ASA Slowpitch Coaching Clinics


Liam Carroll

I spent a great evening with the visiting ASA coaches yesterday.  They will be running clinics at various leagues across the country and got their tour started last night with coaches and captains from various of London's slowpitch leagues.  Always an avid note-taker at coaching clinics, here are some of the things I wrote down:

  • The importance of defence was reinforced from the start - everyone likes to hit, everyone practices hitting - making defence important will separate you.
  • Use your pre-game time wisely.  It might be the bulk of the "practice" time available to you.  Have some go-to drills and incorporate defensive drills as well as BP.
  • At the level Steve Shortland (USA men's slowpitch head coach) is working at, a .650 TEAM batting average is required to compete.
  • Get a good pitch to hit! (That was also important to The Splendid Splinter).
  • Use a Tee.  Especially if you're limited by space/time/equipment.
  • Have a plan when you hit.  At the elite level, players have great situational awareness - coach your players up so they can have a plan according to their strengths, the pitcher's strategy, defensive positioning and the situation.
  • Use wiffle balls to maximise practice time.
  • Use baseball-sized wiffle balls to improve hand-eye coordination.  If you can hit those, hitting softballs will be easy.
  • The calibre of women on your team will determine your success.
  • Last hitter has to be a good hitter to turn the line up over.
  • Spread good hitters though the lineup - 3 weak hitters in a row = potential for a lost inning.
  • Mental game is essential - 90% mental, 10% physical. 
  • Communication is everyone's job - and in Cheryl's words - the key to any relationship - on the field or anywhere else!
  • Have a plan (system, terminology) for cuts & relays.
  • "Know your arms" on cuts & relays to help you position yourself.
  • Double Plays start with communication BEFORE the play.  Have conversations (e.g. pitcher and shortstop).
  • Set your defence according to the pitcher's strategy.
  • Pitching tips: mix location; change speeds (avoid patterns), know the hitter's strengths and tendencies, pitch from different parts of the rubber.

There was so much more information presented last night - something for everyone.  I encourage anyone coaching slowpitch to get out and meet Steve and Cheryl; their knowledge is off the charts and their enthusiasm contagious.  Rec or A-Grade, you're missing a trick if you don't take advantage of this opportunity provided by ASA, the BSF and BSUK. 

“And, as important as anything, remember that a teacher—the leader—must never stop learning. When you’re through learning, you’re through. I am still learning, and I’m almost a hundred years old. You must never stop learning.” - John Wooden.


tagged under: coaching, softball, bsf, slowpitch

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About Liam Carroll

Liam Carroll

Liam was a Regional Coach and then Development Coordinator for BaseballSoftballUK until May 2014. He returned to his hometown of London to work for BSUK in 2010 after stops in Somerset, Bristol, Cornwall, California and Nevada. Growing up playing in Britain, Liam made the move to America to study and play university baseball. After figuring out that his future would be brighter as a coach rather than player, he moved to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to finish his degree and coach college baseball. Since then he’s coached youth and adult teams on both sides of the atlantic and with the Great Britain Baseball National Teams.

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