Category Archives: Blog

HEADS!!!

HEADS!!! You must be familiar with this yelling during the game and the universal response of folks ducking their head to protect it and prevent a softball concussion.  But are you actually ready for it?  You never know until it happens to you or to someone close to you.   Read along to find out what happened.

Well, Are you ready for the spring softball season to start and high school softball to start? Specially now that the weather has turned so gorgeous (even though we so desperately need more rain this winter).  We had one tournament the end of January at Salinas Sports Complex.  It was just a Saturday only tournament since many of the teams were still on a break and we didn’t have enough teams sign up.

My 12-year-old had 4 games on Saturday.  3 of the games were against 12U teams and last game was against a 14U team!  Talk about the mental dilemma! Even though some kids are as tall as the 14U kids, mentally they get spooked somehow that they are playing much bigger kids.  My 12-year-old is 5′-6″ tall but long and gangly still.  The problem is that not all her team mates are tall, we have some of the smallest kids (late growers) on her team as well and many in between.

Anyway, she and a couple of the 12U kids were playing against a 14U  team in our last game and grandma had come that day to watch the games since she hadn’t watched her play in a long time. Grandma was really proud that she pitched really well against the 14U and struck out a few kids and walked a few, she was able to use all the different types of pitches (rise ball, screw ball, inside, outside, change-up) she has been practicing.  It was just an opportunity for her to get her feet wet playing an older team.

After a couple of innings she was going to sit on  the bench and watch the other 14U kids play, so grandma was going to leave and we turned our backs to the field to leave.  You know what they say about never stand with your back to the ocean when you are at the water’s edge on the beach?  Same goes for softball.  There came a foul ball rising high up and over the 20 ft fence at the backstop and descended down and we could hardly hear “HEADS!!!” since it was cold and we all had our hoods up covering our ears and before we could see it, it came down on grandma.  Thank God, it impacted grandma right at the joint of her spectacles (you see the picture above), and the glasses came down and impacted on her cheek but nothing else.  Of course we didn’t know how bad she got hurt as she just sat down holding her cheek.

My heart just jumped out my mouth since I was so worried about my mom getting hurt specially as she was going to take an international flight in 2 days.  A kind soul brought ice and another kind soul (probably a doctor or nurse) came immediately running to check if she had a concussion.  She asked me to watch her carefully on my drive home which was an hour and 15 mins.  I was quiet the entire trip just asking her questions trying to figure out if she is responding to my questions and watching for any signs of dizziness or slurred speech, headaches or any thing else.  I have never let my mom talk for so long as on that day without interrupting 😉  I figured I didn’t know much about concussion and signs to watch out for.  Do you know what to watch out for if someone you know has a concussion?  Please read and get yourself familiar here “Concussion” before the season starts.  Luckily for grandma, that was it, she had a slight bruising on her cheek but not even a swelling.  Just the loss of her glasses.  Icing and Advil took care of it.  I’d say God was really watching over her.

I think there is more education on this issue of concussion at the youth sports now and I’ve noticed high school kids had to get a base line concussion testing before season starts so they can test them again if they ever got a concussion.  If you are one of those people who don’t yell “HEADS” when you see a foul ball coming, think twice, you may be saving someone’s life by just yelling.  Thanks to everyone that yelled that day.  I hope and wish you all have a wonderful and safe softball season.

Softball Gift ideas

Happy Holidays Softball Peeps,  I hope you have finished your shopping by now, but just in case you are still wondering what to gift the softball people in your family, here is a small list.

Softball moms and dads, grandparents, Coaches or softball pets ,  No matter who it is, there is always something you can gift them that is softball related that they could show off come Spring when all the softball zombies wake up from their winter slumber, just itching to get out and play ball.  Wait, did I just describe your family…? Ok then, continue reading.  What are some of the things that you could give to the softball people in your lives?

Lets start with Moms: You know, without them your player is not going to be at the right place at the right time with clean jerseys and socks.  What do moms really want?

Lets see. It will be chilly when the season starts so may be a nice comfy blanket? Or a no sweat water bottle to keep her beverage of choice hot or cold?  How about a comfy chair (one for the stadium or one standalone)?  May be a brand new collapsible wagon to put a her gear?  May be a sun umbrella?  I will add more as I think of it.

SOFTBALL GIFTS FOR MOMS

How about the dads?  If the dad is not a coach then some of the gifts that apply to the mom will apply to dads as well.  But if there is more the dad does like coach or practice with the girls then here is a list  of items he may like. Of the items in the following table, I have personally bought at least 5 of the 6 items in the table for the dad in our family so he could practice with the kids.  We only have one bucket seat. Note:  If the moms are the ones practicing with the softball kids or coaching the kids then use this list for the moms.  I don’t want to stereo type the gender roles.  He..He..or should I say (s)he..(s)he.. 😉

SOFTBALL GIFTS FOR DADS and COACHES

Now for the most important little (or not so little) people in our lives, our kids.  Both my kids have grown up to be much taller than me now.  So I am the little person in my family.  Anyway, what can we get the kids?  Do they need a new bat? or glove?  As the kids grow they outgrow their bats and gloves quickly.  This year both our kids got bats and gloves either because they have worn out their glove or become too tall for their bats.  Both gloves and bats are tricky items to buy without actually testing it out on the field.  So if your kids have had a favorite team bat they have been using in the dugout or if they like hitting with their teammates bat then those are good indicators that they may like a bat similar to that.  One of my daughters has a very quick swing and excellent hand-eye coordination.  The bat that my quick swinging daughter loves is the Anderson Rocketech bat (link below in the table) that is all metal that most kids don’t like as much but for my 15-year-old, it works great!  She has delivered many home runs with that bat.  My 12-year-old  currently has a Demarini bat which is a composite 2 piece bat that most softball kids love.  What about gloves?  Did you know that there are different types of gloves for different positions?  Most of you may know it but if your daughter is new to the sport then check it out here “Different types of Softball mitts”.  There are plenty of gifts you can give your players from jewelry to hair bows and which softball player would not want more bows?  Choice of gifts for kids is wide open.  See some ideas in the table below.

And last but not least, you can’t leave your pets.  Here is a softball pet gift for your little furry friend.

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 😉