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Building a Softball Program

Hi all,

I would like to know if anyone has seen the following model fo the development of softball players.

We are an organization that usually fields two teams per age group (10U, 12U, 14U) as well as one 18U team.

Our geographical location (Iowa) imposes that we basically train inside from November until March each year.

We would like to try something new this year in which we would not seperate the teams but have the 25 young ladies per age group train all together through the winter and use a team coaching approach.

In regards to the team selection, one option would be to form the teams at the end of winter training and set the teams for the ASA championship season (mid-June until 1st week of August) at that time.

A second option would be to play tournaments or friendlies with different rosters that would be set based on the level of opposition and the different training goals.

I would like to know what your opinions are on the two scenarios and if there are fatal issues with any of them. Furthermore, I would really like to know if some programs work on similar models.

Thank you so much for your time,
Michel Ladouceur, PhD
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,854
63
Dallas, Texas
As to training: I've seen group training before, and it works fine. The Stone City Sharks, a good upper level team in Chicagoland, do it without any detriment to the travel program..

As to teams: While I'm all for high level training of players, the idea of variable rosters depending upon the game seems to me to treating the players too much like cogs in machine rather than individuals.

Softball is a team sport. Also, due to the nature of softball as a game, precision execution is essential to compete at a high level.

E.g., bunt coverage in softball is critical. The fielders NOT fielding the ball tells the fielder where to throw the ball. Players who are unfamiliar with each other will have difficulty correctly deciding where to throw the ball.

Finally, one of best parts of softball/baseball is hanging out on the bench and between games with your team mates. It is wrong to take that away from a bunch of kids.
 
May 16, 2008
2
0
Also looking for program ideas, league play versus tournament play, how many games in a season to produce results.Same situation further north.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,854
63
Dallas, Texas
For a high level travel team, figure 7 or 8 tournaments plus 2 nights during the week where you either play a doubleheader or you practice. With rain-outs, that ends up being 50 to 60 games during a summer. You do this for a summer, and the kids will be head-shoulders above everyone else in HS.

You need 15 players, 2 grade-A pitchers, 2 good catchers, and 1 Grade B pitcher. You *will* have injuries and players who can't make the all of the games, so plan for it.

You have to have a lot of organization, patience, and ways to make the experience fun for the parents and the players.

League play isn't much fun for a good travel team. While there may be a couple of good teams in the league, the rest of the teams are bottom feeders. If you have a couple of good pitchers, you will destroy the other teams. It is a waste of time.
 

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