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Had to cancel practice at the last minute on Friday. My nephew is in town and I didn't realize my wife had made plans.

Just makes me look even more forward to Monday's practice!


Don McKay, Softball Editor
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Had another good practice yesterday. I handed out everyone's video analysis (except for Kayla's -- D'oh!! But I remembered what she needed to work on), then we spent an hour with batting stations working on improving our swings.

I love Monday practices. For whatever reason, we're the only team on the whole complex, so I can use 3 batting machines (2 in the cages, one on the field) as stations. We only have enough 12" balls for 2 of the machines, so we use 11" balls for one of the stations and use it for bunting. We set one machine for 48 mph (the speed of one opponent's pitcher) and one machine at 43 mph (the speed of the other opponent's pitcher).


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It's always nice when all the girls show up. Plus, my pitcher from the spring, who's waiting for her travel ball team to start up, showed up and asked to practice with us. 10 + 1 !

I added a new batting station today, which specifically addressed the bat drag that some of the girls had, but also was a review of good weight transfer for all the girls. The station: an old punching pad from my karate instructing days. The idea was to have one girl hold the bag really close to the "batting" girl, then the batting girl take her batting stance without her bat. She would heel-drop, turn her hips and essentially do an uppercut without extending their arm into the pad. Not sure if it was effective or not, but the girls had fun so we'll keep it as a station for now.

Then we worked on relay plays from right field to third base and from left center to home, focusing on proper positioning of the relay and on communications between players. That is a tough one with this group -- a lot of young girls not sure of themselves on this level, so we just have to keep encouraging them to have confidence in themselves. Hopefully we'll see progress on this before the end of the season.

Finally, we finished practice with the bunting game. Since we had 2 pitchers, both pitchers pitched for their team. The advantage of using pitchers is the batters see live pitching, but it goes WAY slower than with the batting machine, so we only got one inning in and we still finished practice a little late.

All in all, another great practice and we got a lot done in our 90 minutes (OK, about 97 minutes).


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Had a light turnout for Friday's practice. Only 6 of my players, plus the one pitcher waiting for her travel ball team to start up.

It was also BLAZING Hot today -- we're in the middle of a pretty bad heat wave. Even at 6pm, it about about 95 degrees, so we kept it pretty easy. We did 2 sets of batting stations since we only had half the team there. We did basic defensive stations, including using for the first time this season the Easton Pop-up Playback trainer which the girls LOVE to use. We then played Over-the-Line, which ended in a 3-3 tie.

Then, since the girls have been working so hard this week, we had popsicles and gatoraid afterwords.

School starts on Monday, and I reminded everyone that they need to manage their time and get their homework done. I know they heard me, because they all rolled their eyes at me!!


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Another day with all 10 girls.

Monday's, we spend an hour on batting stations. Today, we had our pitcher pitch one of the batting stations. It was the first time most of the girls have seen live pitching in months, so they were REALLY rusty. On the plus side, our starting pitcher, Cassie, has got to be at least 5 mph faster than she was in the spring. I caught her during batting practice, and she's got velocity and movement. She looked really good.

We also started working on team defense today. It's two weeks until the start of our season, and we've spent most of our time so far working on individual defensive skills. Now it's time to start putting all together as a team.

I also gave the girls an assignment on the first day of practice. I opened up a tool chest full of small toys and such, and said that they could earn tickets for good play and hustle, and they could exchange tickets for booty. BUT, they had to earn the right to earn tickets first. They had to come up with a team name, and a unique team cheer. AND they couldn't use practice time to come up with either.

They came up with the team name a week or so ago: Tiny Titans (who make you extremely jealous).

The team cheer was tougher, but they finally came up with a team cheer tonight. It's actually pretty good. By the time our first game comes around, we'll be rocking the house!!


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Thunderstorms!! No practice today.

We rarely get rain in the summer, and so this was such blessed relief (we are in a very bad drought) that I didn't even mind canceling practice!


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Another great practice. The girls are starting to think on their own and communicate together.

Today, batting stations, defensive team situations, and the bunting game. We've got a week before our first game, and as always about this time of season, I'm fretting because there's too much left to do and not enough time to do it. Our pitching is good, our hitting is getting there, and our defense is getting there. Hopefully, we'll actually get there before our first game.

We also got another new player today. This girl is a friend of my youngest, and she's a great athlete (she's on the local elite basketball team), but she hasn't played softball since she was 8. I gotta say I was impressed. Her swing is GREAT, and she can catch well. Her throwing needs a little work but overall, definitely a plus to the team.

Oh, and this was the first practice where the girls could earn tickets for good plays to exchange for small toys or candy. Our pitcher got one for scoring a run, my oldest got one for busting her butt hustling, and my youngest got 2 for two diving catches on foul balls in the bunting game.


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No practice on Monday since it was Labor day. Only two practices to go before the season starts! WOO-HOO!!!


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Phew -- work this week was CRAZY busy! I hate it when RL work leaves little time for my Softball site. So without further adieu...

Wednesday, we worked on some new stuff. We did batting stations (as usual), and then we worked on sliding and diving catches. We set up a couple of stations with big flattened cardboard boxes on the ground, and then had the girls make sliding catches at one station and diving catches to the left and to the right at the other stations.

Even my more timid girls "got it" after a while and were making great diving catches! The cardboard provides a little bit of a cushion on top of the grass, plus sliding doesn't hurt. We'll definitely do diving drills the over the next few weeks. I can't WAIT to see the girls actually try it in a game.


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Friday practices are going to be a challenge from here on out. We're a small community, and just about everybody goes to the High School football game when the team's at home. Plus, one of my players is a JV cheerleader, so she and her sister don't make it to Friday practices as it is.

This was our last practice before our first game on Sunday. We worked on hitting live pitching. Since we only had about half the team there, we kept practice pretty low key. I let everyone see the lineup for Sunday, and at the end of practice, girls who could bought booty with their tickets that they've earned. THEY LOVE THAT!!


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