Improving Defense

Discussion in 'Softball Training' started by Wik, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. Wik

    Wik Addicted to Softballfans

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    Alright, had alot of pretty positive and helpful feedback in my post about hitting and ways to ACTUALLY improve, other than just taking thousands of empty, pointless swings.

    So, can we talk about the same for defense?

    I'm a "jack of all trades".....I'm getting older but I actually prefer outfield. I will play anywhere though. I've had major elbow tendinitis 2 times in my right arm though and don't really know the best way(s) to go about rehabbing or building my arm back up. I don't mind playing 3rd but I don't know that my arm is strong enough anymore for it....and in the infield I question my "technique". I see alot of dudes flashing some nice leather in the field but I am wildly inconsistent. Taking some ground balls is well and good but, again, I don't think that will solve everything. I tend to see the ball off the bat really well, especially in the OF. But my arm hasn't rebounded and I worry about covering ground in a potential 3 man (4 man in leagues isn't much of an issue).

    Is there some advice from folks on:

    1) Strengthening my arm, specifically after recovering from tendinitis
    2) Increasing speed to cover more ground in the OF
    3) Better/more consistent ways to handle grounders in the IF
    4) Any other pertinent info that may help you defensively that you care to share
     
  2. 2TransAms

    2TransAms Droppin' 280 ft bombs

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    Only way to improve is practice. Unfortunately "practice" usually means "home run derby", nobody wants to run infield drills. So you're stuck learning on the job one game at a time.
     
  3. MaverickAH

    MaverickAH Well-Known Member

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    1. You don't say what kind of tendonitis. That would be helpful to know.
    2. Wind Sprints. Start off with 5 50 yard sprints (do one, walk it back & do the next) & increase them by one each day until you're up to 20.
    3. Proper footwork & timing is key. Work with a partner. Stand 6-8 feet apart, Your partner will have 2 balls. They will roll a ball to you slightly off to one side. Your job is to move you feet, get in front of the ball, field it using proper technique & toss it back to them underhanded. As you toss it back they will proceed to roll the 2nd ball to the other side. Repeat this process for 10 reps to each side as your partner gradually widens the distance to each side. Try to stay low & keep your technique consistent. During live fielding practice, shorten your distance by 5 to 10 feet, depending on you comfort level. Doing this will increase you reaction time & slow the game down for you when you go back to your normal position.
    4. Practice, practice, practice........ Outside of that, cross train! Cycling is great. Any type of paddle sport is really good.
     
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  4. Wik

    Wik Addicted to Softballfans

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    wow never saw this reply, apologies and THANKS for the great insight.

    As far as tendonitis, I had and continue to have an issue in my right shoulder down to my elbow. I had terrible "tennis elbow" for a couple months. I've seen multiple chiropractors and while they help and the relief is there, it seems to continue to come back, so spurts worse than others. I've had x-rays that show now structural damage but am trying to get a MRI to view for muscle and nerves. This has affected my throwing strength and distance considerably. I have, what I would consider to be a noodle arm, where in highschool I used to have a hose. My throwing slot is also something where playing infield vs playing outfield, the different arm angles I take to throw can be aggravated, if I warm up one way but throw in a game another way. Very frustrating.

    I have regular BP partners but definitely harder to convince them to do field work with me lol

    Still, great info and thoughts. Very much appreciated!
     
  5. jbo911

    jbo911 Super Moderator

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    My team likes to take grounders before the game. If you can talk someone into that it should be easier to talk them into the same after BP, etc.
     
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  6. sleepin4matty

    sleepin4matty Management Material

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    stretching the various muscles in your arm/shoulder would be your first step then work on strength then stretch again. planks help a ton as it targets basically your whole body.
     
  7. BryonR41

    BryonR41 Active Member

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    Wik send me a message on here or Facebook with some info on your arm issues, I'm local to you and a PT ;)
     
  8. Beauner

    Beauner Starting Player

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    When I was playing and then coaching traveling baseball, one of the best/most important drills we did was called "barehand infield" . The players would go to SS/2B (we usually did two lines of players, one at each spot), throw their gloves in the outfield grass, and the coaches would hit ground balls. Nothing really hard, but hard enough to get to the players with a little bit of juice to them still. It really improves soft hands, getting the "vacuum" from the floor to your belly button to get into throwing position. It is also a great drill for footwork, as players are much more likely to circle the ball correctly to make sure the body is behind the ball when they can't rely on a glove to save them from the ball getting by/through them.

    As others have said, it's not always super easy to find a teammate willing to go hit ground balls at you, but you could always use tennis balls and a brick wall and just throw them to yourself using the barehand technique. Throw it at angles to work forehand/backhand, work on footwork, etc. The closer you stand to the wall, the faster your reaction time must be to field it cleanly.

    As far as outfield, the drill that we did that stands out the most for me was something we called the "Cris Carter Drill" (I live in MN and grew up in Carter's heyday up here). We'd start the outfielders probably 15-20 feet from the coaches. Coach would throw a fly ball over the OF's shoulder at an angle - making the OF go back and to the side (left or right, like he's tracking down a ball hit toward the gap/down the line). As soon as the outfielder catches the first ball, he takes it out of his glove, and turns to wait for the next fly ball. Coach can throw it the same direction, or make the OF change direction. The last one would always be one either straight over the OF's head or straight in so they have to judge one and either come charging in or try to track one down over the shoulde. We'd do 4-5 "routes" (fly balls) per player, then let the guy get a breather. Helps the OF get a read on the direction without getting a chance to cheat, especially when they start out so close.
     
  9. ming01

    ming01 DMVWinning

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    Play against the best possible competition you can. It sucks playing League against Rec players then turn around on weekends facing D competition.

    Have someone hit grounders to you and count the number of hops it takes before you field it.
     
  10. Kodiak1

    Kodiak1 R-E-L-A-X

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    For shoulder/arm issues pick up a set of j bands, sbf store has them. They're a lifesaver.
     
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  11. jbo911

    jbo911 Super Moderator

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    Is this just to work on focus?
     
  12. LngBallLvr

    LngBallLvr Addicted to Softballfans

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    Focus and Math. Multitasking at its finest.
     
  13. Wik

    Wik Addicted to Softballfans

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    I hate math :rolleyes::rolleyes: lol
     
  14. 30ozMitch

    30ozMitch New Member

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    This is great!
     

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