaching is all about helping people reach their potential, and achieving things they were always capable of but either they did not have the knowledge or skills to get there on their own,  or they lacked the belief in themselves to do it.
I have coached hundreds of managers, entrepreneurs and team leaders to get more out of their teams and build lasting relationships with clients and suppliers – by coaching.  Yes – you can coach suppliers and clients too! If you would like to improve your coaching skills, then join us for “Learn at Lunch” at 1pm on Weds 11th May when I will be teaching a few coaching tips for 20 minutes.
Click the link here to register and don’t forget to bring a sandwich and a coffee (or tea!) at 1pm next Wednesday! Over the next few days, I’m going to present you what I consider the key habits you should have or develop to experience tremendous success both on the field and in your life. It’s a scientifically proven fact that optimistic people  are usually the happiest, healthiest, and most successful people in society.
It is NOT seeing life through thick rose glasses, have your  head in the clouds and ignoring reality. Last night, I was doing a 30-minute consultation with a 14-year-old young lady that is part of a package her dad bought for her.
Most of her questions were on how to get faster and how to get better results at the plate.
On the hitting side, one thing she said she struggles with is hitting with two strikes as she gets all nervous.
In a nutshell, I say that with 2 strikes against you, the odds are usually not stacked in your favor unless you have three balls. However, any player can learn quickly what to focus on and almost instantly reduce the number of errors they make as a result of poor focus – especially on defense. When you are on defense, you must play one pitch at the time and make the play in your head ahead of the time.
My goal is for them to be conscious of what their body language and their actions are doing to the psyche of their opponents. Think about it for a second, what do you do when you get to the park and you are a facing a team you have never played before?
You will be looking at their hitters, their pitchers, the size  of their players, their skills execution, how well structured or organized they are, how confident or fearless they look, etc.
The image you’re projecting can make a big difference on the psyche of your opponents. Most likely, two things can happen: (a) you either make them more confident by looking sloppy or (b) you make them doubt a little because you look structured, confident, and fearless. I think as coaches and parents, we need to really emphasize  that to our athletes and kids – especially those who are both talented AND somewhat spoiled. Something to think about and that needs to be drilled in the head of kids at earliest age possible.
Ditch the old school, traditional warm-up and pick up a good dynamic warm-up routine which have been shown to be a lot more effective in preventing injuries and preparing the body for superior performances. However, the big problem is that most of the dynamic warm-ups being performed are not softball-specific!
You see, most dynamic warm-ups being taught out there by trainers were developed for sports with a heavy emphasis on running and the lower body (track, football, soccer, basketball, and so on).
So just about every dynamic warm-up protocol does a really good job of warming up the lower body but totally forgets the trunk and the upper body!
Well, the problem is that in softball, we also rely extensively on the trunk and the upper body to throw, catch, and hit. As you know, I was in Portland, Oregon this past weekend learning from great instructors about hitting and pitching. Observing and studying carefully how the best hitters hit and how the best pitchers pitch is how you come up with a set of concepts and principles that are shared by the best in the wold. If you want to be like the best – you have to learn from them and emulate what they do. Start observing what the best athletes do and start emulating them – chances are you will be going in the right direction.

At times, life gets in the way (vacations, exams or homework, bad weather, general fatigue, sickness, family function, etc.) and we may have weeks where we need to skip some sessions or miss training entirely. However, when training for fitness, the frequency of the training stimulus is the most important thing. So, skipping sessions or missing a week will hurt your progress and might even cause you to lose some of your gains. As I told you 2 days ago, I spent the weekend doing  professional development in Portland, Oregon. I took the NFCA Coaches College 402 course on advanced analysis of hitting and pitching with Kirk Walker, Margie  Wright and Don Slaught. While I had previously been exposed to a lot of the course material, you still learn a lot from spending a weekend with some of the greatest minds in the sport of baseball and softball. If you aren’t attending conferences, clinics or these kind  of courses- you definitely should.
There are just so many things that you see on video that you  wouldn’t see otherwise with the naked eye because how fast these skills are executed in real life.
Really – there are lot of things that you see on slow motion that you never realize just looking at live hitters and  pitchers. However, curiously, if you ask any hitter who just hit one out of the park to describe what she was thinking about right before she hit the ball and how her swing felt – you will find that most  hitters will give you pretty similar answers.
If you ask a hitter to describe how she felt just before she swung  the ball over the fence, she will probably tell you something like “I was not thinking. Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully  immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus,  full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Colloquial terms for this or similar mental states include: to be on  the ball, in the zone, or in the groove. So, you must make sure that your dynamic warm-up protocol does include several upper body and trunk exercises to prepare the body adequately for softball. Therefore, it’s even more important that you pay attention at how you prepare for it. More specifically, they reported a strong correlation between the training of large lower body muscles like the quadriceps, the buttocks, and the hamstrings and the increase in running speed. You especially want to focus on exercises that target the large lower body muscles like squats, lunges, step-ups, deadlifts, and so on. Once the lead foot hits the ground the weight shifts and most of it is distributed to the front leg.
With the proper core strengthening exercises, a softball pitcher can become more productive on the mound.
Each time a softball pitcher swings the ball around and then releases it at full velocity, the biceps are bombarded with lofty forces and torques which may cause strain and discomfort – Rush University Medical Center Chicago.
It utilized electromyography in order to evaluate and determine the muscle firing power of the biceps during the whole of the windmill pitch… The study resulted in a conclusion that was very much intriguing; according to the press release done, the force exerted by the muscle of the biceps area was very high compared to the overhand pitches done.
The Rush University with their advanced human motion technology and laboratory was able to pinpoint the exact location of the pain which was on the biceps of the players.
You will get all of our updates, quotes, and even get to see what’s going on with me! Instead, choose exercises that use your body weight, free weights, stability ball or medicine bal. Martin Selignman, professor of psychology at UPenn and author of Learned Optimism (great book!) says that you learn to become an optimist by thinking the way the optimists think. This will allow you to better see the outside part of the plate and have better plate coverage.  However, it could also make you vulnerable inside and low.
You can train speed of execution or working fast under pressure but that also takes time and effort. However, a lot of errors that we see today are still the results of not applying those two basic concepts. So, you definitely need to warm-up the upper body as well and most dynamic warm-ups fail to properly do so! Attending these kind of courses help you stay on the cutting edge, pick up new drills, new tips, new techniques, new cues and new ideas. Also, when the arm reached its full swing where it is almost entirely stretched to the back then rapidly shifts to a stance that is completely at right angles with the ground was when the total muscle contraction and force was seen and experienced.
However, I am not telling you anything new here by saying that a huge part hitting success is mental.
It all depends on the circumstances like who’s pitching, what she pitches, what the umpire calls, and you own strength and weaknesses.

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