Fastpitch Masters Blog
Playing softball comes with many moments of success and glory whether it’s a home run or a walk-off to end the game. While both are amazing and exciting, many players live for the diving ESPN plays that the best athletes will do. Diving is one of the biggest displays of a player’s effort and competitiveness. As players start getting older there will come a day where your athlete has to learn to successfully and safely dive for balls. This blog will discuss the tips to help your player reach their full effort and potential.
- Learning to dive. We’ve all seen the slip and slide day of sliding and diving practice, but many things can be used to safely teach the technique. Allow your players to get a running start then toss a ball where they have to run and catch it. Players can slide on a flattened cardboard box or a cushioned mat. Many players just starting will be hesitant to go full out when learning, but it is important to remember to run and dive at a good speed to prevent injury. When players run at half speed and dive they won’t slide across the grass/dirt and oftentimes players are more likely to get hurt. Players, don’t be so scared to dive that you cheat yourself out of success. Don’t let your fear of failure keep you from being great!
- Full body layout. When teaching diving whether it’s to the side or forward there is always a worry that it will hurt to hit the ground. Another mistake players will make is trying to brace themselves with their arms or knees before the rest of their body hits the ground. I believe many players feel hitting the ground full out may hurt their body or knock the wind out of them. Start players running at the mat and focusing on creating a sliding motion and flattening out their bodies.
- Superman. If your player is bracing themselves with their arms you’ll want to explain using superman. When superman flies his arms are straight out in front of him which is where the arms and glove should be when diving. Bracing your landing with arms can cause injury including shoulders hitting the ground wrong, or a wrist being landed on or getting caught. Players should also focus on reaching their glove as far as they can to prevent their glove from getting caught on the ground and rolling over their wrist.
- Ground balls. Diving in the outfield can involve laying out for a ball in the air while infielders may dive for balls on the ground. The technique is no different however when diving for a ball on the ground a player will want to think about it as their glove being the first thing to hit the ground.
- It gets easier. Our last tip is that once a player gets more comfortable with diving it becomes a piece of cake! It can also be one of their favorite things about the sport. Diving is a key part of achieving success in softball!
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