Monthly Archives: October 2016

10 Tips to be Your Best at Softball

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Did you make the softball team? Congratulations! Playing softball is a blast and your family will have a great time watching you and cheering you on. Here are 10 tips to be your best at softball:

  1. Work on Understanding Rules

In softball, rules matter and so you want to make sure you understand them thoroughly. In addition, pay attention to your coach’s directions like how to use your softball cleats or shoes effectively, or how to stand on the field.

  1. Work on Technique

Take advantage of every opportunity to learn more from experts:

  • Take lessons
  • Go to softball camp
  • Get extra coaching
  • Ask older players for tips

Whether someone shows you how to grip your softball bat correctly or how to best catch a fly, pay attention and practice what you learn.

  1. Good Batting Stance
  • Stand with legs shoulder-length apart and knees bent
  • Grip firmly
  • Keep eye on pitcher’s hip where she will release the ball
  • Stay relaxed
  1. Good Hitting
  • Have good attitude
  • Keep both eyes on the ball
  • Swing hard
  • Drive hands and elbow to the ball
  • Do a full follow through as you swing
  • Keep head down on the ball, don’t pull out
  1. Practice, Practice, Practice

The truth? Softball is a game that requires mental toughness and repetition. So practice just as hard as you play. Here are some practice ideas:

  • Throw the ball back and forth with a partner at least 15 minutes every day
  • Bat using a tee into a wall, fence or net every day
  1. Be a Good Team Member

Remember that no one can play softball alone and that everyone does better with encouragement. Be positive and remember to help other people out and give plenty of compliments and praise.

  1. Communicate

People can’t guess what you are thinking, so be sure to communicate clearly to coaches, team members or your parents if you don’t understand something. Be respectful but tell people what you need and give them a chance to respond before getting upset or angry.

  1. Take Care of Your Stuff

Your family has made an investment in buying you the softball equipment you need like bats, balls, gloves and shoes. Don’t just throw your things down.  Protect that investment from getting lost or damaged by making sure you put everything in a protective bag. You can find great softball bags here http://www.longstreth.com/softball-bags.asp

  1. Take Care of the Park

You will spend a lot of time at the ballpark, so keep it nice for everyone by:

  • Cleaning up trash
  • Picking up the dugout
  • Keeping bathrooms clean
  1. Have a Good Attitude

In sports competitions, tempers can fly. How you handle emotions is important. The best players choose to react in a positive way by staying humble and encouraging others.

One last tip? Remember being your best at softball means both sharpening your game and learning how to be a great team member. Unsure what kind of softball equipment might help? Longstreth Sporting Goods specializes in outfitting female softball players and will be happy to help you get everything you need to be your best.Click here to find the best softball bats!

Softball Parents – Here’s How You Can Help Your Daughter

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Have you become a softball parent? You probably love seeing your daughter excited about her sport. As you look forward to seeing her play and continue to improve her game, here’s how you can help:

Get the Right Equipment

One of the first things parents can do is to make sure their daughters get the right softball equipment (buy it here) designed specifically for young female players. Parents can also help make sure your daughter gets the right equipment for her size, age, and position:

  • Softballs and bats
  • Softball mitts and gloves
  • Catcher’s gear
  • Fastpitch cleats and turf shoes
  • Uniforms and team wear
  • Softball training aids
  • Softball equipment bags

Get Properly Fitting Equipment

Your daughter may see another player’s bat and fall in love with it, but your job as a parent is to make sure she gets the equipment that is fitted to her needs. For example, buying the  right softball bat depends on your daughter’s:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Body size
  • Strength
  • Hitting style

Unsure how to get properly fitting gloves and other gear? Ask the experts at Longstreth Sporting Goods for help.

Be Supportive

Sports teach how to win and how to lose. Especially if your daughter is just starting to play, she will need support and encouragement if she does not have a good day on the field.  You can also support her by helping her get in extra practice time, or by providing her with support like a pitching machine to help her practice on her own time.

Be the Parent, Not the Coach

While it can be helpful for a parent to help their daughter do individual practice or remind her to pack her softball sports bag, parents shouldn’t try to be her coach. Besides, you’ll have plenty to do just being her cheering section!

Remind Your Daughter She’s Playing a Game

In the intensity of competitive sports, young girls can easily lose perspective and get angry, upset, or discouraged.  That’s where a parent can step in to help and remind her that softball is just a game and games are meant to be fun.

Encourage Practice at Home

Getting better at softball requires practice at home and you can help your daughter by encouraging her to set goals and keep to them.  She might want to:

  • Throw 15 minutes a day.
  • Do 10 minutes of hitting practice.
  • Do strength training exercises.
  • Practice running with softball cleats.

You might want to encourage her by watching or even joining in with her practices, especially by throwing some balls.

Turn Drills into Games

Softball parents can also help their daughters by making practice a game.

  • Is your daughter a pitcher? Have her try pitching socks toward a full-length mirror to check her body position.
  • Batting inside? Try using a towel instead of a bat and swinging 25 times hard.
  • Pretend to catch grounders or catching a fly ball and practice good footwork.

Softball parents help by getting the right equipment, encouraging practice and helping their daughters keep a great attitude. When your daughter makes that run, catches that grounder, or shouts encouragement to her teammates after a tough inning, you’ll know that being a softball parent is definitely worth it!

How to Outfit your Softball Catcher – All that you need

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Has your daughter just come home excited that she is going to be the catcher on her softball team? While you are probably celebrating that she has been chosen for such an important position, you might also be wondering how to outfit your softball catcher. What is needed?

Catcher’s Mitt and Glove

The catcher’s mitt is not the same as other softball mitts or a baseball catcher’s mitt. Fastpitch catcher’s mitts are larger and have a deeper pocket to handle the size of the softball. In addition, they have thinner padding on the edges for easier catching and transferring for a throw. While durable, they take time to break in. For protection, your daughter will want to wear a softball glove inside her mitt to help absorb the shock and prevent bone bruises. Try on the glove and mitt together to be sure they are comfortable.

Catchers Helmet and Mask

One of the most important protective pieces of equipment is the catcher’s helmet and mask. Helmet vents will keep your daughter cool while the foam padding and hard shell will protect her from the ball. Most are made in a streamlined profile to fit snugly but move with the player. Choose a helmet that feels secure as she moves but feels comfortable.

Chest Protector

Female catcher chest protectors are made to:

  • highlight athleticism of women
  • be easy to take on and off
  • reduce ball rebound
  • flex in multiple directions

To determine the right size of chest protector, measure from the top of your daughter’s collarbone to the bottom of her navel.

Leg Guards

Leg guards will protect your daughter from the knee to her foot. When you measure for leg guards, you want to measure from the middle of the knee to the top of the foot.

Knee Savers and Thumb Guard

Whether your daughter wants knee savers or a thumb guard is optional. Knee savers are a block which works with the leg guard to reduce stress on knee joints. Thumb guards protect against injury in growing players or help a player who is recovering from a thumb injury.

Catcher’s Bag

Because your daughter is going to have to carry a lot of equipment including not only her softball cleats and body protective equipment but also her shoes and bat to and from practices and games, you probably want to get her a catcher’s bag to carry it more easily. You will want a bag that is big enough for all of her gear to fit in easily so nothing gets damaged.

Final Tips for Outfitting Your Catcher

Make sure to try on catcher’s gear before buying! In truth, if your daughter is playing catcher, she will need more equipment than girls playing other positions. However, if she is just starting out, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on softball catchers gear. Just make sure she has what she needs to be safe and comfortable so she can play her best.  Feel like you need help? At Longstreth Sporting Goods, someone is always available to answer questions and help you make buying decisions for your softball catcher.

All About Composite Softball Bats

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When you step up to the batter’s box, you want to have a bat that will help you deliver power and speed. It doesn’t hurt to have a maximum pop too! For a long time, when they were looking for fastpitch bats, elite players chose aluminum.  However, technology has changed and now composite softball bats are the top choice.

Why are Composite Softball Bats the Best?

Composite bats are made from reinforced carbon fiber polymer which is not only more durable than wood or aluminum but also has:

  • better swing weight distribution
  • higher damping rate to reduce hand sting
  • improved trampoline effect

In fact, the best composite bats are constructed so that their trampoline effect gets better over time, so a composite softball bat performs even more superbly after being broken in.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Composite Softball Bats

In fact, there are actually very few disadvantages with this type of bat.  The biggest concern is that the polymers can crack if used at very low temperatures. Player safety was a concern, so rules have been established by the NCAA to make sure composite bats meet certain requirements so that after the break-in period the bat’s trampoline effect remains within established safety bounds.

Top Composite Bats for Softball

Which composite bats are the best? Elite players want a bat that helps them perform their best when the pressure is on. Yet younger players need the confidence booster of having a great bat too.  While every top player has her favorite bat, she is probably choosing between a Demarini and a Louisville Slugger.  Here are two popular choices:

  • Louisville Slugger Xeno Plus: The #1 fastpitch bat is now even more powerful with a zero friction and a terrific pop.
  • Demarini CF9: The Demarini CF series has been one of the most popular for several years and the CF9 offers the biggest sweet spot available.

How to Choose a Composite Softball Bat

Since a batter has only about half a second to make a decision about hitting a pitched ball, young women need the best tool in their hands that they can get. Here is how to choose a softball bat:

  • Size: When the knob is placed in the center of her chest, the player should be able to touch the end of the bat with her fingertips.
  • Weight: Too heavy of a bat will cause your swing to drop, so pick a bat that you can hold extended in one hand for 30 seconds.
  • Drop:The drop is the difference between the bat’s length and weight, with a heavier bat having a lower drop. Check league rules for limits and remember that if you have a low drop bat, you might want a short one for a faster swing.

Young women playing sports need equipment that is developed especially to enhance their abilities. That’s why Longstreth specializes in providing a wide variety of the best softball equipment for young female players. Getting a composite bat of the appropriate size, weight, and drop can help a young woman be ready for every pitch in her next game.

Longstreth – The Place to Find all that You need for Field Hockey

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Female athletes deserve equipment designed especially for them. Longstreth Sporting Goods specializes in field hockey, softball and lacrosse equipment designed for the female athlete so that the players are properly fitted with what they need to do their best, starting from their very first stick all the way to the latest technologies.

While field hockey is unfamiliar sport to some, in fact, it is one of the world’s oldest team sports. Played like ice hockey except outside on turf, or inside on a hard surface, field hockey has two teams of eleven players each (ten fielders and one goalie). The players use the flat side of the field hockey stick to move a ball (rather than a puck) down the field and score points by getting it into the goal.

Field Hockey Equipment 

Here is a run down of the basic equipment your player needs to kick start their field hockey fun!

Field Hockey Sticks

Required for each player is a hockey stick. These range in price from a basic stick, that can be as inexpensive as $25, to a high-tech model which can cost over $400.  Advanced players use high-tech sticks in order to maximize their control, speed, and ball-handling abilities. However, basic sticks are good for beginners as they:

  • Learn the basic rules and techniques of the game.
  • Develop ball control.
  • Learn stick skills.

Field Hockey Balls

Of course, you also need to have a field hockey ball in order to play the game. Most teams have balls for practice and play, but you might want some for practicing on your own so that you can improve your ball handling skills. They are not expensive, typically costing between $5-10 dollars. Truthfully, there is not as much difference between the balls as there is between the sticks. Here are the basics:

  • While field hockey balls are hard plastic, they are generally hollow inside.
  • High School balls must have an  NFHS approved stamp.
  • Division I colleges are required to use a Kookaurra ball that has a cork core for a soft touch and a dimpled surface that rolls better on the wet turf.
  • Indoor balls are somewhat smaller and lighter.

Other Equipment

What else do you need?  Most of the additional field hockey equipment is designed for protection.  You will want to get:

  • Shinguards: these are required and generally made from hard plastic. They cover from your ankle bones to just below your kneecap.
  • Mouth Guard: required to protect your teeth and mouth from being hit by the ball or a stick.
  • Goggles: required for middle and high school players. Whether made of wire or plastic, these must meet the current ASTM F2713 guidelines for field hockey.
  • Gloves: wearing these is optional but many outside players wear one on their left hand for protection from hurting their knuckles on the turf or ball. Some players, especially indoor, wear them on both hands.

Getting the Best for Female Hockey Players

Excited about this up-and-coming sport? Whether you are choosing your first field hockey stick, ready to upgrade to one which includes all of the latest technologies or need to outfit yourself with the other equipment for the game, Longstreth aims to be your one-stop-shop for all field hockey gear.

My Daughter is Starting Lacrosse – What Equipment Does She Need?

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Congratulations!  Your daughter is going to play an intense and exciting game which will challenge her to develop physical stamina, hand-eye coordination and the ability to work with her team. Here is what she is going to need to play well and keep safe:

Lacrosse Stick

Of course, the most important and personal piece of equipment for each player is her stick which has two parts: the handle, and the head. Both pieces come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes that give young women different advantages depending on the position they play and how they like to handle the ball.  However, without knowing all the ins-and-outs of the game, how is a beginning player supposed to choose? Here are some guidelines:

  • Heads with flat scoops and wide faces help beginners catch and pick up the ball.
  • Stick head choice can depend on position: narrow throat for offensive player wanting increased accuracy; stiff, flat head for defenders for hard checks and stability on groundballs; sturdy head for goalies to withstand hard shots.
  • Stick length can be between 35.5 and 43.25, but beginners often opt for a shorter stick for better control.
  • Handle material advantages differ: alloy is strongest in moderate weather, composite is softer and more flexible in extreme weather; titanium is lightest and strongest but can make a stick top-heavy.

ASTM Approved Lacrosse Goggles

Safety is first and wearing goggles that meet the current ASTM International standards is a must to protect your daughter’s eyes. Lacrosse goggles:

  • Are made with soft padding, rubber, plastic, and wire.
  • Should fit snugly on the face, be comfortable and provide good side and ground vision.
  • Can be made for girls who wear glasses.
  • Should be tried on before buying.

Mouth Guard

Available in a variety of fun colors, shapes, and flavors, lacrosse mouth guards protect teeth but are lightweight and comfortable.  In addition:

  • Girls like to show their style with their mouth guard colors.
  • Mouth guards allow girls to breathe, talk, and even drink.
  • You can buy them for girls who have braces.
  • Flavors include: bubble gum, mint, fruit, and lemon-lime
  • Mouth guard cases are a good way to store them.

Lacrosse Cleats

The right lacrosse footwear will help players have good traction on grass, mud, or turf. The cleats are usually designed with 4 studs on the heel and 6-8 on the front.  Choose cleats that are:

  • Lightweight and breathable for flexibility and comfort.
  • Stiff enough to absorb impact and protect from foot fatigue and injury.
  • Not too tight or too loose, with about 1/2 inch of space between toe and shoe.

Optional Lacrosse Equipment

For protection or cold weather comfort, some players like to wear gloves.  In addition, players often want to have their own balls for individual practice. One inexpensive but important piece of lacrosse gearfor beginners is the Cradlebaby, a lacrosse training ball attached to an lanyard-type band which allows players to practice stick work, cradling, and improve wrist strength.

Worthwhile Investment

Yes, buying your daughter lacrosse equipment will be an investment, but the total cost will probably be less than private lessons in many sports. Better yet, you will get the enjoyment of watching her grow in confidence, agility, and pride in her sport and her team.