Teaching how to properly hold a softball...

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JaC

Apr 29, 2023
27
3
Help me settle a debate, please. Our season os about to start up. I was speaking to another coach and shared that I want to start from the basics and teach the girls how to hold the softball properly. The other coach think it's a waste of time, that they'll hold it like they hold it and we go from there.

What are your thoughts?
 
Jun 18, 2023
348
43
I can't recall teaching this (non-pitching) and I just did two years of 4 and 5 year olds, but maybe we should've..

a minute out at the beginning of your first throwing drill and a reminder at subsequent ones wouldn't really be a big deal though. Just a "hey, hold it like this" and then if they're way off on a throw in a few weeks you can gently remind them that "you'll get better accuracy if you fix your grip on the ball".

I think we take it for granted what kids know, and as they get older they may not feel as comfortable asking those fundamentals and coaches may not realize they don't know... until they mess up.

You can't devote whole drills to super basic fundamentals as an efficient use of time, but you can absolutely remind them of stuff as it's pertinent.

Especially at 9 and 10. Especially this _current_ group, (My oldest just turned 9) who very likely had a year of Softball in Kindergarten/1st/2nd canceled or shortened from Covid. Incoming/current 4th graders probably had Kindergarten softball canceled, and may not have had a full 1st grade, or didn't participate. Prime "how to grip the ball" "this is fair and foul" "Tag play versus force play" learning age.

Ask them. Especially after something weird happens in a game. We had runners cross on the base paths and outs recorded. When we got to the post-game huddle very few of them knew what happened or why, but they all do now because we explained it.

tl:dr basics reminders can be super helpful, don't assume 9 year olds have a great knowledge of the game, even if they're great players.
 
May 13, 2023
1,538
113
Help me settle a debate, please. Our season os about to start up. I was speaking to another coach and shared that I want to start from the basics and teach the girls how to hold the softball properly. The other coach think it's a waste of time, that they'll hold it like they hold it and we go from there.

What are your thoughts?
Teaching this should take but a few minutes to explain.
There is no wasted time in that!

Holding the ball correctly is the beginning of a good throw!
 
Oct 4, 2018
4,613
113
Teaching this should take but a few minutes to explain.
There is no wasted time in that!

Holding the ball correctly is the beginning of a good throw!

Yup, assume they know nothing.

They really gotta learn to hold it in their palm, with their fingers not touching the ball at all. Otherwise it'll all go downhill fast.
 
Nov 9, 2021
187
43
What would it really take to show them 30 seconds? Now they may not listen. But I would imagine you will waste 30 seconds many more times at your practice. Now if you are wanting to spend 30 minutes on it that might be another conversation.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Nov 18, 2015
1,589
113
Don't be afraid to use baseballs for throwing drills. Even an 11" softball will be a challenge for most of them at that age.

I think it's Bill Hillhouse who uses the analogy of a man trying to throw a small canteloupe as a way to understand what we're trying to ask our younger players to do.

I have a few 14U players who still don't grip the ball properly. I haven't done much research or testing, but it seems to me that more important than holding it across the seams is to make sure their thumb gets as far under the ball as possible.
 
May 16, 2016
1,034
113
Illinois
I don't think showing/teaching the girls how to hold a ball is a waste of time at all. Especially at that age level.

Here is how I would show them.

1 - show how to hold the ball with 4 seams.
2- have them play catch. After each catch, check a few of the players grip to confirm they are holding the ball correctly. Randomly work your way through the team to check their grip. This is happening while the rest of the players continue to play catch. Let the girls take their time finding the seams.
3- After the girls are done playing catch. Get them in a group, have the girls put the ball in their own glove. Tell them to close their eyes and find the seams with their eyes closed. Don't expect them to be able to do this immediately but they will eventually get this after a few weeks, or months.
4- You will have to explain to the girls that in a game they can't actually take extra time to find the seams perfectly.

After stretching and getting loose, this can be the first 15 minutes of all your practices if you want.
 

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