Tag Archives: softball

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.

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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

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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.

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

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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!

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

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!

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.