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Cover: the blueprint for an aggressive hitter: mechanics and drills
The Blueprint for an Aggressive Hitter: Mechanics and Drills

with Shonda Stanton,
Marshall University Head Coach;
the winningest coach in Marshall softball history;
2013 Conference USA Tournament Champions; 3x Conference champions;
former Coach for the Akron Racers of the Women's Professional Fastpitch League

Becoming a great hitter isn't an easy task. In addition to having solid swing fundamentals, good hitters need to have great timing and a plan for which pitches they want to hit. Shonda Stanton teaches you how to build a fundamentally-sound swing by using specific, yet simplified swing cues, progressions, and drills. She also addresses ways to help a hitter practice rhythm and timing of the pitch as well as drills to work on mental approach and situational hitting.

Coach Stanton builds from the ground up, stressing a few important aspects of hitting while keeping the batter comfortable while in the box. Her drill progression allows for players to develop an effective swing and then, more importantly, a great ability to execute at game speed.

Swing Mechanics

Make hitting a little easier to understand for your athletes. Coach Stanton uses a simplified approach to teach the mechanics of the swing by breaking it down into manageable parts, including:

  • Stance
  • Rhythm
  • Negative move
  • Stride
  • Contact
  • Finish

Learn the key points for each part of the swing and what to look for in each segment. She also discusses problematic areas of the swing and potential causes and cures.

Progression Drills

Coach Stanton demonstrates 16 drills that progressively increase in difficulty, building into the ultimate challenge of live hitting. Learn how to warm-up properly and prepare the body to swing ferociously with six bat calisthenics. Coach Stanton accentuates the phases of the swing while implementing a series of drills that build hitters from their foundations, including:

  • No ball drills
  • Still ball drills
  • Tossed ball drills

  • Timing & Approach Drills

    Timing is one of the most difficult aspects of hitting. Coach Stanton offers six drills designed to emphasize different aspects of timing. You'll get four approach drills that work on bat control and pitch identification. There are also drills that force a batter to make decisions on which pitches to look for and how to hit them. The Spray Drill helps the batter learn bat control and place balls where they want them to go, while also learning to take pitches they might not be able to handle.

    Finally, batting practice ends with live situational hitting drills where the hitters must execute in five common situations:

    • Hit and run
    • Hit behind the runner going first to third base
    • Score the runner from second base
    • Runner at third base, sacrifice fly
    • Runner at third base, score them anyway

    Get your players hitting more strategically to drive in more runs with this great video from Coach Stanton!

    66 minutes. 2017.

  • DVD
    Buy at Championship Productions

    Cover: small ball: tips and training
    Small Ball: Tips and Training

    with Shonda Stanton,
    Marshall University Head Coach;
    the winningest coach in Marshall softball history;
    2013 Conference USA Tournament Champions; 3x Conference champions;
    former Coach for the Akron Racers of the Women's Professional Fastpitch League

    Learn from the master of small ball herself, Shonda Stanton. Speed can be a game changer in softball games, as fast batters apply pressure to the defense. Coach Stanton opens up her playbook to introduce ways that will allow your team's offense to overpower your opponent. From bunting and slapping mechanics, to small ball for right-handed batters, Coach Stanton covers everything you need to know about playing small ball for big results.

    Bunt and Slap Mechanics

    Coach Stanton runs through the mechanics of bunting and slapping from the left side, and shows you the footwork that will get your slappers out of the box and down the line faster. It's vital for coaches to have a solid understanding of bunting technique. Coach Stanton breaks down the sacrifice bunt, bunt for hit, split bunt and the two-hand drag so that your team will understand not only when to use them, but the proper form as well.

    It's nearly impossible to defend against a great slapper. This video will help you teach your slappers how to be most effective with the power slap, soft slap, regular slap and bouncers. Coach Stanton also teaches how to hit in motion and swing away. When your slappers become a triple threat, they'll become the most dangerous players on the field.

    Small Ball for Right Handers

    Lefties aren't the only ones who get to have fun with small ball - right-handers can join in too! Teach your right-handed hitters how to lay down a bunt, slap the ball, or bunt for a base hit to make them harder for defenses to defend.

    Small Ball Drills

    Coach Stanton believes in teaching in progressions, starting a drill out small and gradually building up in difficulty. Learn five bunt progression drills and five slap progression drills that take your lefties from a basic, stationary position and build to them running full speed through the box. In the One Glove Drill, batters wear their fielding glove on their back arm and catch the ball with their glove instead of a bat to practice bunting the ball. Push your lefties to become triple threats with two hitting away drills.

    It's essential for players to work on fundamentals in batting practice, but they need to perform under pressure in practice before they can be successful in a game. Coach Stanton introduces you to several mini games that your team can play to prepare them for the stress of the game.

    Defense vs Small Ball

    Great teams know how to play small ball and they know how to find weaknesses in the defense. At the same time Coach Stanton teaches your offense, she will show your defense how to counter. When your defense is prepared, there are minimal holes for the offense to exploit.

    Any coach who wants multidimensional athletes climbing into the batter's box will benefit from Coach Stanton's approach. There's a logical progression of teaching combined with effective skill development drills that are sure to make a positive impact on your team. Open up the options in your offense by using these small ball tricks to generate big results!

    66 minutes. 2017.

    Buy at Championship Productions

    Cover: first and third offensive & defensive strategies
    First and Third Offensive & Defensive Strategies

    with Shonda Stanton,
    Marshall University Head Coach;
    the winningest coach in Marshall softball history;
    2013 Conference USA Tournament Champions; 3x Conference champions;
    former Coach for the Akron Racers of the Women's Professional Fastpitch League

    The offensive and defensive options of the first and third situation in softball present one of the most complex and nuanced situational decision-making environments for both players and coaches. Strong teams know how to handle the first and third situation on both offense and defense. With this video, you'll learn how to incorporate each phase of the first and third into a practice setting.

    Shonda Stanton details many base running options at both first and third base, the purpose of each option and when a coach would want to use each option to put pressure on the defense and create run scoring opportunities. She also discusses defensive options to shut down aggressive teams' first and third opportunities, including essential rundown principles.

    First and Third Base Options and Commands

    The more runners you put in scoring position, the more runs you'll score. Coach Stanton defines four different options for safely getting a runner to second base, and explains ways to pressure the defense into making mistakes. She also expands on the benefits of each option and when teams would best use each of them.

    The defense will implement many plays to prevent the runner from scoring and to get runners out. Coach Stanton covers six options at third base, including commands that a coach would use based on how the defense is trying to execute its strategy. She thoroughly explains when and why you would use each particular strategy.

    Coach Stanton shows you how to prepare your runners to make their own decisions about when to go. Teaching your athletes to read and react on the base paths makes them more unpredictable, putting even more pressure on the defense.

    Defensive Strategies for First and Third Situations

    All too often, defenses give up second base to keep a runner from scoring, or they give up the run to get an out. Coach Stanton breaks down your defensive opportunities, allowing you to determine the defensive set up that suits your team best. She gives you a glimpse of the 12 different defenses employed by Marshall University and shows drills to train your players. Your defense will be prepared for anything your opponent throws at you.

    Simplify the Rundown

    Effective execution of the rundown is essential to to first and third defense. Not only is it important to get the out, but the defense needs to be able to hold the runner or get the second out. Coach Stanton explains the run down from when to throw, when and where to run, how to communicate, how to place tags, and how to finish the play. These are demonstrated with simple drills and appropriate cues.

    Coaching First and Third

    One of the most important players in the first and third situation is the coach, but many don't focus on the correct responsibilities. Your job is to keep your runners safe, and Coach Stanton shows you how. With these tools, you will be able to identify pick-off plays and keep your runners safe from the dreaded out.

    Coach Stanton gives you an efficient and effective practice plan that provides athletes confidence in both offensive and defensive first and third base scenarios.

    66 minutes. 2017.

    Buy at Championship Productions

    Cover: all access softball practice with mike candrea
    All Access Softball Practice with Mike Candrea
    featuring Mike Candrea,
    University of Arizona Head Coach;
    8x NCAA Champions, winningest coach in NCAA Division I Softball history (1500+ wins);
    4x National Coach of the Year; named the Pac-12 Coach of the Century;
    Distinguished member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Hall of Fame (1996);
    '04, '08 US Olympic Softball Coach (Gold in '04, Silver in '08)

    with Stacy Iveson,
    University of Arizona Assistant Coach/Pitching Coach;
    former Head Coach at Pima Community College and Yavapai College . winning four NJCAA National titles (two at each school); 2004 NJCAA Coach of the Year

    and Caitlin Lowe,
    University of Arizona Assistant Coach;
    member of the 2008 US Olympic Team (Silver Medal); 4x All American at Arizona, winner of the adidas Golden Shoe Award (for the nation's best base-stealer) as a senior; Arizona's all time leader in stolen bases and ranks second all time in career batting average (.446)

    One of the fundamental issues softball coaches have is learning how to run a great practice. With this video, you'll gain a unique experience as you learn from one of the best coaches the game has to offer

    Mike Candrea provides exclusive in-depth access to four days of practice with the University of Arizona softball team. Practice organization and fundamentals are discussed as the foundations of defining and building a quality team culture. Coach Candrea introduces you to the general practice structure he uses and the philosophies and techniques of the program that he integrates into every workout. You will also go behind the scenes and see how the team focuses its strength and conditioning program toward building softball players who are more complete athletes.

    This all access video provides coaches and teams the knowledge of how to maximize game-like repetitions of all facets of the game in every practice drill. The coaches' open mics allow them to actively commentate on the drills, sprinkling in coaching tips along the way. You'll also get to hear them strategize through different situations.

    Practice: Day 1

    Individual infield and team defense play is the focus of the first practice, which gives players numerous reps and throws along with situational play. Each day, practice begins with an active warm-up that includes dynamic stretching and arm care to help maintain the health of the athletes. After throwing the position, players go through an extensive defensive warm-up. The infielders pair up and work glove drills such as picks, short hops and backhands while the outfielders pair up and work on long toss and footwork drills that are outfield-specific.

    After glove work, players get together with the coaches and work on a ground ball progression for both fielding and throwing. Candrea rolls the players a variety of ground balls to simulate different game situations, such as underhand flips, glove feeds, and backhand feeds. The progression moves onto ground balls off the bat. Infielders man their positions to field and throw to different bases in a rapid succession, which provides many reps in a small amount of time.

    Once the ground ball progression is over, Candrea puts a live game element into practice to work on bunt and bunt defense. This high-intensity drill prepares players both offensively and defensively for game situations. Set your players up to get more outs at second base on bunts to help eliminate big innings.

    Practice ends with a live batting practice. Candrea puts players into groups of five . a runner at each base, a hitter, and an on-deck batter. The batters get three rounds of five pitches. Each round, batters work a different situation. The base runners work on their base running leads on each pitch and hit. There's minimal standing around and players are learning or reinforcing what they know on every pitch. The team ends practice with a conditioning session.

    Practice: Day 2

    This practice focuses on infield positional play, pitchers' fielding practice, outfield play, and throwing to bases with various team-controlled situational play. The practice builds on the individual work from day one and adds a more game-like progression.

    Day two's practice begins in the weight room. Strength & Conditioning Coach Rob Harris, shows you a softball-specific workout used to develop strength and flexibility. He provides the benefits for each exercise and shows how to adapt each exercise to help with injured athletes.

    Infield practice features infielders working on their footwork and glove work from rolled balls and ground balls off a fungo. A pitcher's fielding practice is included that allows pitchers to be the fifth infielder without sacrificing their pitching mechanics. You'll see how Candrea teaches throwing from every position in the outfield to every plausible location on the infield, creating players who are comfortable with playing every outfield position.

    The team transitions into 21 Outs, which is a great game-like drill for putting the entire defensive workout together with active runners. Additionally, the team works on defending bunts, first and third situations, and rundowns.

    Practice: Day 3

    Day three features a full batting practice along with a bunting station, followed by pre-game infield and outfield, and then a live controlled scrimmage. Throughout the entire practice, some type of competition is built into every activity, which gives you a better understanding of what a motivated, competitive team scrimmage looks like.

    Softball-specific activities begin with batting practice and you'll get a drill to help your hitters identify balls and strikes. Learn to be an active coach during batting practice with techniques like charting if hitters are hitting strikes and taking balls. You'll see how a Wildcat batting practice is divided into four groups working simultaneously to minimize down time and maximize repetitions.

    After batting practice, Candrea shows you the pre-game infield/outfield routine he uses to get his team ready to play.

    The bulk of this practice consists of an inter-squad scrimmage. The unique thing about Arizona's scrimmage is that the coaches predetermined the conditions by picking which hitters, runners, counts, and situations they wanted to see. This puts players into situations more challenging than game situations in order to make practice more difficult and stressful than the game. Candrea, while coaching third base, gives insight into how he coaches runners and hitters. You'll also hear Coach Iveson's interactions with the pitchers and catchers.

    Practice: Day 4

    The final practice begins with Coach Candrea talking about different aspect of coaching and preparing his team. He addresses topics like building progressions, developing culture in practice, and creating a season-long plan. The emphasis in practice is with outfield play. Individual positional work is shown, as well as making numerous types of throws to every base from each outfield position.

    Practice begins with the positions split up, and while the infielders field rolled balls, the outfielders work on ball-in-glove and drop step footwork drills. Train catchers to cover bunts and make all types of throws while simultaneously training infielders to receive throws, including what happens on failed bunt and slap attempts. One unique part about the practice is all players work at a variety of positions, not just the one they primarily play.

    Practice concludes with batting practice. You'll get an unobstructed view from the side of hitters, which provides you the chance to see how players may start their swings differently, but all of them get to the same contact spot.

    Candrea's successful style of player development is on full display in this all access video. Watching this series of practices will allow you to gain insight on how one of the top coaches in the country runs his practices, and more importantly, gets the most out of his team. Use Candrea's drills in your practices to get your athletes performing to their potential!

    649 minutes (6 DVDs) 2017.

    All Access videos are designed to allow viewers from all over the world to see how successful coaches run their practices in a "live" practice setting. All Access videos allow viewers to see the practices un-edited and in real-time. You will see how top coaches run their drills, interact with their team and staff, how they motivate their team, the cue words they use, the atmosphere of the practice and how practices are structured from day to day. Many coaches visit successful colleges and high schools to watch practice. But if you live out of state or out of the country, visiting another coach's practice can be costly. That's why we created the All Access Practice Series of videos -- to bring the practices to you!

    Buy at Championship Productions

    Cover: hitting drills for consistent contact
    Hitting Drills for Consistent Contact

    with Randy Ward,
    Loyola Marymount University Assistant Coach;
    in 2016, the Lions led the nation in doubles (106) and doubles per game (2.00)

    One of the reasons that hitting is so difficult is because it's a complex, multifaceted skill. Batters must have not only a fundamentally-sound swing, but also good timing, bat control, and eye tracking skills to hit a fast-moving ball consistently.

    In this video, Randy Ward introduces you to the basic hitting mechanics and provides 16 diverse drills to build your team's batting skills. Coach Ward walks you through his hitting program, which gives hitters a specific purpose for every swing. You'll see:

    • Hitting Philosophy
    • Critical Points of Emphasis, and
    • How Coaching Points Evolve Throughout the Year
    • Mechanics

      Coach Ward explains the optimal body position at several key check points during the swing. Learn how the relationship between the bat angle to shoulder, combined with the relationship between the front elbow on contact and bat path can improve a hitter's consistency and overall effectiveness. He explains how to hit pitches that are low in the zone by tilting the shoulders and not dropping the hands, which keeps the hitter in a stronger position as they approach contact.

      Timing Drills

      Hitting is all about timing, and the goal of most pitchers is to upset the hitter's timing. In one particular `ABC Drill' for timing, the players start singing the ABCs to themselves and stop when they make contact with the pitch. This drill helps reinforce timing and reminds batters of their internal clock.

      Bat Control and Bat Path Drills

      Learn the drills that will lead to improved bat control and an optimal bat path. A good bat path will help keep the bat in the zone longer, increasing the hitter's chance of making solid contact with the ball. Bat control will help the hitter be more consistent to contact and help them steer the ball where it needs to go.

      Create a Hitting Plan

      Discover how to break the year into segments to develop hitters who make consistent contact on the ball. Use different points of emphasis in different times of the year to ensure that players understand and can execute the hitting plan:

      • Arrival from summer break: Small group and individual work.
      • Team practice in fall: Working on a plan for the season with emphasis on speed and location of pitches.
      • Back from winter break: Understand strengths and weaknesses, challenging the player through drills that force adjustments needed to be able to succeed at the plate.
      • This video will help your hitters improve their fundamentals while teaching them to make solid contact more consistently. Coach Ward shows how giving your hitters a clearly defined purpose in every aspect of the hitting program can foster buy-in for a consistent team approach. The program is focused on empowering young hitters with the tools to self-diagnose and correct flaws on their own so they can become complete hitters!

        96 minutes. 2017

    Buy at Championship Productions

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