Daily Archives: March 30, 2008

Kudos to the men in blue

I’ve made no secret about my feelings regarding teaching players to push the rules cheat. One of my biggest pet peeves is teaching baserunners to leave the base early on a steal under the premise that the umpires probably won’t call it.

Apparently it’s a pet peeve of one of the umpires at the game I was watching yesterday too. Late in the game one of the teams had a runner on first. This team is fairly well known for its aggressive play, and this was a speedy runner with a high likelihood of stealing. As the pitcher delivered the ball, the field umpire yelled out “dead ball, no pitch.” As we were wondering what happened — was it an illegal pitch? — he informed everyone that the runner left early and was out. It was the third out in the inning and killed a potential scoring opportunity since there was a good hitter at the plate.

Kudos to the Blue for keeping an eye on it. The team hadn’t had many baserunners so there wasn’t much evidence that it might occur. But he did his job and made the call.

Now, it may have been a mis-timing on the runner’s part, but I don’t think so. I think she was doing as she’d been taught — getting an early jump. How nice that instead of getting a free base she was out. Justice is served! Considering this runner probably didn’t need to get that jump to steal the base due to her speed, what a shame that she’d been taught to do it anyway (assuming she has).

Your best bet is play within the rules. They’re there for your protection, and to keep the game fair. It’s also the right thing to do.


Using the glove arm when throwing

I’m not sure when this started happening, but from my observations it seems like a lot of girls are learning to throw without using the glove arms effectively. Most of the time when that happens, they either let the glove hang down limply at their sides or they sort of sweep it down and then behind them.

Neither of these methods is very effective. At least with the second, there is some effort to use the glove side. With the first, where the glove hangs limply, there are a couple of problems.

One of the biggest is a lack of balance when throwing. The body likes to be in balance when making athletic movements. When the throwing arm is moving back then forward, balance can be affected — especially if there is nothing to offset the movement. If the glove arm just hangs down, it is not being used to balance the body. Therefore either some other body part is going to have to provide the balance — often the head — or the throw will be made off-balance.

Another problem is a loss of power in the throw. Some girls who do this have strong arms, so they believe they’re throwing as hard as they can. But they’re not. Pulling with the glove arm adds some attack to the throw, helping make it sharper. No matter how hard you throw, you will throw harder by using the glove arm.

The way to think of it is to picture a tug of war. You are manning the rope. The glove arm should pull back as though you are pulling on a rope. It pulls at the same time the throwing arm moves forward.

If you are throwing without the glove side pulling, or have players who are doing it, it’s time to make the change. It may throw them off a little at first, but the end result will be a better overall throw.

Finally some softball!

Our local high school team finally had their first gmes today — about two weeks after the season was supposed to get started. It was actually a double header, with our team playing two different opponents.

The girls looked a bit rusty in the first game, but seemed to do better in the second. The bats started coming alive, and even though there weren’t a lot of hits to get people on base, at least they were swinging the bats and hitting the ball hard. When you’re doing that, base hits (and more) can’t be far behind.

It was definitely chilly out there — those of you in the south and west have no appreciation for what it’s like sitting in 45 degree temperatures for five hours — but at least there was plenty of sunshine to help warm things up a little.

The local weather is calling for temps in the high 50s Monday, but with rain. I hope not. The girls have to be tired of working in the gym. It’s time for the reward of playing the game. And watching it.

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