Practice makes perfect

Hey Softball Peeps,  Hope your fall ball is going well.

Our fall ball this year is jam-packed.  We have already had a couple of tournaments in Stockton and Pleasanton and this weekend we are at Big League Dreams in Manteca.  Then, we have one in Fremont, two in Sacramento and one in South Bay coming.  My husband is always reminding the kids to practice, everyday even if it is for 30 mins.  But having a volunteer coach at home is good and bad. Good that kids get a lot of practice, bad that the kids get a lot of practice.  Sometimes, I get tired of practice and blurt out “can we do something other than softball?”  Wait..I can see the wheels in your head turning…hmm..

I haven’t been to the field recently to watch my younger daughter play since we had to split up between taking the two kids to different activities at different places.  The last time I saw her play in the summer, it was a typical softball weekend as a pitcher.  Some pitches are great, some not so great and you feel the pressure on the mound and as a mom of a pitcher you wonder why your kids like to put themselves in such pressure situations!!

So this last weekend I got to witness my daughter pitch again (after a of a lot of practice at home the last few weeks on our backyard pitching/batting cage ) and it was amazing to see how much she has improved.  She had innings where she totally shut down the other team by getting 1-2-3 strike out.  But there were times when she would get 1-2-strikes—and walk.  This last weekend, the championship game came down to getting the last batter out, last inning, time ran out, umpire said we will finish the inning (gulp!!), I couldn’t watch the game..I was so nervous at this win or loss situation, we need to get this out and there were already the first two strikes and then 2 balls. I was praying that my daughter get her third strike out so she could have confidence in her pitching skills (she loves to pitch and so far seems to handle the pressure better than me just watching her from the stands) and finally the elusive 3rd strike came and we won.  I could see the confidence in her face after that strike out and wondered how much the game of softball has taught her at such a young age.  To work hard, to persist and to keep pushing regardless (all the bad cheering against the pitcher) and to succeed.  And she still wants to keep pitching! She also had an ulterior motive, I think the coach promised her a fine pen if she pitched well and more than anything, I think she really wanted the pen.

How many of us at 12 years of age have had the opportunity to play and have everything rest on that one thing you have to absolutely have to nail to succeed?  May be you have, then you are an exception..not me! I was blissfully in la la land 😉  Kudos to all the pitchers who work hard everyday to perfect your techniques.

Now, I see the importance of regular practice especially for pitchers and how it makes the kids feel when they succeed and I tell my daughter that she needs to practice if she wants to stay a true top-notch pitcher.  Practice makes Perfect!!  I won’t be giving my husband a hard time about practicing all the time, well not promising that one outside of softball 😉

If you have young kids, make sure they are signed up to play some kind of sport they like so they get exposed to all kinds of situations before they grow and leave home!  Sports teaches the kids a lot of things that they would otherwise not be exposed to.  Of course you can’t force them but encourage them by all means.  Here is to another weekend of softball. Cheers!

 

Hydration!!!

Hello Softball peeps,

I am not sure how the weather is where you live but in Northern California it is getting hotter.  We are so used the mild weather here and snow-covered mountains at the Sierra even this past week that hot weather is giving us a real shock.  Thank goodness at least the drought is over.

This past weekend kids had to play in Tracy/Modesto area and the temps were in the  scorching 107 degree range.   It was so hot that even the adults watching the games had to take precautions not get overheated. I was very worried about the kids playing in the heat.   Not quite sure why all the games are played in such hot places.  It would be a nice change of pace if the teams traveled to the bay area to play where it usually is a little cooler.  I am sure their kids would love to play in 80 degree vs 100+ degrees.  Just a wild wish.   The key to survive is to stay hydrated and keeping the body cool.  I saw a lot of new fashion statements at the field with most parents wrapped with neon pink and blue and red hydration towels around their necks.

Home depot was selling these for just under $10.  If you look online, I am sure you can buy in bulk for your entire team at $2 to $3 a piece.

Another way to keep cool is to use spray bottles or misting bottles with small fans attached to them.  Amazon has these available in a wide range of prices.

How much do you know about Hydration? I thought I knew about hydration but when I took this quiz I did not fare well.  If you think you know a lot about hydration take this quiz for fun.   Hydration Quiz on Webmd.  Needless to say I  only got a little more than half the questions correctly 🙁

May be some of you know more about hydration than me, but for others like me it is an eye opener.  Here is another interesting link for Hydration Calculator I found online which calculates the amount of water someone needs.  Try it out and see if you are drinking enough water.  I also read another article which said you need about 3/4 to 1 oz of water per lb of body weight.  Are you drinking enough water?

Coming back to our softball athletes, it is tremendously important for them to stay hydrated.  Our coaches sometimes tell our kids to start drinking lot of additional water 2 or 3 days before the weekend when we play in the summers.  Here are some signs and symptoms of dehydration.

* Dry mouth

* Lethargy

* Sunken eyes

*Feeling weak and dizzy

* Failure to sweat

* Decreased urine output

The quickest way to help our young athletes who get dehydrated is to have them drink water. But if they are too dehydrated that they passed out, you may have to call the medical professionals to get them hydrated ASAP.

If athletes play for over an hour of sports in hot and humid weather then they not only lose water but also some salts.  So sports drinks may give them some salts in addition to water.  But there has been debate about what is in these sports drinks that is not good for you. Without getting into a debate about the good and bad of sports drinks, I think a bottle of Gatorade or Powerade is probably okay to drink if your kids are playing for more than an hour under the sun, but water is the BEST and safest way to get hydrated on a regular basis.  During travel ball, kids usually play 3 games a day, each game lasting an hour and a half so dehydration is a serious issue.

So please emphasize the importance of drinking water to your young athletes.  Only downside to this is to be stuck in a softball field with bad bathrooms. The bane of softball fields.  I am sure you are all too familiar with that situation.  If you happen to play in a softball park with decent bathrooms consider yourself lucky.  Good luck and stay hydrated this summer.  If you would like to get more information of Hydration please visit another useful link on this topic from the folks at the Positive Health Wellness.  The more you learn how to hydrate your body to stay healthier the better.  Lets have a drink to our health.

ASA/USA Nor Cal Qualifier @ Twin Creeks

Hey, folks! Before I forget I wanted to wish all the dad’s a Happy Father’s day this weekend.  Sorry that I didn’t have any special posts for mother’s day or father’s day this year.  Too many sick people in my house.  In my opinion, every day has to be a mother’s day or father’s day.  No doubt about it.  This weekends there is a huge tournament at Twin Creeks in Sunnyvale.  It is an all turf field so cleats allowed.  No food allowed either.  They have a pretty decent snack shack (they call it the club house).  Looks a little run down but nevertheless, the food was ok and they had some healthy choices. Here is a list of items in their menu if you want to plan ahead.  They have a bar upstairs and restaurant downstairs.  Our team usually tells parents to refrain from drinking during tournaments as we have seen in the past where some parents have had a little too many drinks and act like idiots in front of their kids and other kids.   Your team may be different.  A total of 64 teams have registered to play over the next 3 days.  My 12U daughter is also playing in this tournament.   This is the first time we are playing so close to home, it feels weird not to have to wake up at the crack of the dawn to start fighting traffic to go to a field.

We have a very young 12’s team this summer, you know… we all go through this, the teams get good and then half the kids move up and then we have to redo this all over again.  Last few weeks our team kid have gone through so much sickness too.  Nasty viruses swirling around the bay area.  Not fun at all.

My 15-yr-old is playing in Manteca this weekend. One of the regular pitchers is on vacation, so since she is a backup pitcher, she has been pitching a lot and I am not sure how much she is liking it even though the coaches like it.  We shall see how long this pitching thing lasts.  It is a very easy going team though so there is not much pressure.

Well, where ever you are playing this weekend, good luck to your kid’s teams.  Enjoy and celebrate the dads who work hard and are there for their kids.  What could be more perfect? Father’s day tournaments? Perfect for dads who enjoy as much time in the field as their daughters do.  Happy Father’s day softball dads!

ASA Memorial day weekend tournament, Stockton, CA

Hey there softball folks,

I have been really busy lately with other Internet of things so I am slacking a little bit on my softball side of things.  My 15-yr old finished her high school freshman JV season with a number of awards. Her “High School MVP offense 2017 for JV”, “High school Scholar Athlete award”, was also selected by the League Coaches as the “All League Player 2016-17” award.  She also got to play a few games for the varsity team.  All in all a great year for freshman year.

Good luck to our high school varsity team playing the CCS-Central Coast De Anza-Division 1 championship game today. Go Mustangs!!

Our Summer Travel Ball season is kicking off today and from now on it is relentless softball every weekend until August.  Are you playing in this weeks ASA Memorial day tournament?  My 12-yr old is playing today at Arnaiz Stadium, Stockton.  Hope to see some of you there.

Here is a review of the stadium from my past visits.  I have also filed this under the softball field reviews tab at the top menu if you want to access it at a later date.  We have played many games here, this is where last year 10U ASA Nationals were held.  Have a great Memorial Day Weekend.

BIG THANKS to the countless men and women who have served our country so we get to enjoy spending our weekend with watching our kids playing sports.

Arnaiz Stadium, Stockton, CA

Are you ready for the weekend?

Hey Softball people, How do you like this cheesy video?  That is what my husband called it.  I had this done by a talented artist called Dean from DadoonStudio.  He was one of the students in my online business class.

Every weekend is like this in our house.  Loads of laundry, trying to find the right sock with no holes at the toes, visors, cleats, jerseys (specially if you have more than one kid playing) suitcases full of stuff for those out-of-town tournaments..you name it, the whole nine yards.  This video is dedicated to the countless parents who go through this every weekend.  Enjoy and share it with fellow softball people!!  Our softball season is definitely starting slowly but surely and before you know it we parents will be kicking and screaming all the way to the field.

We have tournament this weekend in the Fremont sports complex.  Not that far so we wouldn’t be trading our car for a wagon!  I noticed that many of you land on my site looking for healthy food options for sporty kids.  I am working on gathering more information on sports nutrition and good recipes.  Will post soon when I have enough material.  Have a great weekend folks.  Enjoy the sunshine!!

 

Travel Softball in Northern California

Hey Softball fans,

I am republishing a post from 3 years ago.  This is a page on my site that is by far the most visited page.  I know some of your kids are busy playing spring softball, but spring will end soon and then you will be wondering what to do this summer.  So I thought this post could help you find a summer team close to you.  I have also added more teams to the list.  Most of the summer teams might have already formed by now but there is always exceptions.  If your daughter is a great player then there might be a team that would want her to play for them.  So it never hurts to call the team and check to see if they have a spot for her.  So here you go…

 

TRAVEL SOFTBALL IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

strikezone

So now that your daughter has finished or nearing the end of the recreation season, what are you going to do?  Do your kids switch sports? Or do they play summer ball? or may be even step up to a travel ball?

If you live in the bay area, you hit the jackpot with travel ball teams. There are SO many teams in this area.   My husband and I gave our girls the option to play different sports in different seasons.  We played Rec softball in spring, and a “C” ball team in the summer, soccer in the fall, and basketball in the winter.  We found out that by about 10 years of age the kids actually picked the sport they like and wanted to stick with it.

So my oldest one joined competitive team a.k.a “A” ball team to play on, around 10 yrs because most of her rec team kind of split up into different sports.  My younger one just joined the same “A” ball team.  So no more soccer for us.

I kinda wish my kids went into golf.  I like golf, but I am out numbered in my family.  So, lets stick with softball.  I didn’t know what are the different levels of softball when we started.  What is A, B and C softball?

Well, the classification actually differs depending on where you live and what type of tournaments your coach decides to enter. In a nut shell the following is a very simple definition.

Class “A”: Team consists of high level players.  Team has more than one Ace level pitcher.  Team competes and consistently beats teams that are better.  Team is put together by holding a try out and travels quite far to compete with the best teams in the region. Enters into showcase tournaments as kids get older to get players college scholarships.  Competes in national level championship games. Very competitive.

Class “B”: Most teams at some point will fall in this category.  Majority of players are above average level players.  Team has strong pitching and is competitive and win some tournaments. Travels within short distance.  Medium level competitiveness.

Class “C”:  Team mostly consists of an all-star kids from a recreation league.  Travel short distance to compete with other “C” level teams.  A step above rec ball.

Again these are general guidelines and differ depending on ASA/USA or USSSA rules.  In Northern California, if your player plays or has her name in the roster of an “A” ball team on April 1st then they cannot play recreation ball.  Check out the NorcalASA handbook linked here.

Now comes the choices.  The great weather and plenty of interest in softball has contributed to a great many travel ball teams here in Northern California. Some of the teams listed here are a little outside Nor Cal that travel to Nor Cal area to play.   Are you ready for this? In no particular order..here we go, a list of travel softball teams in Northern California!

All American Mizuno

All American Sports Academy

Bay Area Diamonds

CA Yard Sharks

Central Cal Dirt dogs

Cal Breeze

California Bombers

California Crossfire

California Lady Magic

California Riptide

Cal Nuggets

Castro Valley Synergy

Central Coast Athletics

Chico STarz

Clovis Rockets Ortiz

Diamond Girls

Davis Lady Demons

Easton Elite

Earthquakes Softball

Elk Grove Thunder

Fremont Flyers

Grapettes

Gilroy Chaos

KG Hitters

Lady Hawks

Lady Hustle

Lady Wolfpack

Lightning Elite

Magic

Mad River Mist

Maverics

Milpitas Renegades

Nor Cal Blast

Nor Cal Blitz

NorCal Diehards

Norcal Firecrakers

Nor Cal Krusherz

Nor Cal Extreme

Nor Cal Hotshots

Nor Cal shockers

Nor Cal Patriots

Nor Cal dirt dogs

Nor Cal Valley Stompers

Nor Cal Xperience

Nova Fusion

OBS Monarchs

Runnin rebels

Ripon Cyclones

San Jose Lady Sharks

San Jose Strikers

San Jose Sting

San Jose Synergy

Salinas Storm

Salinas Wildcats

Silicon valley Starfire

San Ramon Slammers

Santa Cruz Kraze

Sorcerer

SLO county Nitro

Strikezone

Tri-county Smash

USA Elite

West Bay Warriors

Young Guns Akadema

If you are looking for a more convenient way to search for teams in your area please click searchable Table of Travel softball teams in Northern California.  Enter your location in the search area and a list of teams will show up.  You can also browse through the locations alphabetically.

Note: If  I have missed your team or if any link is broken, please post a comment or email me through the contact page and I will correct it and add the team.

So there you go, you have a list of teams near you that you can check out and try out if your daughter is interested in the next level of softball.  Good luck and hope to see you out in the field in one of the tournaments!  Happy playing!!

 

Reviews of Softball Fields in Bay Area

Hey, softball fans,

Howz it going?  As travel softball family I am sure you have had your share of visiting various fields in and around the Bay Area.  Sometimes the fields are nice and sometimes they are awful. Over the years I have been taking pics of the parks we play in and their snack shacks. Some of the park reviews are listed below.  I still have many to list here and will keep adding more as soon as I have time. So please continue to check here on a regular basis.  I also have the same listed under the Softball Field Review page so you don’t have to scroll to find the field reviews in the blog section of this site.  I hope this will benefit other parents and help them find out in advance if there is a snack shack or entry fee or if the park is kid friendly or pet-friendly.

Alden E. Oliver sports park, Hayward, CA

Big League Dream Sports Complex, Manteca, CA

Louis Park, Stockton, CA

Mission College, Santa Clara, CA

Ocala Park, San Jose, CA

Patricia H Birdsall Sports Park, Temecula, CA

Pleasanton Sports Complex, Pleasanton, CA

Salinas Sports Complex, Salinas, CA

High School softball in full swing

Today Humphrey came home from high school with my daughter.  Here is Humphrey looking cool with his shades on 😉

This is their equivalent to game ball.  Each kid gets to decorate him when they take him home after a game played well.  We had an awesome game today against a team from Santa Clara that was equally good.

Last game was very painful to watch when our JV team got creamed by another team from the Peninsula.  You know some days you are just wishing “Isn’t there a run rule to end the game quick and stop the bleeding?”  That was our previous game.  Today however we had a really good one.  We were leading 7 to 1 for a long time and then we gave up a lot of runs quickly due to errors and were 7 to 8 at the 6th inning.  But the last inning we shut them down with good pitching and also good hitting and ended up winning the game 10-8.

Today was my daughter’s debut pitching for high school JV team.   She had been catching the last few games as our official catcher got hurt.   Today she gave up 3 runs the first inning and then shut them down the last inning.  We had good team work with the entire team playing well at the end.  Since she had a great hit which brought 2 runs in and good pitching, she got to take home Humphrey.

Edited:

 

I am a proud Mom.  You know, I never thought I would say this, but I do miss seeing her play at a high level in the “A ball” tournaments.

Oh well, I still have my 11-year-old playing in the “A ball” team, so we will get plenty of games this summer starting this weekend at Pleasanton, CA.  I need to get back into the swing of things and get this site going again.  Watch out for more updates soon.  Wishing you all a great spring season of softball!!

PS: If you didn’t notice..Humphrey is a Mustang 😉

High school softball Varisity team vs JV team

Hey there softball people! What have you been up to during this rainy winter?  Are you sick of the rain yet?  Spring softball season is around the corner but there seems to be no respite from the rain.

How many of your kids are high school age?  How did the tryouts go and did they make the high school teams?  If your kids have played any kind of travel softball, I bet they made it on their high school softball team.

After a week of tryouts, our high school has finally picked its players and settled in their teams.  My daughter is a freshman this year.  She and several of her teammates from her previous travel team made it on to their high school softball teams.  Congratulations to all of you girls.  My daughter and one of her friends at the same school were told by their coach that even though they are good enough to play on the varsity team, that he would rather see them play JV initially instead of being bench warming freshman.  She was told she would move up to varsity team as needed during the season.

We are very thankful for the coach being so honest with the kids and letting them know what he was thinking.  My daughter was initially very conflicted about whether she should be playing varsity or JV if she had to choose.  The coach just made it less stressful for her by telling her that she would start JV and move up during the season.

Now she seems excited about playing for JV.  Also, the JV team needs pitchers and so she will be pitching some is what she was told.  Well, we just want her to enjoy playing for the school.

I have read conflicting accounts of kids getting on Varsity team as a freshman and not enjoying sitting on the bench.  Since the coach has priority to play the seniors and juniors first. Understandably.

Have your kids faced a situation where they had to choose between Varsity or JV softball team?  What did they do?  Which one did they pick? Were they happy with their choice?  Please share your thoughts so other kids and parents can get learn from your experience.

If you would like to check out your high school teams go to Maxpreps and search for your state and your high school.  They have all the tournaments listed and the results and much more.

This is our first year of high school, so I had to search a lot to find out information on high school softball and its rules and regulations.  It seems like the high school governing body in California is CIF (California Interscholastic Federation).  You can get the latest rules books online at Amazon.

 

You can also get the Softball Case Book at Amazon.  Both books are $5.99 and available in e-book format.  You do have to keep the umpire in line, don’t you 😉  What is a softball casebook?  According to the description on Amazon, it  “Contains the official case plays for softball and are designed to explain all aspects of the sport.”

Here is also a link to the Official softball rules interpretation from NFHS (National Federation of State High School Association).  Here is the NFHS Rules changes and Interpretation based on CIF website.

Who says softball is simple huh?  So many rules and regulations and changes.  Here is a link on what is allowed and not allowed as far as bats and softball clothes and accessories.

So, how many times can kids move up and down between varsity and JV team?  I have heard from parents on softball forums that once the kids play in conference games then they can’t move down.  Some parents say it depends on the state and the kids can move up and down up to 26 or 28 times or something similar to that based on league and non-league games.  I still have not figured out if this is true in California since I have not read the Rules book yet.  If there are high school softball coaches or experts reading this post, please chime in and keep us straight on this issue.

Okay, have you had enough of High School softball rules and regulations?  Is there more that we need to know? If your kids have played HS softball and you have any interesting experience of it please do share for the benefit of newbie HS parents like me here.  We appreciate your comments on this topic.

Good luck to your kids playing High School Softball this spring!  Now we just need the rain to stop!!

Happy New Year 2017

Happy New year 2017 to all my readers!  I hope 2016 was good for you and I hope 2017 is Great to everyone.

I am for sure looking forward to a great 2017.  As for 2016, I am glad it is OVER and gone.  I would not want to revisit 2016 ever.  Was just a terrible year for us until the very very end!  I can’t believe we had such a rough 2016.  I can see the wheels turning in your head.  How bad could it have been?  Well for starters, our home remodel was supposed to have been finished by January of 2016 but due to a series of unfortunate events…it never did.  To top it all, my brother-in-law who was our remodel contractor (a very talented one at that) ended up getting cancer and passed away within 7 months of diagnosis.  It was very devastating to the entire family.  Since he was remodeling our house, he stayed with us for 3 to 4 months before heading back to east coast where he was from.  Just watching a human being get wasted by cancer just sucked!  My entire family was extremely stressed out and ended up having our own stress related health problems.

Then we acted as our own general contractor and had individual contractors come in to finish up our house.  Specially in the bay area, it was extremely difficult to find good contractors.  It was like pulling teeth.  Should I add without any pain medication!! You know sometimes it feels like you are constantly swimming upstream and it is very exhausting!

If you follow my blog, here is a pic of my house I posted in November of 2015.  The bottom right corner pic was my demolished kitchen in a rubble.

Well, even towards the end of the year, Christmas break, we all got sick with terrible cold and fever during our travel to east coast and we are just now recovering from it.  We also got buried  by 18″ of snow but we were too sick to get out of the house anyway.  You see what I mean, until the 31st of 2016 we were struggling.  So as you can tell, we are  excited about 2017.

Now turning a new leaf in this new year, just yesterday, we got our final inspection approved by the city.  I can’t believe it!! This morning when I woke up, I thought it was a dream.  I was the structural engineer on my house and I am so glad to say that I do not have to deal with the city again for my house.  They were not easy to work with.  Well, are you ready to see my new kitchen?  Ta..da…..

Do you like it?  I love it.  Every aspect of my house, I researched and designed it.  Houzz was my best friend during the process. The nightmare of home remodel of 2016 is finally over!!

I hope your Christmas break was great and you got many goodies you asked for.  Now relating to softball, my daughter asked for a special bat she liked.  Here is a pic.

DeMarini CF9 Hope (-10) Fastpitch Bat _ DeMarini

She got what she wanted.  We shall see how it works out for her this spring.  She is moving up to 12U and spring season practice starts tomorrow actually.  My older daughter plans on trying out for high school softball. But for her softball has definitely taken a back seat to academics.

Here is to a GREAT 2017 to everyone.

Softball blog

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