Category Archives: Women’s sports

WPLL Professional Lacrosse Athlete, Marie McCool to Visit Longstreth

Marie McCool of the WPLL

Longstreth Sporting Goods proudly announces a special event to kick off the Lacrosse Season. Professional women’s lacrosse athlete, Marie McCool will run a demonstration and meet and greet at Longstreth’s Spring City, PA campus.

Register for the Marie McCool meet and greet before the event.

Marie McCool was the second overall pick of the 2018 Women’s Professional Lacrosse League College Draft. McCool who was the two-way midfielder from the University of North Carolina, became part of the WPLL’s Baltimore Brave. Marie was named the MVP of the WPLL last summer, in its inaugural year.

Marie is perhaps the most decorated player in UNC women’s lacrosse history. She is the only two-time Tewaaraton Award finalist in Carolina history (2017, 2018). One of eight UNC players to be named first-team All-ACC three times and one of three to be a three-time first-team All-America. McCool was named 2018 National Midfielder of the Year and is the first player in ACC history to win the ACC Mid-fielder of the Year award twice. She was and still is a member of the US Lacrosse World Cup team. She played in England in July 2017, one of two college players on the squad.

“It’s our mission to support and grow women’s lacrosse. Bringing professional female athletes to our site is a great way for young girls to meet players who are role models in the game – on and off the field,” stated Nikki Stevenson, Longstreth’s Lacrosse Manager. “We’ve hosted many of these events. It’s always inspiring to see young athletes meeting some of the greatest women in their sport.”

Dedicated to female athletes for 40 years, Longstreth has a mission to support and grow the sports of field hockey, women’s lacrosse, and fastpitch softball by providing the best gear available for athletes at all levels. Longstreth has consistently been a source for female players – both beginners and elite – for equipment, uniforms, and expert advice. While specializing in field hockey, lacrosse, and fastpitch softball, Longstreth can also outfit almost any team or athlete. Located outside of Philadelphia, PA, Longstreth supplies uniforms, equipment, footwear, and training gear for female athletes across the United States. Visit www.longstreth.com to see the full selection of products.

Longstreth’s Super Fan!

Longstreth Sporting Goods’ retail store is second to none. As a forerunner in the female athlete industry, our company and the retail store are “the go-to shop” for many field hockey, lacrosse, and fastpitch softball players. Being part of the local community for almost 40 years, Longstreth’s retail store has been a place where generations of women shop for their gear.

This year, we believe we’ve met one of our ultimate super fans. Kayla Miller became a Longstreth shopper when she started playing lacrosse in middle school and continues to be a patron and brand ambassador today as a high school coach. Kayla is lucky enough to live close to our retail store and has visited many times per year to purchase the latest women’s lacrosse gear. Along the way, she began to collect our yearly lacrosse catalog and keeping them in a special binder. This summer, she brought them all along with her to the WPLL games to get them signed by the featured athletes. That’s where we met Kayla and learned just how dedicated she is to Longstreth.

It’s always a pleasure for us to meet teams of athletes, families, and players – young and old. Many families make Longstreth a destination stop to visit during summer vacations. Teams bring busloads of their players for special shopping days. Mothers who were once shoppers and athletes themselves, bring their daughters to carry on the Longstreth tradition. And fans like Kayla continue to share our mission in being dedicated to the female athlete and growing the girls’ game.

Are you a Longstreth Super Fan? Share your story with us on our facebook page (@longstreth.sporting.goods) or email us at Longstreth.Sports@longstreth.com using the subject line #LongstrethSuperFan .

Longstreth’s Super Fan! Kayla Miller

Kayla Miller, Longstreth’s Super Fan!

Visit our website to check out the latest field hockey, lacrosse, and fastpitch softball equipment. Longstreth Sporting Goods specializes in bringing the best of the best equipment to the female athlete. To plan a visit to our retail store in Spring City, Pennsylvania or take a virtual tour on our website.

3 Great Professional Sports for Women – Field Hockey, Softball and Lacrosse!

professional-sports-for-women

Fortunately, many women’s sports are becoming increasingly popular to play and watch. Whether your daughter has just joined a team or is considering what she’d like to play, you might want to learn more about 3 great professional sports for women–field hockey, softball, and lacrosse.

Field Hockey

Brought to the United States in 1901, field hockey has grown as a women’s sport and is now played in over 250 colleges. This fast-paced, exciting sport resembles ice hockey but is played with a hard ball on a field of grass or turf. Players use field hockey sticks to drive the ball into a net. Rules include:

  • 11 players on each team: goalkeeper and 10 field players.
  • Only the flat side of the stick can be used to hit the ball.
  • Fouls are called for using a body part to advance the ball, hitting another player with the ball, playing dangerously or interfering with play.

Players Equipment needed for field hockey includes sticks, goggles, shinguards, mouthguards, balls, and cleats/turf shoes. Goalies also have helmets and protective gear.

Softball

The National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) is a professional softball league with six teams, each playing a 50 game schedule. In addition, close to 1,700 college softball programs are available and some players can receive scholarships to play. In softball, there are:

  • 7 inning games.
  • 11 or 12 inch balls (depending on age group) that are pitched underhand from a flat 8-foot circle 40-43 feet from the batter.
  • Bats for softball are under 34 inches and often made of a composite rather than aluminum or wood.
  • Rules that say runners can’t leave the base until the ball is pitched, but stealing and bunting are allowed.
  • Nine fielders.
  • Fields that are smaller than baseball, with 60-foot baselines.

If your daughter wants to play softball, she will need a bat suited to her height, weight, and ability. In addition, she will need other equipment for playing softball like a glove, batting helmet, cleats and other protective gear. For practice, she may want a pitching machine too.

Lacrosse

Based on a game played by indigenous Americans, lacrosse for women is equally fast-paced as the men’s game, but not as physical. Played both in colleges in the U.S. and internationally, there is a Women’s Lacrosse World Cup every four years. Women’s lacrosse is played:

  • On a field with a goal at either end.
  • With teams of 12 players, including the goalkeeper.
  • With a yellow rubber NOCSAE-stamped ball. The goal is to shoot it into the opposing team’s goal. The team with the most goals wins.
  • In two 30-minute halves.
  • By passing the ball with the sticks.
  • With players cradling the ball by moving it back and forth to prevent being checked by another player.

Because rules in women’s lacrosse prevent the play from involving as much contact as men’s games, equipment needed for women’s lacrosse is less extensive. Field players need a lacrosse stick, mouth guard, goggles, cleats, practice balls and a bag. Of course, goalkeepers need additional gear.

Whether your daughter chooses field hockey, softball or lacrosse, she can find equipment for her sport designed especially for the female athlete at Longstreth Sporting Goods. Visit us here. Excited? Just wait until you see her play!

What’s the Difference between Boys’ and Girls’ Lacrosse?

lacrosseIf your daughter has joined a lacrosse team, know that she is joining not only the oldest American sport, but one of the fastest growing team sports in both high school and college. Why the increasing popularity of lacrosse as a sport for young women? Lacrosse combines the best of basketball, soccer, and hockey, but emphasizes agility over brawn, so players of all sizes can succeed. Here are the differences between boys’ and girls’ lacrosse:

Girls’ Lacrosse is a Non-Contact Sport

Both boys’ and girls’ lacrosse have the same objective of scoring goals, but the rules and field markings for girls’ lacrosse are different. Boys’ lacrosse has a lot of physical interaction and body contact, which is not allowed in the girls’ game as outlined by the girls’ lacrosse rules. In fact, girls’ lacrosse is considered a non-contact game, making girls less likely to be injured while playing.  Because of this, girls’ lacrosse players require less protective lacrosse equipment &gear, generally only needing goggles and a mouth guard.  Some girls add gloves for light protection or because of playing in cold weather. Boys’ lacrosse teams also use mouth guards but add helmets, shoulder, chest, arm pads, as well as highly padded gloves that cover the wrist for protection during full contact play and body checking.

Differences in Sticks

The differences in play between girls’ and boys’ lacrosse means that players have different kinds of lacrosse sticks:

  • Boys’ lacrosse stick heads have a deep pocket to catch the ball and carry it. The defensive sticks are longer and often harder to handle.
  • Girls’ sticks are typically all one length, regardless of field position, and have a more shallow pocket that allows for quick ball movement and faster release.

For a great selection of women’s sticks and lacrosse heads, visit Longstreth.

Differences in Fielding

The rules and set-up of boy’s and girl’s teams are somewhat different:

  • Boys’ teams have ten players total: nine field, and one goalie; while women have eleven field players and one goalie, for a total of twelve.
  • Boys’ lacrosse fields are 110 by 60 yards fixed, while girls’ fields are a bit bigger, and can vary between the limits of: between 110 – 130 yards by between 60 – 70.

Differences in Play

Of course, both genders will claim that their play is faster, more skilled, more active and more aggressive! In reality, except for girls not being involved in body checking, the style of play is very similar. Both boys and girls use their athletic ability and stamina to be hard on their opponents, pass the ball down toward their goal and avoid being checked.

Similarities in Lacrosse Equipment

While lacrosse sticks and protective gear are somewhat different for boys and girls, some of their equipment is the same.

  • Both girls and boys use mouth guards for protection.
  • Both genders need to use approved and stamped lacrosse balls when they play.
  • Choosing the right lacrosse cleats for quick play, firm footing and agility is important for both boys and girls. Find some great selection of lacrosse cleats here https://www.longstreth.com/lacrosse-cleats.asp

Enjoy Lacrosse Watching!

Another similarity?  Lacrosse play of both boys and girls is a blast for spectators.  With the quick play, exciting action, and opportunities for vivid athleticism from every size player, lacrosse for girls is one of the most interesting and challenging sports available for young women. So be encouraged that your daughter’s choice of lacrosse may have less physical contact than boy’s lacrosse, but is just as exciting to watch!

5 Ways Parents can help their Young Softball Player

One of the best things that you can do for a young player first lacing up the softball cleats is to build their love of the game. You will help to teach them core values like teamwork and dedication, while giving them the gift of a positive environment and healthy habits that last a lifetime. The benefits of playing a team sport like softball are nearly too many to list. Here are five ways that you can help your beginning softball player to improve in the sport.
Young Softball Player
1. Keep it Fun

Remember that team sports, especially for young girls, should be positively motivated. Even if you or your spouse was a star player, that doesn’t mean your daughter automatically shares the same love of the game. She will have to build this over time. The best way to do this is by encouraging her to enjoy the game. You may encounter coaches or other parents that put a lot of pressure on young players. Try to counteract this by always encouraging your daughter, and modeling good behavior in front of her teammates.

2. Get the Right GearTo help your daughter develop as a player, you don’t necessarily need to buy all the softball equipment that you saw at the College World Series last year, or have a softball pitching machine (buy them here if you decide to) in your backyard. However, make sure that she has a glove that fits and that she likes. Be sure to offer her softball bats that will help her to develop a correct swing. The last thing you want is for her to suffer an injury, so make sure she has softball cleats, or even some great beginner’s catcher’s gear, if that is her position. Then, encourage her to properly care for the investment in equipment that you have made.

3. Reward Hard Work Once your daughter starts to really enjoy the game, continue to reward her dedication. If she takes the initiative to join a summer league or train in the off-season, sacrifice a bit of your time and resources to make sure that she can make practices. If she shows dedication, you should too. Reward hers with upgraded bats from Demarini or other brands and other equipment, your praise, and support.

4. Keep Calm During Setbacks

For every young athlete, there are setbacks, losses, injuries, and struggles. Lead by example by correcting problems when they can be fixed, and encouraging her to learn from the difficult times of the game. Let her take a break from the sport if she needs to. If she really loves it, she’ll return to it, but in the meantime encourage other healthy habits that build an overall winning attitude.

5. Find Positive Influences

You could be the best softball player in your city, but your daughter would still need other coaches and parents to give her a balanced approach to the game. Find other role models for her to follow besides yourself, and encourage her to learn from them. Often your local Softball Store will be able to connect her with such local support system. Whether that’s a local high school pitching star that is willing to share her experience, or a coach that really knows how to motivate young players, she will need many people to help her develop the skills and habits that make a great young player.

Simple Tips to Improve Your Softball Hitting

Dog with Softball equipment-bat

Great athletes have a natural beauty and rhythm to their motion that makes everything they do seem effortless. The control they have over their game, like a good softball hitter with her softball gear, separates them from the average athlete. Softball hitting can be broken into six distinct steps, each one of which you can practice mindfully.

Box Position

Step into the batter’s box with your feet in line, greater than shoulder width. To give yourself more time to see the ball, stay toward the back of the box; to catch the ball before it breaks down or away, move up in the box.
Flex your knees, keep your elbows in, and ready yourself for the pitch. Generally, think fastball and adjust your bat speed down for other pitches, but be open to advice from your hitting coach or manager.

Grip

Grip the bat lightly to give your hands quick muscle movement. Start with the bat on the second joints of your fingers, curling your fingers around. Keep the bat handle out of the palms of your hands. Wrap your fingers of both hands around the bat and line up your second knuckles, eight in a row. If that is uncomfortable or feels unnatural, you can rotate your grip so the third knuckles of one hand align with the second knuckles of the other (a box grip).

Swing

The largest muscle groups in your body are in your legs, so use them to power the bat around and send the ball 300 feet. Push off with your legs to connect. Your legs, though, are the sturdy foundation for movements elsewhere:

  1. back foot turning
  2. hips rotating
  3. shoulders turning into the swing

If everything is moving into and through the swing, you should end up with your body loosely and comfortably twisted, watching the ball streak away with your feet still on the ground.

Contact

Contacting the ball with the bat differs by pitch:

  • Down the middle—make contact straight out from the leading hip
  • Inside pitch—must be hit more in front of the center of the body
  • Outside pitch—contact is made from the body’s center to the back hip

Contact should be level, so you are hitting the ball as close to its center as possible, even if your intention is to drive it up or down.

Follow-through

Follow-through means full arm extension, then continuing your swing around. Wrists roll and the swing ends with both hands near the front shoulder, your head aligned to your back shoulder (your chin is above the shoulder).

Attitude

Finding your comfort zone with hitting means practice and more practice. You are honing your swing and stance so that everything feels loose and easy as you step into the box.
Avoid over-thinking the whole choreography of hitting. By training repeatedly, you condition your muscles and gain instinctive proprioception (awareness of body position) so on game day you can step in, assume your proper stance, and swing away without consciously thinking about any of it.

Once you have matched the right softball equipment—helmet, gloves and bat—to the player, your bat becomes an extension of your body. For the finest in fastpitch bats and player equipment, step into Longstreth, and we will help you step into the batter’s box with confidence.