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New to the travel/competitive softball world? Don’t worry we’ve created the tips you’ll need to know when getting your player involved in a more competitive world of softball! Here is our frequently asked questions about travel/competitive softball.
- How to find a team? The easiest way to find a team or even lessons is to look for a facebook page about softball in your area. PlaySoftball.Net has a softball page for just about every state. You can search Kansas City Fastpitch (or whichever city you’re in) and you should find a community page to join or post on. Next create a post stating your daughter’s age and her positions so the team that needs that can pick her up.
- What level should she play? If you’re a state that has USSSA tournaments you may be confused on the different levels or divisions. USSSA has ages ranging from 8u-18u with Gold, A, B, and C classifications. Players at the A/Gold are playing at the highest level. Players from recreation softball will usually start at C and work their way up as they continue to grow as a player.
- What kind of things need to be paid for? For travel softball players will need their own equipment meaning cleats, glove, helmet, or bat unless provided for the team. Expect to pay money for tournaments, renting practice space (this could be a field or an indoor facility) , uniforms, and even tournament gate fees. This sounds like a lot however it is all split by each parent.
- What are tournaments like? Expect to be seeing a lot of softball as teams will play tournaments frequently throughout the fall, summer, and spring. Tournaments can include up to 5 games a day depending how far a team makes it or the total number of teams.
- Do teams travel far? This is really dependent on the team. Many high level teams will travel all over the country, but a team just starting out usually plays in local tournaments.
As the years go by it seems like the tryout season is starting earlier every year. With tryout season upon us once again, we’ve created a list of things coaches are looking for in tryouts. This is our compiled list of what coaches are looking for when conducting tryouts.
- A player that loves the game. We’ve all met the kid that’s in sports for their parents and coaches will recognize this. Even if a player has talent it will be a waste if they don’t want to be there and actively get better.
- Hustle. A coach loves a player who has hustle instilled in them. Hustling shows that a player is willing to work hard.
- Mechanics. Even if a player doesn’t perform their best they will be primarily judged on their fundamentals. This would be their throwing, swinging, and fielding mechanics. Strong fundamentals are developed at the earliest ages of a players career such as 10 and 12 years old.
- Confidence. Players that lack confidence will struggle to fully showcase their talent. When players are scared to fail they won’t be as open to trying or learning new things. Coaches want a player who will have the confidence in themselves to learn new things even though they might fail.
- Coachable. An ideal player for a coach is one who can take criticism and use it to better themselves. Players that aren’t making changes asked by coaches are considered uncoachable and their growth as a player will be stalled because of it.
- Team players. It’s hard to tell team players just from tryouts, but ultimately a coach will want someone who puts team wins above their own personal merits.
If you’re familiar with the game of softball you’ll know that in the last decade slapping has been on the rise as a way for players to utilize their speed to get on base. Players with speed that may not have a lot of power in their swing have the opportunity to consistently reach the base.
So what is slapping exactly?
Slapping is when a player hits from the left batter’s box and moves towards the pitch. Moving towards the pitch allows slappers to get their feet moving to run before they’ve even made contact with the ball. This gives slappers an extra head start and the left batter’s box puts them closer to 1st base.
Should my athlete start slapping?
To be a successful slapper, players must have speed! Slapping utilizes a player’s speed and oftentimes players will slap balls into the infield and run them out. Your athlete must be one of the fastest players on their team and have great hand-eye coordination. Slapping along with regular hitting is one of the hardest things to do in sports especially since players are moving while also trying to hit a ball that’s moving.
Is soft slapping better than hard slapping?
The answer is neither is better than the other and the best players will do both! Athletes that can only soft slap will be less successful because the defense will adjust themselves to field balls closer to the plate. Power slapping is essential because it gives slappers the option to drive a ball or drop it short regarding how the defense is set up.
What is a good slap hit?
A good slapping hit is usually something difficult for a fielder to handle or a ball that is placed well enough to give the runner time to get to first. For example, many slappers will “chop” a ball which is the process of swinging and hitting the top of the ball so it is hit straight into the ground. The point is that the harder it is hit into the ground, the longer it will be in the air away from fielders which allows the runner time to get to first before a play can be made. Slappers also have a better option to reach 1st on a bunt. A slap bunt will be shown late like a drag but slappers will move towards the ball which still gives them their head start. A good power slap would be anything over infielders on a line or in a gap.
What kind of bat do slappers use?
Because slapping isn’t meant for power many players will choose a bat that is lighter in ounces. Players will choose based on personal preference, but many slappers will also choose a bat that is balanced vs end loaded. A balanced bat is a bat that has its weight distributed equally throughout the bat. An end-loaded bat as morse of its weight towards the end cap of the bat.
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