The goal of this book is to serve as a refresher for those who know
the fundamentals, and to serve as a primer for those who don't.
While intended to show slow-pitch softball players how to improve
their game, this book will be helpful to fast-pitch softball and
baseball players as well. After all, most of the principles in this
book apply to any game played on a diamond, from Little League to
high school and adult softball leagues to the Major Leagues. Most
of us will encounter opposing players who can run faster, hit
harder, and throw further than we can. But that doesn't mean we
have to concede victory. Maybe we can run fast longer, hit more
consistently, and throw more accurately. If you're willing to learn
and invest in some off-field training, you can often overcome
superior athletic skills possessed by the opposition. This book is
intended to give you the tools needed to amplify your natural
skills. I have played organized ball for over 60 years and,
fortunately, I got off to a good start, thanks to fundamentals
instilled in me from the very beginning. I began playing organized
baseball in early grade school and continued playing summer
baseball for the next 10 years under the tutelage of legendary Iowa
coach George Engebretson. George coached baseball in the
ultra-small town of Rembrandt (200 souls). Nearly every team his
charges played against came from much larger towns, yet George's
teams were nearly always victorious because he had his players so
well grounded in fundamentals. Opposing teams were seldom so well
taught. Thus, even when an opposing team had superior athletes, as
was often the case, George's team was still dominant. I also played
high school baseball for some excellent coaches. Those coaches had
an easier job than most because George had already smoothed the
rough edges of all the players. Let me hasten to add that those
high school coaches taught us quite a bit, too, but they didn't
have to start at square one, thanks to George. Coaches Hulsebus,
Skogerboe, and Rath could focus on the more advanced nuances of the
game and they did a wonderful job. Following high school, I didn't
play organized ball while working my way through DeVry Technical
Institute (now DeVry University) in Chicago. Once I had graduated
there and settled into a career, I resumed playing ball, this time
softball, and have played almost continuously ever since. In the
2013 National Senior Games, my team won gold medals in our age
group; three teammates and I were selected as All-Americans (wish
George was still around to see that ). I often see players who were
never taught the proper fundamentals of playing ball or, if they
were, the lessons never stuck. For every player I see fitting that
description, I'd wager they cost their team about a run per game,
on average. That could get very expensive if there is more than one
of those players on a team, especially if their opponents have no
such handicap. The first chapters of this book will describe the
things that a player should do automatically while playing
softball. Succeeding chapters will suggest things a player can do
to improve his game when not on the field, things I believe will
help any player enhance his natural abilities. Incidentally, please
excuse my apparent sexism in this volume. I realize that females
play softball and will read this book, too, hopefully. When you see
masculine pronouns, I'm just trying to keep it simple. That makes
it so much easier than using something like "he/she" or some other
gender-neutral term. Rest assured that I'm directing my thoughts to
both sexes. Softball is one athletic endeavor in which you can
participate almost your entire life. With the growth of senior
softball, there's really no reason to hang up your cleats until
physical infirmities arise, but even those often can be forestalled
with proper conditioning. I hope this book helps you enjoy even
more the game we all love.
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