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 > Little League Online > Learn More > Newsletters > Coach's Box Newsletter > 2010 > Coach's Box - January > Michele Smith Feature

Michele Smith Feature

Volume 5, No. 1 - January 2010

Indoor Softball Practice Ideas for Winter Months

By Michele Smith, Olympic Gold Medalist

One of the questions I hear often is “how do I train for softball during the winter months?” Here are a couple of ideas to keep you fit, in form, and having fun while working on your softball game. Enjoy.

A.) Partner throws or Wall throws: Partner up and work on your throwing for accuracy and precision. If you don’t have a partner, tape a box on a wall. With or without a partner, keep count of how many good throws you make and chart your progress over the winter months. Do five sets of 20 throws.

B.) Dry swings: Find a mirror, window or an area of reflection so you can watch yourself as you perform dry swings. This is one of the best ways to learn and understand your swing and the correct movements of a proper swing. Visualize inside, outside and change-up pitches to challenge yourself. Do six sets of 25 dry swings.

C.) Pitchers should use winter months to hone their mechanics and learn a “new” pitch. When learning new pitches, I recommend the change up and drop ball first. Pitchers should throw 100 pitches (+/- 50 depending on age) at least three days per week.

D.) Fielding ground balls inside a gym is a wonderful time to get comfortable with your skill work, soft hands on receiving the ball, and quick release for a speedy throw. With or without a partner do four sets of 25 balls rolls. If you don’t have a partner, throw against the wall so the ball rolls back and you can field it.

E.) Footwork is one area that players and coaches overlook. Athletes with quick feet will have the tools to take their game to the next level. Here are some “Ladder” drills to quicken your feet and are bound to be fun as well. Don’t have a ladder? Tape one down on the gym floor! Perform each drill three times.

Agility Ladder Drills

Full Length = 10 yards with 18-inch boxes (forms 18 total squares)
Short Ladder = five yards with 18-inch boxes (forms nine total squares)

  1. Run Through - 1 Foot in Each Box
  2. Run Through - 2 Feet in Each Box
  3. In-In-Out-Out (Forward): Say the sequence to yourself to follow the pattern “in-in-out-out” through each box. It means first foot in, other foot in, first foot out, other foot out moving forward with each step.
  4. In-In-Out-Out (Lateral): Same as above but face sideways to the ladder. The inside foot starts the drill. Perform the drill back in the other direction so you train both directions.
  5. Hopscotch: Start with your feet straddling the ladder. Jump so both feet land in the ladder then jump out so that both feet straddle the ladder again. Move forward jumping in and out of each box and continue to the end of the ladder.

Good Luck and enjoy your winter training! You’ll be glad you did when spring rolls around.

For more information on correct pitching form, visit www.MicheleSmithFastpitch.com

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