Category Archives: softball equipment

Why are Nokona Softball Gloves so popular?

Nokona Fastpitch Softball Gloves

Nokona Fastpitch softball gloves have been consistently popular within the softball industry. They have been crafting their products in Nocona, Texas since 1934, and take extreme pride in the fact that they are an American-based product.

The Nokona X2 Buckaroo glove is Nokona’s highest-end Fastpitch softball glove. It comes in three different forms; the fielder’s glove, catcher’s mitt, and first base mitt. This series is made from Nokona’s top-grain Stampede Steerhide and Kangaroo Leathers. This material allows for the Fastpitch softball glove to maintain its structure and shape. The X2 Buckaroo series is of the highest quality for advanced players who want the highest level of performance.

The Nokona Alpha softball glove comes in both a fielder’s glove and catcher’s mitt. It is designed so that there is virtually no break-in needed. Nokona gloves are notorious for taking a decent amount of time to break in, so if you are looking for a Nokona Fastpitch softball glove that allows for a lesser break in time, the Alpha series may be what you need. This series is made of the highest quality American Buffalo and Steerhide leathers, making this Fastpitch softball glove lightweight, durable, and high-performing.

The Nokona Walnut Fastpitch softball glove series comes in a fielder’s glove, catcher’s mitt, and first base mitt. This softball glove is made from Nokona’s famous Top Grain Steerhide. The Walnut series is a classic Fastpitch softball glove that still has all of the modern technology that softball players enjoy.

Nokona also offers their consumers a one-year warranty with their Fastpitch softball glove purchase. This is an outstanding warranty from a company that truly stands behind their products. If you wish to get an extended warranty with your Fastpitch softball glove, then Nokona is your best option.

Picking a Fastpitch Softball Glove can be difficult, and being comfortable with your choice is a top priority. Nokona is just one of the many brands of Fastpitch softball gloves that players thoroughly enjoy. Nokona makes top quality softball gloves that break away from the pack in their specialized materials, durability, and dedication to the satisfaction of their consumers. Visit Longstreth.com or the Longstreth Sporting Goods retail store for all your fastpitch softball needs.

Related Articles

Most Popular Fastpitch Softball Gloves & Mitts

Popular Fastpitch Softball Gloves and Mitts

Fastpitch Softball Gloves
When it comes to the game of fastpitch softball, gloves and mitts are one of the most important choices an athlete can make. Each year, vendors roll out their new line for the upcoming season. Typically, each line includes gloves/mitts produced for specific positions with a variety of leathers and pocket web designs. Some gloves are made for the both right- and left-handed players; but the majority of gloves / mitts are designed for the right-handed thrower.

As a female athlete, it’s important to find a glove that has been made specifically for the female player. These gloves feature narrow fingers, smaller wrist openings, and a wider pocket.

This season, three fastpitch softball gloves have become popular choices.

Nokona Walnut Fastpitch Gloves
The Nokona brand is synonymous with high-quality, top-of-the line offerings. Their Nokona Walnut line is a classic best-selling glove that provides great stability, durability, and a game-ready feel. The Walnut Fastpitch gloves are constructed of flexible, lightweight Walnut Steerhide Leather. They are handcrafted and made specifically for the female athlete’s hand. The single finger closed back with adjustable Velcro wrist strap offers a personalized fit for each individual player. The fielder’s and catcher’s gloves come in a variety of sizes with a closed web, while the first base is available with an H-web design. They’re all available for the right-handed thrower.

Wilson A2000
Wilson’s A2000 is designed for the serious fastpitch athlete. This 12.5-inch fastpitch glove has been created with the new Custom Fit System, a hook and loop wrist closure that offers every player a customized secure fit – no matter how tight she wears it. It is built from Premium Pro Stock leather that gives the glove superior feel and durability; and allows the glove to break in perfectly and last from season to season. The A2000 features D-Fusion padding just below the pocket to absorb the shock of hard line drives; a Victory Web that makes it the perfect outfielder glove; and is available for right-handed throwers.

Rawlings Liberty Advanced
Rawlings has developed a perfectly-balanced pattern technology for the Liberty Advanced Fastpitch Softball Glove series. This 12.5-inch glove is designed for the smaller hand of the female athlete, therefore providing improved control and comfort. The nonslip pull strap makes the hand opening adjustable for a custom fit. The Liberty Advanced Glove is constructed from full-grain oil-treated shell leather making it feel game-ready. It features a double-laced basket web which forms a closed, deep pocket making it an excellent choice for infielders, outfielders, and pitchers. It’s available for right-handed throwers.

While these three gloves rise to the top of this year’s offerings, there are many other options available for all levels of players. Longstreth Sporting Goods has a huge variety of gloves and mitts specifically designed for the female athlete. Visit Longstreth to see the fastpitch equipment selection or ask the Softball Expert how to select the perfect glove for you.

Softball Catcher Drills for the Female Athlete by a Seasoned Pro

softball-catchers-gear-training-tips

Longstreth has asked Jaime Wohlbach, East Stroudsburg Softball Head Coach and Softball Catcher Trainer to share her expertise in the field for this blog. Jaime shares our passion for the game and commitment to women’s sports. She has been involved with every aspect of the game of softball – playing, coaching, training and has built a solid reputation both within the USA and internationally.

She’s been a catcher for many years so it was natural for us to ask her to share a few Drills for the Softball Catcher. From Jaime’s point of view, a softball catcher must be mentally, physically and fundamentally tough, and most important of all, be a leader on and off the field.

Throughout her catching career, Jaime has found that to achieve maximum potential and maintain position readiness, a catcher must train 12 months out of the year.  Here are three drills that Jaime recommends that can be worked on daily, to enhance strength, speed, footwork and stamina.

 Blocking Drill
This is a great drill to build in reaction time to block.  Catchers know solid technique, but it’s reacting to the “missed pitch” that will better prepare catchers.

  • Be in a catcher’s squat facing a wall about 4 feet away from the wall
  • Have a partner stand directly behind the catcher with a softball
  • Tap the softball helmet, right shoulder, or left shoulder of the catcher so they have an idea of which direction to prepare to block the ball
  • Throw the softball directly into the wall so it takes one bounce on the ground before the catcher blocks it
  • Catcher reacts to the softball and blocks it

Sets/Reps:  10 reps, 3 sets, mix up locations, focusing on quick reaction time off the wall with solid blocking mechanics

Bucket Arm Strength Drill
This drill is great to build arm strength and length while keeping form in proper position.

  • Place a bucket with a lid on top on home plate
  • Catcher sits on the bucket
  • Receive a throw and while still seated on the bucket, drop step to a power line spin on the bucket so you are in good throwing position
  • Throw the softball as far as you can, without the ball bouncing (home to second and beyond)
  • Now that your max distance is found, even if you have to throw high and up, continue to repeat throw to that distance spotted.

Sets/Reps:  10 reps, 3 sets, throwing to the spot marked as the furthest distance being reached before bouncing.

Next session, go back one step further than the marked spot to continue to build on strength and length of throw, again, 10 reps, 3 sets, at a distance one step further than the day before

Block and Wild Pitch Combo Drill
This drill incorporates solid blocking technique, while the next softball thrown works on exploding for the wild pitch.  This will result in building power, speed, and endurance while still maintaining good mechanics even when the body gets tired.

  • A catcher in full gear in ready position in a squat
  • A partner rolls a softball underhand for the catcher to block and throw back to partner from the knees
  • Catcher resets to ready position
  • Partner throws a high wild pitch, and the catcher explodes up to catch it, sets to a powerline to throw back to the partner, and back to ready position squat
  • Repeat the above steps…catcher in ready position, drop and block ball, throws from knees to partner, back to ready position squat, explodes up for wild pitch, throws from powerline to partner, back to ready position squat, drop and block ball, throws back to partner from knees, back to ready position squat, explode up for wild pitch, continue to repeat this format.

Sets/Reps:  10 reps, 2 sets, up/down is 1 rep.

This will build strength, power, and endurance.  As the athlete gets tired during reps 6 -10, encourage the front foot to be strong on the powerline to continue solid accurate throws while pushing through being tired.

Jaime’s advice as a seasoned catcher, coach, and clinician developing athletes, is to make the time every day to train.  Why? You do it for the love of the game.  You do it for yourself and no one else.  You do it because the strength within you loves to excel and compete. You do it because you want to be the best catcher you can be and rise to the challenge. You do it because you want to earn your role on the field.  You do it because you anchor the field of success.

Longstreth thanks Jaime Wohlbach for her expertise, passion, and dedication to the game of softball. Visit Longstreth.com for more information about the game, ask the experts, or shop our huge selection of softball catchers gear and other softball equipment.

10 Tips to be Your Best at Softball

10-tips-to-be-your-best-at-softball

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

softball-parents

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 are Softball and Baseball Different from Each Other?

blog4

While there are many similarities between the games of baseball and softball, there are a few major differences between the two. If your child plays softball or you are coaching a team, these fun facts can give you some insight into the differences between the two games.

The Field

Both sports are played on a field that includes a diamond-shaped dirt infield and a grass-covered outfield, but the dimensions of a softball field are much smaller. With an infield less than half the size of a baseball infield, softball is a more quickly moving game in which players really have to hustle.

Pitching

Baseball pitchers throw from a raised mound, but in softball, the pitcher delivers balls on level ground with the batter 40 feet from pitcher, a distance much closer to the batter than in baseball. Softball pitches can reach speeds up to 70 miles per hour, with the ball reaching the batter in just .35 seconds.

Batting

Because of the short distance between pitcher and batter, when hitting a fastball  softball batters may have only 25 milliseconds to decide when to swing, 55 percent less time than in major league baseball.

In a line drive the ball may reach 100 miles per hour, making catching the ball even more challenging for infielders. If the batter hits a grounder, an infielder might have just 3.2 seconds to get the ball to first base, a full second less than a major leaguer can reach first base.

When a batter delivers a slap hit infielders have even less time to react, as the batter is already moving before the ball is in play, fighting the player’s resting inertia. Slap hits can reach up to 19 miles per hour and batters can reach first base in a matter of 2.66 seconds. If a third baseman takes any more than 1.5 seconds to field the ball down the third baseline it becomes virtually impossible to throw the runner out at first base.

Running

Unlike baseball, in softball players are not allowed to lead off, but a fast softball runner can sometimes get from first to second base in a matter of three seconds. A softball catcher may have just  1.5 seconds to nail a runner, about one-tenth of a second less than in baseball.

Softball Equipment

  • Balls. A softball is significantly larger than a baseball. A softball measures between 11.88 and 12.13 inches in circumference and weighs between 6.25 and 7.00 ounces; a baseball measures between 9.00 and 9.25 inches in circumference and weighs between 5.00 and 5.25 ounces. Leagues for the youngest softball players often use smaller and softer softballs. At this level of play girls’ hands may not be big enough to grip and throw a regulation softball.  Softball players sometimes use bigger gloves and slimmer bats.
  • Other Equipment. Both softball and baseball players use similar uniforms, batting helmets, batting gloves, and pads. All of this equipment, plus softball catchers gear such as face, mouth and chest guards can be conveniently stored and carried in softball bags.

Whether you are playing or coaching, proper equipment and following the rules and specifications for each game is just one of the keys to a successful, happy team. Get out there, batter up and don’t forget to have fun!

Tips to Improve your Softball Pitching

blog3

Fastpitch Softball is a thrilling game, and the competition is always tough. Here are a few tips on how to improve your softball pitching and to master the components of pitching for a great performance.

Practice

Regular practice helps improve pitching performance. It’s believed that to be a great pitcher you should try to throw 100 pitches for 100 days. Practice is perfection and the more reps you try, the better chances of improving your pitching performance. During practice try different positions and techniques to discover your strengths and ability. Coach Zack Farrell believes that practice helps a pitcher to maximize their potential on the mound.

Practice will allow you to have command of pitch location. This is a toll that will help you measure the desired location. The skill to execute a pitch to the desired location is the key element of effective pitching. The feedback during practice allows the pitcher to measure how poorly or well they are doing. The ability to control is the extreme mastery of the art of pitching. Just establish target, measure, throw and adjust.

Long toss, Walkthroughs and weighted Softballs to maximize velocity

Long toss is a technique that helps you develop proper throwing mechanism. It maximizes your ball velocity and throwing distance while minimizing the risk of throwing injuries. Long toss should be practiced few times a week for 20-30 minutes. Walkthrough exercises will help you improve your speed, flexibility and strength as well.

Practicing with weighted softballs is another  way of improving your throwing velocity while strengthening your arm muscles. Weighted softballs can be up to 20% heavier than the normal softballs. Practice with weighted softballs just for a few minutes every day as longer practice sessions might result in arm injury

Change speeds

The ability to throw the ball at different speeds improves your performance. When you are capable of speed variation, you can throw the ball at any of the four corners. Also to be a great softball pitcher you need to work on your flexibility. Exercise on the ability to move in and out of the mound, the power to drive and pitch harder. Exercise on generating enough leg power. Also work on the ability to move up and down, your body should be flexible. Engage yourself in flexibility or power training programs; this will help your body to be flexible.

Focus

Softball pitchers complicate things by overthinking, and this interferes with their performance. It also affects their velocity and focus. Avoid overthinking and ensure your mind is clear and focused. When pitching, keep your game simple and don’t think of how you can play different techniques. This will help you focus on your strength and ability. Equally believing in yourself helps raise your confidence. It’s advisable only to focus on one or two playing positions so you don’t complicate your game. Make a habit of reminding yourself to just throw the ball and stay focused.

Longstreth Sporting Goods provides you with all the information and sporting equipment such as batsglovescleats, and all the gears that you need to succeed in softball.