Everyone knows I’m not a winter person. I live for the summer months. Sometimes I wish I could just hibernate until it’s warm enough to stroll around in shorts again. Since that is not an option, I try to make the best of it. Even before I decided to move to Sweden I was trying to enjoy softball also during winter time. Everyone is always waiting for spring but there is also soooo much you can do during the times of low temperatures and snow covered surroundings. Don’t get me wrong I’m longing for that smell of freshly cut grass (read about its dark side, if you dare), the sound of cleats on the dirt and sweat leaking from just about every pore in my body, but until then I’ll try to make the best of it. Here is a short list of softball activities you can do during winter time:
1. SLIDING: Why not practice sliding technique on a soft snowy surface. For beginners you can try sliding downhill…it makes it even easier, because the decline gives them some extra momentum. The downhill slide can also be used to learn the pop up slide.
A good way to enforce headfirst slide is through relay games that involve sliding through teammates legs:) The competitive atmosphere makes it all about the team and that helps athletes forget about their fear of sliding.
2. DIVING CATCHES: Again, the use of soft surface aids in eliminating the fear of diving catches and helps us work on proper “landing” technique….and of top of everything it’s FUN:)
Of course you can have a regular progression: knees, squat, standing…or you can just go Commando:)
3. STRENGTH&CONDITIONING All sorts of relay games that involve running or sliding will work great. The snow will ad to the intensity and difficulty of any given exercise. If you ad an incline it will be even tougher. Just imagine a relay game in which you ride down a small slope on a sleigh and then run uphill to give the sleigh to the next in line….FUN…but also a killer exercise! I have to try it soon:)
4. SNOWPITCH: Of course you can play an ordinary softball game but to keep it simple, more dynamic and also work on some specific softball things we usually play a variation that is a mixture of OTL (over the line softball) and beach softball. Because it’s sometimes hard to get 18 people, crazy enough to risk frostbite and serious injuries due to excessive laughing, this might be a better option. A simple game that helps you work on you hitting, catching fly balls, reactions and diving catches. The rules can be adjusted to the level and number of players.
- Play with softer (indoor) softballs
- 3 players per team (it also works well with 4)
- Number of innings is up to you
- Offensive players take turn hitting (others wait or soft toss the ball to the batter). Must bat in order
- Fair hit – any hit over the red line, in bounds, without being caught
- Home run – any hit over the line, in bounds, over the head of the last fielder
- Outs – any hit caught by a fielder in any area, also in the foul. Also a combination of 3 strikes or fouls. Batting out of turn.
- 3 outs change innings
- Each hit gets “people on bases” (imaginary). Once bases are loaded, each next hit earns you a run
- You can use a tee or soft toss.