Daily Archives: December 15, 2011

Finding time to practice

This is probably a pretty timely message for most fastpitch softball players. Especially those involved with other sports and activities.

With the holidays upon us we’re all pressed for time. Between our regular day-to-day activities and responsibilities, holiday shopping, trying to finish things up before the new year, etc. it can feel like there’s no way to squeeze out a little time for practicing.

Yet that’s not true — if you approach practicing the right way. There’s no law that says practice has to be at least a half hour long and conducted in a gym, on a field, or in some other athletic facility. Any space with enough room to stand in and swing your arms around a bit will do. And even putting in five or 10 minutes of working on something specific is better than doing nothing.

For example, pitchers who are having trouble getting their arm circle to stay on line (or loose) can stand with their feet planted and slowly work on it while watching themselves in a mirror. Do that for 10 minutes while you’re taking a break from studying and you’ll be amazed at how much better your arm circle is at your next full practice session.

The same goes for fielders. If you are having trouble working your crossover step, clear a little space on the floor of your bedroom and try it there. Hitters can work on getting the feel of driving their hips first, or taking a better path, or getting a proper weight shift. You get the idea.

The key is to take the little piece of a skill you’re having trouble with and work on that exclusively for a few minutes. This is the type of deep practice most players don’t like to do in a full session because they’re more focused on the full skill. But when time and space are limited, working on these little nuances can pay big dividends.

I listed a few suggestions. How ’bout you? What quick, specific things do you recommend players work on?

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