“What you are thinking, what shape your mind is in,
is what makes the biggest difference of all” – Willie Mays
Morgan Walters, Writer/Editor
Special Game Elevating Audio Features…
FORMER MLB PLAYER AND HITTING INSTRUCTOR
WHAT YOU’LL HEAR:
- THE RIGHT WAY TO SWING
- IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL SWINGS?
- ABSOLUTES NECESSARY TO EFFECTIVE HITTING
EC BULLETS GOLD TEAM SENIOR AND GEORGIA STATE SIGNEE
WHAT YOU’LL HEAR:
- TIPS ON THE RECRUITING PROCESS
- HOW THE EAST COBB FASTPITCH ORGANIZATION MAKES RECRUITING EASIER
- WHAT EAST COBB FASTPITCH DOES TO PREPARE YOU FOR COLLEGE BALL
Listen in on what Megan has to say:
Getting Into The 2013 Season- 10u EC Bullets Win First Qualifier
The 10u Bullets- Sewell won the first qualifier of the season in Calhoun at Palmer Memorial Park, rewarding them with a berth to ASA Nationals and the Hall of Fame tournament. The team played a total of 4 games, scored 30 runs, and only allowed 10 runs to score. Brinkley Yevak helped lead the team to a win by pitching a no-hitter with 6 strike outs. Kaitlyn Pickens and Skylar Trahan both pitched outstanding games against the Atlanta Vipers, and Aslinn Leister shut down the GA Thunder by pitching 5 innings on Sunday to lead them to the championship. Lilly Holston hit a triple that scored three runs, giving them a lead against GA Select that helped secure their shot at winning a berth to nationals. Other big hitters were Emilee Smith and Sidney Feistner, adding an additional 9 RBI’s to help lead the team to victory.
“All of our games were a team effort and everyone should be proud of how we played to get our berths”, says Coach Sewell. “We look forward to representing the EC Bullets organization well at the Hall of Fame tournament and at Nationals, with our goal of being the first 10u team from GA to win ASA Nationals.”
Former EC Bullets Face Off In The SEC and Non- Conference Games
Kallie Case and Lexi Overstreet are former 18u Gold Bullets players.
Their names may sound familiar because they are both currently freshmen at two nationally ranked SEC schools. Case plays at Alabama, and Overstreet plays at Tennessee. Both players attended Buford High School together.
Tennessee beat Bama in a 3 game series, making them the first team to defeat Alabama since the 2012 season and bring their undefeated streak to a halt.
At the College of Charleston, another former Bullet, freshman Chandler Frisbee, is contributing to team wins as well. Frisbee hit a double that scored the winning RBI to beat her former teammate Lexi Overstreet at Tennessee with a 2-1 victory.
Taylor Anderson, a former Bullet and freshman at Georgia State, hit her first college career home run and was voted rookie player of the week.
Lexi is currently the starting catcher for the Tennessee Lady Vols.
Congratulations Kallie, Lexi, Chandler, and Taylor!
USA Junior National Team Picks Its Players
Out of all the players in the country, 20 lucky girls have been chosen to play on the Junior National Team. All players are between the ages of 17 and 19, and the team consists of one 2014 graduate, one 2013 graduate, and 18 college freshman. 16 out of the 18 college freshmen play on nationally ranked college teams.
How did they get selected?
Well, many people believe you have to play ASA in order to be eligible to play for a Junior National team. However, this isn’t necessarily true. Scouts can be found at any NCAA tournaments as well as any ASA tournaments around the country. They attend the best tournaments year round in search of the best players and top recruits.
Requirements include a 19 and under age limit, and for the 2013 team you must at least be a 2015 graduate. Ultimately the best ways to be selected are to:
1- Compete at the highest level and attend the best tournaments
2- Be a top recruit
3- Ask to be considered
4- Be recommended by your High School Coach
5- Be recommended by your ASA certified travel coach
6- Be recommended by your college coach.
Congratulations to all 20 Junior National Team players!
Pre-Game Warm up… aka “Injury Prevention”
The real reason you warm up…
By: Gale Bernhardt
Too often, athletes show up late to a group workout and just jump in on the fast running, swinging, and throwing with no set warm-up. Others are pinched for time, trying to squeeze a workout into a busy schedule, so they skip the warm-up figuring the main set of the workout is more important anyway.
Is a warm-up really necessary? What constitutes a “good” warm-up?
A warm-up activity serves two major purposes—to enhance performance and prevent injury. Consequently, a warm-up is both physical and mental.
Relaxed, sitting in your chair and reading this column produces a relatively low 15 to 20 percent of blood flow to your skeletal muscles. Most of the small blood vessels (capillaries) within those muscles are closed. After 10 to 12 minutes of total body exercise, blood flow to the skeletal muscles increases to some 70 to 75 percent and the capillaries open.
Along with more blood flow comes an increase in muscle temperature. This is good because the hemoglobin in your blood releases oxygen more readily at a higher temperature. More blood going to the muscles, along with more oxygen available to the working muscles, means better performance.
An increase in temperature also contributes to faster muscle contraction and relaxation. Nerve transmission and muscle metabolism is increased, so the muscles work more efficiently.
Part of a warm-up process includes getting your head ready for the upcoming activity. Mentally preparing for the upcoming workout or event, is thought to improve technique, skill, and coordination.
This mental warm-up also prepares athletes for the discomfort of tough intervals or a race. If the mind is ready to endure discomfort, the body can produce higher speeds. If the mind is unwilling to endure discomfort, physical performance will certainly be limited.
To many athletes, warm-ups can be seen as something to be taken lightly; a slow, relaxed process of stretching and talking with teammates. Most athletes overlook the fact that their warm-up prevents life-changing and career- altering injuries that can occur in games and practices. Warm-up is part of the game and part of a practice; physical preparation and mental preparation start here.
Does Vision Training Elevate Your Game?
By: Morgan Walters
“Keep your eye on the ball!” “Look the ball into your glove!”
Those are probably the two most common sayings we hear from our softball coaches, but sometimes it’s easier said than done.
The ability to track a 65 mph fastball ultimately depends on depth perception and dynamic visual skills. Under game conditions, vision is ranked at the top along side weight training and conditioning. Most people spend a lot of time and money training their bodies, but rarely do they spend time training their eyes. What most people don’t know is that your eyes are key to your body’s timing, balance, and overall performance level.
If the visual information is not accurate, the body is thrown off and its physical performance drops.
Just like physical skills, vision skills can be taught, trained, and practiced. Sports vision testing and training programs have helped athletes around the world improve their overall athletic performance.
A few years ago at the University of Houston, Optometrists developed a Sport Vision Training clinic to help improve athletic performance.
“You can go and lift all day long, and you can go and get the most expensive bat out there, [but] it’s not going to do you any good if you don’t have good vision,” says Dr. Gee from the University of Houston.
Check out the video on this web page for more information on the clinic and how vision training improves your athletic performance!
Muscle Memory… What It Is and How You Perfect It.
By: Advantage Basketball, Inc.
Muscle memory is the interaction between the brain and the nervous system. Proprioceptors are the nerve endings that tell the brain where your arms, hands, legs, feet, fingers, toes, etc. are located in time and space. In fact, it tells the body without even seeing them. In sport science we call this a kinesthetic sense of awareness. A person that types without looking at the keyboard exemplifies the proprioceptors at work. Without conscious thought, the fingers of the typist strike the correct keys, and often at a quick rate. This is muscle memory or proprioception at work. Without it, you would look down at the keyboard the entire time. So, what’s all of this got to do with sports? Everything! The more you bowl, whether it’s correct technique or not, the more muscle memory patterns you establish. On the negative side, the more ingrained these patterns become, the harder and timelier they are to change. Remember last month, patience and precise practice equals skill development and successful change in your game. On the positive side, the more your muscle memory patterns develop, the more you become unaware of your physical bowling, the movements and biomechanics. Therefore, muscle memory frees the mind-brain- body to focus on a particular objective. That’s when you can let it go, or just operate “in the zone.” Learning a new skill is nothing more than establishing new muscle memory patterns. Reproducing your approach and delivery all establish and further reinforce your muscle memory patterns. It’s not surprising to realize that if you had to consciously think about each of your body movements, you would not be able to perform such complex tasks with any degree of success.
As mentioned earlier, bad habits in athletics are difficult to change due to the associated muscle memory that has been established.
So how do you successfully override it?
With a conscious effort. You must concentrate on the new skill that is to replace the previous habit. Not one practice session, one day, or even one week. During the time it takes to make it a complete part of your game. That may take weeks, months, or even years. We can’t say how long it takes, only when it arrives permanently. Depending on how long an athlete has been playing, this can take quite an effort and lots of practice. Needless to say, once muscle memory is established, it is essential not to think about any other physical movements during the approach. This is really tough. Although it takes strong concentration to change your current muscle memory, it only takes a few thoughts about your mechanics to interrupt your trained muscle memory patterns, and change your entire performance. It is important to realize it only takes a few mere thoughts to disrupt muscle memory, and will ultimately have a negative effect on your game.
Perfecting your game through knowledge of the sport and practice is essential to establishing sound muscle memory patterns. When it is time to practice and train think about the given item you are working on every second of every shot, then move on to the next item. When it is time to compete, let the mind go blank and let muscle memory take over. When you have achieved that level of mental discipline, you are truly in “the zone” and can reach whatever level of performance you choose.
Baseball swing vs. Softball swing… Is there really a difference?
Learning from the best to be the best…
By: Morgan Walters
Why wouldn’t everyone want to hit like a major league baseball player?
That’s the question I’ve most asked myself in my softball career.
Major league baseball players are ultimately the best hitters and fielders in the United States.
If they’re the best… and your goal is to be the best… Why not learn what you can from them?
Most players and coaches respond by saying, “softball and baseball are different, the guys have their sport and the girls have theirs.”
Sure, there are different aspects to both sports. Baseball has a bigger field and there aren’t any slappers who can run to first base in 2.8 seconds. Ultimately, both sports are composed of a round bat hitting a round ball. A select few have really figured out how to do it. So we ask ourselves, “Why are they so good at it?” “What’s their secret?”
The most driving statement I’ve heard about hitting, and what really pushes me to be the best I can be, is “There is only one way to hit and that’s the right way.”
So the question that follows is… What is the right way?
What it comes down to is a set of absolutes, or things that every great hitter does in order to maximize their hitting performance.
Absolutes found in every great hitter’s swing are things such as pre-pitch movement (or rhythm), negative movement (or load), positive movement, connection, extension, and a few others. College coaches around the country are all teaching the same absolutes to every hitter. It seems as if everyone’s starting to figure out that there really isn’t a difference in baseball and softball swings. Both baseball and softball players should have swings that are both linear and rotational. Ultimately softball players’ swings should look the same as baseball players’ swings.
One of the best tools to use for your swing is video. Video doesn’t lie, and it gives instant feed back. Programs like RVP (Right View Pro) allows you to put a video of your swing side by side a video of a MLB player or USA softball player. You can slow it down and analyze your swing in comparison to the best in the business. For example, I could compare my swing to Albert Pujols or Chipper Jones and compare what I do to the way they do it. Visually being able to see my swing in comparison to the pros shows me instantaneously what I need to work on and what it’s supposed to look like. Last year, the EC Bullets gold team used RVP consistently through out the season. I think it really contributed to how well we did at Premier Nationals. The ability to see what you’re doing wrong and how you’re supposed to do it helps avoid bad muscle memory and is nothing less than beneficial to any hitter.
This has been a huge advantage to me as a hitter. Realizing that as softball players we can actually learn from pro baseball players and not just watch them on TV, has really opened my eyes to all that softball players are capable of.
Until next month – Go Pound It!!
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*The EC Bullets “FastPitch Confidential” Newsletter is for entertainment purposes only. The views of the publisher are not necessarily the views of the EC Bullets Organization. The advice, if any, is not intended to persuade nor instruct. No warranties or guarantees are made that your game will improve or deteriorate implementing or following any of the opinions or advice given in this newsletter. We simply love the game of Fast-Pitch softball and enjoy discussing and sharing it with you. Go Bullets!!!
If you would like to be a contributor to this newsletter in any fashion, contact Morgan Walters at email@example.com