Tuesday, December 6, 2016

7 Things Every Lacrosse Parent Should Know


Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports, but most parents, unless they have been lacrosse athletes themselves, don't know much about the sport and might never have watched a game before their children became players.  Here are 7 things every lacrosse parent should know: 

1. Learn about the Game

This fast-paced sport can be bewildering. Here are some things to learn:
· The different positions and their responsibilities. 
· How the game is played 
· Foul rules 
Longstreth Sporting Goods has a great selection of books – check out the 2017 US Women’s Lacrosse Rule Book or read about the history of the game in Women Play Lacrosse

2. Don't Talk to Officials

Everyone cringes when parents become overly critical of officials or coaches, but no one is hurt more than that parent's child. As a matter of fact, lacrosse etiquette says that parents don't comment on calls at all. It is out of order to say anything either good or bad to the officials and it is important to stop other parents from doing so because it can cause your team to have a penalty.

3. Volunteer

Like most sports, lacrosse coaches can often use another set of hands and eyes to help either in practices or games. Ask your daughter's coach if you can be a:
· Timer
· Scorekeeper
· Equipment manager
· Concessions helper
·         Film manager
·         Statistician
Getting in on the action yourself is a way to learn about the game and also a way to get to know other players and parents. Better yet, you can go back on the sidelines and help other people understand what is going on during the play.

4. Be Positive

Any competitive sport can cause strong emotions in both players and parents but remember that, as a parent, you set a tone for your player when you communicate with the coach. Remember to speak thoughtfully, kindly, and in a positive manner to the coach, and also to your child when talking about the coach. Coaches often spend far more time coaching than they ever get compensated for, so be appreciative!
5. Don't Assume-Ask

Is your daughter or another child not given much play time?  Or you see a player coming off the field and you don't know why? Don't assume there is some prejudice against the player or imagine the coach doesn't think she has talent. There could be other reasons a player comes off the field, such as:
· The player has been asked to make a change on their own and hasn't yet done it.
· The player may have been sent in for a particular short job on the field.
· A player may feel winded and choose to sit out a while, which is allowed.

6. Take the Long View

Did your team lose?  Take the opportunity to give your daughter some life lessons about the value of being challenged, learning to practice harder, and learning to work together as a team. Is your player disappointed by tryouts? Sympathize but also help them see what they can do to improve for next time. 

7. Know the Equipment

Making sure your daughter has the right lacrosse equipment for playing her game and practicing her skills is an important part of helping her succeed in this fast-paced game. Make sure to choose a stick that fits her height and skill level. The handle on a stick can be shortened for smaller players, as long as the full crosse is within the legal length.  Keep some lacrosse training balls handy for her to hone her skills. Make sure she has good quality cleats so that she has a strong footing in the ground and slip-ups are minimized.


Need help? The lacrosse managers at Longstreth Sporting Goods can provide you information. We specialize in outfitting female lacrosse players and are happy to answer any questions. Feeling fancy? Come in to our store and get your custom strung lacrosse heads at Longstreth!

Friday, November 25, 2016

How to Pick a Softball Glove that Fits



https://www.longstreth.com/softball-gloves.asp


When a softball player makes an amazing diving catch in the outfield or stops a line drive, her glove makes all the difference. Outfitting a female softball player with the correct softball glove is an important part of preparing her to do her best in this exciting sport.

Is the Glove Right for Your Position?
First of all, it is important to know that a softball player's glove choice depends on her position and that the catcher's gear is very specialized.
  • Open web gloves: used for first base and middle infielders and some outfielders because it allows the ball to be transferred quickly to the throwing hand.
  • Closed web gloves: preferred by pitchers, third base, and some outfielders because it gives more support and shields the ball better.
  • Catcher's mitts: used by the catcher only, it does not have separately cut fingers to prevent hand fatigue.
  • First Baseman's Glove: similar to a catcher's mitt but longer and with less padding, it is good for scooping up the ball and quick transfer to throwing arm.
Is the Glove the Right Size?
Since young female players tend to have smaller hands, right glove size is very important. Too large a glove can strain her hands, cause poor performance and even pain.  It is never a good idea for a young female player to use a leftover slow pitch baseball glove worn by an older brother or dad since it often is much too large for her. The best way to make sure you have the right fit in a softball glove is to try it on. Glove sizing is based on the glove measurement from wrist to index finger. Sizes vary by position:
  • First base: 13 inches
  • Second base and shortstop: 11.5-12.5 inches
  • Third base 12-12.5 inches
  • Pitcher 11.5-12 inches
  • Outfield 12-13 inches
Players should start by trying on the smallest gloves first, moving their hands and handling the ball to get a glove that feels best.

Does the Glove Fit?
Getting the best performance from a glove means being able to use the fingers and thumb optimally to catch the ball. To be able to use a full range of motion, young female players should not try to fit all five fingers in the glove all the way.  Instead, they should:
  • Put two or more of their fingers in the pinky slot of the glove, pushing all of their fingers to the outside of the glove.
  • Leave their wrist exposed.
  • Check for full wrist movement by opening and closing the glove firmly.
  • Try catching and releasing a softball.
  • Look for a glove that stays firmly on and is easy to grip and release.
Does the Glove Feel Good?
Ultimately, glove choice is very personal, so a player needs to be careful to pick the glove that fits her best, rather than being swayed by the choice of friends or how a glove looks. Longstreth Sporting Goods knows that young female softball players need equipment that suits their particular needs and specializes not only in fastpitch gloves but also other much needed gear like pitching machines and equipment bags.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Improve Your Softball Swing - How to make it Perfect



 


Make no mistake, hitting a fastpitch softball which can be thrown at speeds topping 75 mph is not an easy feat. Having the right softball bat is an important first step. Next, fine-tuning a player's softball swing to make contact in the sweet spot requires drills and lots of practice, like these:

Tracking Drill
One of the most important ways to improve your swing is to enhance your ability to track the ball coming toward you.  Try having a pitcher stand about 15 feet away and throw either a Frisbee or the lid of a can towards you.  Because objects like Frisbees will change direction as they fly, this drill helps you learn eye-hand coordination in tracking an object coming toward your bat. 

Hit and Run!
An important part of hitting well is running when you make contact. You want to move smoothly from your swing into a run, so don't forget to do some drills where you drop your softball bat and run toward first base.

Imagine Success
Do you have to wait your turn in practice? Use that time to train mentally. Here's how:
  • Get into a batter's stance with your bat.
  • Visualize the pitch coming towards you.
  • Take a swing and picture solid contact.
  • Try hitting the ball in different directions.
  • Use this technique to imagine a ball being pitched to different places (inside low, outside low, inside high, outside high, etc.)
You can use visualizing drills at home or any place you have a few minutes to practice.

One Handed Swinging
Learning how to do a compact swing is important but a regular aluminum or composite bat is too heavy, so use a plastic bat and whiffle balls to try this drill:
  • Isolate arm movement by kneeling on one knee.
  • Swing the bat using only your front arm.
  • Keep the barrel of the bat back as a whiffle ball is tossed softly about 6 inches from home plate.
  • Swing just as the ball comes over the plate.
  • Repeat using just the back arm.
  • Finish by doing both hands together.
  • Focus on keeping the barrel back until arms are almost extended and then make a powerful whip of the barrel through the ball.
Slow Swing
While batting cages and hitting drills are helpful, they don't resemble a real-life situation. When you step up to the plate with your favorite Demarini bat at a game, you won't be rushing through 100 or more swings.  Instead, you will:
  • Take a good swing
  • Get out of your stance
  • Relax then get ready again
  • Take another swing
Make sure that some of your practice time imitates a real game to help you not only get the perfect swing but also be able to do that swing outside of practice. 

Have the Best Bat for You
The most important tip for that perfect swing?Choose the right softball bat for your weight, height, age, body type, and style of swing. Longstreth Sporting Goods specializes in making sure female athletes have the right equipment to play their best and will be happy to help you equip your female athlete with all she needs to perfect her hitting. Check out the great selection of softball equipment at Longstreth.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Buying a Softball Bat - Things You should Look for

Hitting the ball in that sweet spot is every softball player's dream.  Developing as a hitter requires lots of practice, good coaching, and the right bat. Whether your daughter has just started playing softball, or has been building up her hitting skills for a while and is ready for a new bat to help her reach the next level, here are the things you should look for in buying a softball bat:

Choosing the Best Length
Age, weight, and height determine bat length. To find the best length for a player:
  • Put the knob in the middle of her chest and stretch the bat out in front.
  • She should be able to just touch the end of the bat with the tips of her fingers.
  • If the bat goes past the fingertips, it is too long.
Choosing the Right Weight
Body style affects what weight of bat works best. A player should try swinging a bat to make sure it is comfortable. It is important not to choose a bat which is too heavy because that will make her swing at an angle. She wants a bat that gives quick, fast contact, and a good pop.  Remember that too heavy a bat will make her swing too slowly and the pitcher will beat her.  Moreover, trying to swing a heavy bat faster can cause injuries.  A good weight test? A player should hold the bat in one hand with her arm extended for 30 seconds.  If that is comfortable, the bat should work.
Choosing Materials
The two most popular types of fastpitch bats are composite and aluminum. Aluminum bats have:
  • Greater bat speed and maximized trampoline effect.
  • Easier swing weight because they tend to be lighter.
  • A more balanced feel with a more even and controllable weight distribution.
  • Durability but they can dent easily and have sweet spots that wear down.
DeMarini offers some of the most popular composite bats. Composites bats:
  • Have more "pop" when you hit the ball.
  • Can have a more targeted trampoline effect.
  • Can have a soft barrel and stiff handle to minimize sting when hitting.
  • Have larger sweet spots but may take a longer break-in time.
  • May not be best for very cold weather.
Find a wide selection of composite softball bats here.
Mistakes in Choosing
Girls can be tempted to choose a bat based on their favorite color or whether it matches their uniform.  Avoid letting color be the focus of her choice because it is the performance which matters most.  Be sure to focus on whether the bat feels right when swinging.  Another mistake some girls make is to assume that bats their friends like are the best. No one bat is really best for everyone. Try out a variety of bats to find out which performs best for her.
Choose Wisely

Getting the right bat is an important decision and Longstreth realizes that female athletes may need specialized help in choosing the right equipment. If you need help, our experts would be happy to help you choose the right equipment for your fastpitch softball player.