In our new fastpitch installment of Ask the Expert, Youth1 Media sat down with fastpitch standout and 2013 Gatorade Player of the Year Sonja Morse, college athlete and recent graduate of Thomas College (Waterville, ME). Morse shares her insight on how you can be prepared for the upcoming fastpitch tournament season, and provides workout tips, drills, and all-around advice for success both as a player and a team.
The Expert Snapshot on Sonja Morse:
Years Playing: 15
Position: Pitcher, Shortstop, Utility
Bats: .345 Average
Hits: Right Handed
Throws: Right Handed
High School: Erskine Academy/Cony High School
Accomplishments: National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Top 10% of CATC class, All-Academic Team all four years, First Team All-Conference all four years, KVAC Player of the Year 2013, KVCC Player of the Year 2013, Gatorade Player of the Year 2013, State Champions 2013.
College: UMASS Lowell/Thomas College
Degree: Bachelors in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice (Currently pursuing M.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice
Accomplishments: Deans List High Honors 2013-2016, First Team All-Conference 2015/2016, All-Academic Team 2015/2016, Pitcher of the Year 2016.
Pre-Season Softball Workout Tips/Ideas:
Pitchers should wear a sweatshirt while warming up in colder weather. This will prevent muscle strain and keep you warm throughout the game.
Field players should make sure they are warmed up and stretched out before each practice or game to prevent injury. Quick feet drills, short sprints, band drills, and leg workouts are the most beneficial workouts for softball players. “Our legs are our powerhouse; for pitchers exercising our legs is ideal to maximize our pitching speed and accuracy.”
Pre-Season Softball Drills:
· Four Corner Drill: Groups on all bases, throwing counter clock wise/clockwise following your throw for arm warmup and throwing accuracy.
· Short hop, grounders, picks, and fly balls in the gaps.
· Baserunners practice safe diving techniques back to bases and practice the different types of slides for different situational play.
· Drop step drills for outfield and middle infield foot work.
· Bunt coverages/First and third coverage
· Second base/short stop coverage and footwork drills
· Long toss for speed and stretch
· Lunge to pitch drill (Leg drive drill)
· Leg on bucket drill (Back side down)
· One knee drill (Arm speed)
· Around the World (Accuracy)
· 30 Pitch Game: 10 pitches, 3 rounds, 7/10 strikes for each round or an exercise or sprint for how many pitches did not reach the 10.
· Sprinter Start (On stomach, for leg and arm strength)
Morse also shared insight on the importance of the mental aspects of the game, being a student of the game, and the importance of teamwork.
“Mental game is as important as our physical game. Keeping level headed and poised on and off the field will allow you to perform in high stress situations with ease and success. Softball is a game of knowledge, and the more you know the game and practice, the better outcome and successes you will have. Situational play for pitchers and field players are ideal, for a successful team. We win games when a team works together and plays with minimal errors, which means that as players we want to be better than those around us. Cheer your teammates on, be positive, give them praise on a good play, and make them better by holding them accountable during games and practices. Team dynamic is almost as important as having talented athletes.”
Co-Written by: Erika Yackulic/Sonja Morse
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