It won’t be long until football is in the air for sports fans across Alabama, but for thousands of little girls they have another sport in mind… SOFTBALL.
Stepping out on the field for their first time can be exciting, scary, and even overwhelming. As a mom it’s our job to get them prepared for life on the Diamond. So if softball is something your little ones are considering for this fall here’s a rundown on the things you need to know to get started:
Buying the Basics
1. Glove (see chart)
2. Bats (investment & size)
3. Defensive Face mask (required in some leagues for infield positions)
4. Batting helmet with face mask
*6. Chest protector
*7. Batting Gloves
After shopping for the necessaries remember that having style is part of the game. Looking the part will give your little player confidence. Check out you tube videos for the latest braids or search National Pro Fast Pitch to see how the women in the big leagues are getting their hair game day ready. Big bows and head bands are no longer just for cheerleaders. Thanks to USA Gold Medalist Jennie Finch, girls are taking the field with style and they don’t mind mixing a little dirt with sass.
The speed of the game has changed! And don’t be confused, this is not baseball. Young girls on the mound stand as close as 35 feet away from the batter as opposed to little league baseball pitching from 46 feet. Bases are 30 feet closer to the plate than in baseball, and new composite bats are hotter than ever. So when your player asks for safety gear don’t compare to big brother or even what you wore as a kid, because the game has changed and softball players are covering up for protection. Invest in your player’s safety with an evo shield heart guard that can be worn under her jersey to cover her chest.
Protective gear can help overcome fear of the ball and give your player the confidence she needs to be successful.
Participating in softball can give your daughter the opportunity to learn the importance of team work, build confidence and teach her lessons that can be applied to life on and off the field. Remember, to be her biggest cheerleader, and try not to be a coach from the stands. Enjoy the ride home by letting her recap the fun. Try not to get caught up with pointing out everything she should have done. Give her a little time to process. You may be surprised when she comes to you with a plan of how she’s going to conquer the next pop fly.
One of the best rules to have as a mom is to abide by the 24 Hour Rule. We may not always agree with the coach on the field, but show him/her respect by applying a 24 hour rule before addressing your complaints or concerns. Keeping your calm will give you time to chill, and help you to address the coach with less unnecessary emotion. It also gives your excited coach a chance to simmer down. You may want to check out Jennie Finchs book “Throw Like a Girl” to read how her love for the game as a child and her parents interaction encouraged her to be the best she could be.
Other resources are available to you and your player. Check out Amanda-Scarborough.com and ThePackageDeal.com for drills and tutorials, log onto Al Fastpitch on Facebook for the inside info on what’s going on in the travel ball world, contact your local high school or park board to find out when the next clinic or camp is available. Schedule lessons at local Hitting Facilities such as Going Yard in Hayden, Alabama or the Alabama Saints facility in Hoover, Alabama
Depending on the governing body of the league, rules could differ. Familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to your daughter’s age division. This will help you become a better fan in the stands and help you to answer any questions your player may have. Remember, treat the umpire with respect. Your daughter is listening and it’s important that she learns to respect the authority on the field.
Practice practice practice. Have fun and get out in the dirt with your daughter. She’s about to have the time of her life and you have front row seats.