Suzy Willemssen: Hi, I am Suzy Willemssen and I am the 18 under coach for the Blue Jays Gold which is a Junior Olympic Fast Pitch Softball Team. We have been discussing common hitting flaws and their fixes. What we are going to discuss right now is what I like to call the ABCs of hitting, it's a great softball drill Tom Hansen has marvelous stuff, so this is one of my favorites from him.
Routines, your players need to have routine when they get in the box. The routine gets them centered, helps them get focus, helps them get prepared. The A is Act, you want your players when they step into to the box to act confident even if they are scared to death and they are facing Jelly Seldon on the mount. They are acting like I am going to rip her head off.
B, they need to take a breath; that is the B of our ABC. So it's again scientifically proven, a nice deep belly breath helps to relax the body and as we discussed other times, a relax muscle is going to be a quicker muscle and more powerful muscle and then C, the final one is connecting with your target and by connecting I also mean putting one positive conscious thought in your mind before the pitchers release.
If you don't have anything in your brain, you can allow all those little gremlins to get in. if you put something in there and it's a positive thing then that's going to help you may attain focus, keeping your routine, help you keep prepared. So what I like to do with the ABCs and this is when I try to get my players frustrated, I force them to do their routine. So I am going to do speed pitching to Megan, she is going to be working on her routine and she will be stepping out of the box, taking a breath and what I like to do with my players like I said, we will do a little contest and I want them to hit line drives and don't get a point if they do that. We might play innings and I tell them they will never score on me.
Now my job is getting your head, to allow them to work on the routines, to keep them focus, to keep them positive, to keep them centered. Also coaches, something you might want to do with your players; if you are doing front toss or you are doing cage work, you are using a pitching machine. I encourage you to have maybe players and groups of two or three; each player only gets six pitches. Then the next player comes in and gets six pitches and you rotate it that way instead of having a player just stand in the box for 20 swings. That's again not game like, that's not real life.
So if we have you a middle group then take six and they come out, it helps them keep focus because they only know they are going to get six pitches, again make its more game like. Most 'at bats' are going to be five or six pitches. So gaining things can do to encourage game like conditions; that's we want to do in our softball drill.
So right now we are going to go to ABCs, Megan is going to be working at her routine and I as a coach I am going to try to get in her head a little bit and so she can practice keeping herself nice, centered and focused and positive.
Again, the first stay it's going to be act. The second, letter B for breathe and C is connect, one positive conscious thought. Good breath, good job. I also encourage you to watch Major League Baseball players, college players and see when they are taking their breath, every single one does. Stacy Newman looks at her back and takes her breath. Some of them do it like an elephant trunk, some get in the box and take their breath but they all do it and they all have the eye of a tiger, they are all acting like I am coming at you, bring it on and that's what you want to do as well.
Nice job Megan and again remind them say -- ask them what their tension level was, encourage them remember to be looking long or working short, stretching out their eyes. So again, that's the ABCs, use that terminology. Say it during the game, its going to help them. I can't encourage you to do now; get those softball routines down.