AGSA Coaches Handbook
AGSA has put together information for our Coaches. Please take a look at some of the links below for more information.
AGSA Coaches Handbook:
The AGSA Coaches Handbook has been brought together by members of the AGSA board. This document will serve as a technical guideline for coaching in all levels of our Airdrie Angels Fastpitch program.
To add even more excitement to the U9 division, in 2006 Calgary Minor Softball implemented the “No Walk Rule”. Combined with the home run line, the U9 division should end up being the most exciting division to both play and to watch!
Batter # 1 (B1) is at the plate. The game is played normally up until the batter receives a 4th ball, which would normally result in a walk. This is where the game changes. After the 4th ball, the batter will have a count against him/her. It will either be 4 balls, 0 strikes (4-0), 4-1 or 4-2. The coach, or designated pitcher for the offensive team (B1’s coach or selected parent), will now come in to pitch to his/her own batter. The number of pitches that the batter will receive from the coach/parent is dependant upon the number of strikes that the pitcher had achieved against that batter prior to throwing the 4th “ball”. All batters continue using the same rules.
If the count was 4-0, and the batter did not have a strike, the coach parent may throw up to 3 pitches.
If the count was 4-1, and the batter had 1 strike against him/her, the coach parent may throw up to 2 pitches.
If the count was 4-2, and the batter had 2 strikes against him/her, the coach parent may throw only 1 pitch.
There is no opportunity to walk. Every pitch will be considered a called strike. If the batter has 2 or 3 pitches to work with, he/she may leave the pitch and wait for a potentially better pitch. The coach/parent will pitch from the pitching rubber (normal distance) and may pitch orthodox (underhand toss) or regular fastpitch.
If the batter uses up all of his/her strikes without hitting the ball, he/she is out. Once again, every pitch is considered a called strike no matter where the pitch is thrown. The batter does not have to swing to strike out, nor does the pitch have to be in the strike zone.
On the third strike only, if the batter hits a foul ball, he/she will be granted an additional pitch, unless of course the foul ball is caught! This will be the same as regular rules in regards to a third strike foul ball.
The defensive pitcher will remain on the field to field balls hit into play.
Should a ball be hit into play by the batter and this ball comes in contact with or is touched by the parent/coach, whether intentional or accidental, as determined by the umpire, the play will be called dead. If there is any interference on the play in regards to the coach/parent acting as the pitcher, as determined by the umpire, the play will be called dead. In both cases, the batter will be ruled out and the runners will return to their original base prior to the hit ball.
The implementation of this section will have many major benefits.
1 – No walks means that every run will have come off of a hit ball!
2 – More hits means more defensive plays for the infield!
3 – Less pressure on parent umpires in regards to calling balls and strikes.
4 – Wider variety of pitchers may be used. Every player that wants to pitch can try without having to worry about walking in 5 runs.
5 – Lower scoring games. There will an increased number of strikeouts and hopefully defensive outs, which should result in less 5 run innings.
6 – Innings will be quicker which should result in more innings played per game.
7 – The home run line will become a major factor and the home run will be an exciting play for all players and fans to look forward to.
8 – Base stealing is not permitted. Can advance on a passed ball or wild pitch and only one base max. Runners cannot advance to home except on a hit ball.
9 – Indoor Softie balls will be used for all modified league play
10 – Batters will not be permitted to bunt when the coach/parent comings into pitch
See the Calgary Minor Softball Rulebook for playing rules.
This combination of changes has been implemented for a many different reasons. The three main reasons are to make the games more fun for the kids, to assist in the development of skills through more involvement from all of the participants and to make the game more exciting to watch for the parents and families.
10.3 Player Rotation
9.10 Infield Fly (Softball Canada 1.52)
This rule will not apply to the U10 and U12 categories.
A. Is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive or a bunt)
1. When first and second, or first, second, and third bases are occupied with less than two out
2. That can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort
3. If two are out the infield fly rule does not apply, runners can advance at their own risk
4. The pitcher, catcher, and any outfielder that positions himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule.
5. When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an infield fly, the umpire shall immediately declare, “INFIELD FLY, IF FAIR THE BATTER IS OUT,” for the benefit of the runners
6. The ball is live, and runners may advance at the risk of the ball being caught, or retouch and advance after the ball is touched, the same as on any fly ball
7. If the hit becomes a foul ball, it is treated the same as any foul
8. If a declared infield fly is allowed to fall untouched on the ground, and bounces foul before passing first or third base, it is a foul ball
9. If a declared infield fly falls untouched to the ground outside the baseline, and bounces fair before passing first or third base, it is an infield fly
Dropped Third Strike (Softball Canada Rule 8.2a)
This rule will not apply to the U10 and U12 categories.
• Can occur on either a called 3rd strike or a swinging 3rd strike.
• Cannot occur when there is a baserunner on first base at the time the pitch is
released and there are less than two outs.
• the umpire will verbalize the strike 3 call but not that the ball isdropped;
• the batter may be tagged out or thrown out at first;
• the batter is out if they leave the field of play;
• the batter is out if they break their established base-path
• occurs when the catcher does not legally catch the thrown pitch.
Note: a pitch hitting the ground and then caught by the catcher is not a legally caught
a) the batter is out;
b) if the ball stays alive (e.g. not a passed or trapped ball) any baserunners may
steal at the risk of being put out;
c) the umpire does not verbalize that the ball has been dropped;
d) it is up to the catcher to realize that the dropped 3rd strike rule is not in effect and
decide whether or not to try and throw out any baserunner who may be stealing;
e) in an obvious situation, where in the umpire’s judgement, the batter knows they are
out because first base was occupied but continues to run the bases in an attempt
to distract the defense the batter may be called for interference; the umpire will kill
the play; since the batter is already out the base-runner closest to home will be
called out; any other runners will be returned to their original bases;
Note: if the bases are loaded the catcher can touch home plate for a third out force.
Fundamental and Position Training (How to Videos)
This section is going to include brief descriptions of the major fundamental skills that are required
for players to be a well–rounded Fastpitch player. These may be a little too in depth for beginner
players, but these skills are something our program should be striving for as the players’
Coaches should be focusing on proper throwing techniques at all ages and skill levels.
Ensuring proper technique will not only promote faster and more accurate throws but will
also prevent injury.
Coaches should also pay close attention to players in their ready position for catching and
fielding. Ready position basics are a building block of many of the Fielding skills and
promote faster reaction times and thereby reduce the likelihood of being struck by the ball
or missing it completely.
Fielding (Infield and Outfield):
Fielding techniques for both infield and outfield.
Ground Ball fundamentals.
Fly Ball Fundamentals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZ4lrNN5Pv8
Teaching the proper Fastpitch swing is imperative at all ages and skill level of players.
Breaking down the swing and being able to diagnose swing problems will be key in your
teams hitting success.
There are several items that need to be stressed throughout the entire practice and
through any drills of any kind. These should be enforced in every situation:
Calling for the Ball:
One of the simplest things a player can do is calling for the ball. Shouting, “mine” when
a) No–one going for the ball – because they all thought someone else was going for
b) Kids running into each other.
Proper catching technique while fielding is so important. It allows the player to:
a) Ensure the ball is secured in their glove
b) Reduces transfer time from glove to throw
1. PICKLE GAME
- Place two bases 40-60 ft. apart.
- Only three people are needed.
- One at each base and one to be the runner.
I would recommend using tennis balls to avoid getting hurt.
The fielder with the ball should begin at the bag opposite the runner.
Starting with his foot on the bag, the runner gets a 3-5 sec. lead toward the base in front of them.
After they have touched the first base and get a start back to the other base the fielder just ran from throws the ball to the other fielder to try and tag the runner out.
If the ball gets past the fielder or they drop it, the runner can turn around after touching that base and run back to the other.
The runner would just go back and forth as many times as they can until they get into a pickle.
If the fielder catches the ball, they can run the runner back to the base like a real pickle situation in a game.
The runner can not get credit for this base because they didn’t touch the other base, yet.
2. PEPPER GAME
A coach gathers a small group of players who are only a few feet from him/her.
The coach then hits or bunts the ball to the players in any random order, then the players must use quick reactions to retrieve the ball and accuracy to pitch, this pitch is only a toss, for the coach to hit again.
You do this drill to improve the player’s reaction time.
You have to do this drill as quickly as possible and the pace will increase as time goes on, and the players improve.
This can also be used to help players with bunting by having a player bunt the ball in place of the coach.
3. PICKOFF GAME
This is a good drill for all aspects of stealing.
Put players at each of the infield positions.
Have the rest of the team put on helmets and line up at 1st base.
The base runners will each run the bases in this pattern: lead off, steal. Only one runner on the bases at time. The first runner gets ready on first. The pitcher pitches the ball and the runner takes a lead. The catcher attempts a pick-off at first and the runner tries to get back in time. On the next pitch the runner attempt to steal second and the catcher tries to throw her out. The runner proceeds with a big lead at second, stealing third and big lead off at third. The final pitch for that runner is a deliberate passed ball/wild pitch which gives the catcher and pitcher a chance to practice this play.
To encourage the runners to take big leads and to teach them what they can get away with we will place little pieces of candy in the dirt as a challenge. If they can grab the candy and get back safely, they can keep the candy. After they have done this drill a couple of times, allow the runners to do a “delayed steal” on their lead offs. If the catcher throws to first, the runners can attempt to go to second. This way the catchers learn to recognize the delayed steal and run the baserunner back.
The drill gives the catcher a lot of practice throwing to the bases, allows the infielder to practice positioning themselves for and putting on the tag, and allows the base runners a chance to practice leading off, sliding, and themselves before practice officially started while the coaches were taking care of some
4. BASE RACE
Have half of the team line up at second base and half the team line up at home.
On the signal, one player from each team runs the bases until she reaches the base she started out at.
When she gets there, she tags the next runner in line and she runs the bases.
This is done until all the runners have run.
Whoever reaches their base first wins. The other team has to pick up the bases.
This is usually the last thing at the end of a practice.
5. GUTS GAME
Simply divide the girls into two teams. Have the teams form two lines about 40 to 60 feet apart, with players shoulder to shoulder three feet apart. Place something two feet from each girl at either end of both lines. These are the goal posts. The goal posts can be buckets, cones, balls, or the parents. Hand a ball to one of the players. To play the game, the girls take turns trying to throw grounders through the opposing line. They can throw as hard as they want (make sure they’re spaced far enough apart).
The rules are fairly simple: The player who fails to prevent the ball from going past the imaginary line between goal posts is out of the game. The team that loses all its players first loses. The ball must bounce in front of the players to count. If a player’s ball is caught on the fly without bouncing she is out – if it is dropped, she stays in. If a ball goes through the line without bouncing, it has no effect. Any throw outside the goal posts has no effect.
As players are eliminated move the goal posts in until the last player has a goal roughly six feet wide. Hint: if the girls learn to charge the ball, it gives one of their teammates an opportunity to back them up. If there is a question as to which girl allowed the ball to get through the line, the opposing team decides.