The NCAA D-I Softball Championship begins on May 15 when the Regional matchups kick off this year’s tourney. Championship Productions has had the privilege of working with nine of the coaches in this year’s field, including the coaches of seven of the top 16 seeds! Now, you can gain knowledge and instruction from some of the best coaches in NCAA softball. Below is a list of the tournament coaches we have worked with. Check out the world class list of Championship Productions’ authors, and click on the coaches’ names to see more information about their products:
#1 seed: Florida Gators – Head Coach, Tim Walton – (50-6)
#5 seed: LSU Tigers – Head Coach, Beth Torina – (44-11)
#7 seed: UCLA Bruins – Head Coach, Kelly Inouye-Perez – (45-10)
#9 seed: Florida State Seminoles – Head Coach, Lonni Alameda – (45-12)
#10 seed: Missouri Tigers – Head Coach, Ehren Earleywine – (39-14)
#11 seed: Oklahoma Sooners – Head Coach, Patty Gasso – (45-7)
#12 seed: Arizona Wildcats – Head Coach, Mike Candrea – (38-17)
BYU Cougars – Head Coach, Gordon Eakin – (39-12)
Arizona State Sun Devils – Head Coach, Craig Nicholson – (34-20)
Team Mizuno 16U head coach Mike Stith loves to run his catchers through bare handed framing drills to ensure they focus on the ball through the catch. In this drill, you’ll see some of the techniques that help Stith’s catchers become effective behind the plate.
Drill Summary: These drills use baseballs instead of softballs to allow the catchers to use one hand to catch the ball. A coach sets up with a bucket of baseballs about ten feet in front of home plate. Catchers line up in a single file line in all of their gear excluding their helmets, and one player sets up in their squat behind home plate. The coach underhand tosses three baseballs to each catcher, who catches the balls and works on framing for a split second after catching. As the drill progresses, the coach throws balls more and more off the plate to challenge the players.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Look the ball into your hand.
2) Frame each ball.
3) Position the hand where the glove would be.
4) Catch with fingers around the ball.
Founder of Team Mizuno and head coach of Team Mizuno’s 16U travel team Mike Stith uses the four corners drill to train his players to get rid of the ball quickly after catching it. Taking away even a half second of time fielding the ball can be the difference between a put out and a base runner on first base.
Drill Summary: Players split into even lines at every base, with the catchers staying at home plate. The person at the front of each line steps up onto the base (the catcher stays behind home plate). On the coach’s command, the first catcher throws to the player at third base, who throws to the player at second base, who throws to the player at first base and finally back to home plate. After each throw, the player who made the throw goes to the back of their respective line and the next player steps into the drill.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Catchers receive throws while squatting and bounce up to throw.
2) Catch the ball and land on the throwing foot.
3) Accurate throws.
4) Stay on the bags.
The ability to grab a ball in the dirt is an essential skill for the developing softball infielder. In this drill from Team Mizuno founder Mike Stith, your entire team will work on fielding short hops to cut down on errors in the field.
Drill Summary: Players pair up and grab a softball for each pair. In the pairs, players stand about 10 feet apart and take turns tossing a ball in the dirt to their partner, who uses correct fundamentals to field and secure the ball. Practice fielding short hops both inside and outside the body.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Get “door knocking” knuckles on the ground.
2) Hands should be in front of the body.
3) Relax and keep the hands still.
4) Catch only with the glove when reaching outside the body.