All Star Softball Academy: Welcome

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra."

The All Star Fastpitch Softball Academy was started by Paul Hazlett to offer quality instruction to players of all ages. Coach Hazlett is recognized by the NFCA as a Master Coach Gold Star from the NFCC and was trained by world renowned Ernie Parker to be a Certified Pitching Instructor from the IFPA. Coach Hazlett is available for private lessons or group clinics for hitting, fielding, and pitching. We also hold clinics for coaches and parents to help them understand the physical, strategic, and mental aspects of fastpitch softball. The clinics, known as "WHY" clinics are designed to explain the inner workings of the game and to help everyone understand "WHY" certain techniques work better for girls.

Sunday, November 4
It's Time Again!!!

November 2012---------how can this be but the calendar doesn't lie. It's time for winter lessons and the time to sign up is now.

While many are traveling long distances for instruction from me, I still have a few time slots open for those wanting to hone their skills. Whether you are a beginner looking to get started or have pitched for a few years and simply want some help with your mechanics, I'll find time to get you on the schedule.

Most instruction is a 1 on 1 session that lasts over an hour. During your first visit you'll soon see why I call my sessions "Why Clinics" as I take the time to explain "why" we need to focus on certain elements or mechanics of the pitching motion. These key steps will aid you in becoming a more explosive pitcher as well as more accurate.

Email me at: to schedule an introductory lesson soon. All first lessons are free but only so many time slots are available. Don't wait till it's too late, start now and be ready for spring!!

Paul Hazlett


Michelle Depolo
Coach Hazlett and Michelle Depolo, Head Coach at West Point
Friday, August 24
Welcome Visitors to the Academy Website

Welcome visitors to our new website that I hope will help you during your softball years by providing information about fastpitch softball. The goal is to answer questions and to offer quality instruction to players of all ages that want to take their game to the next level.


I have recently received my certification from the IFPA as a pitching instructor and will be attending classes this winter to improve my status of my already obtained Master Coach Gold Star from the NFCC. These efforts are being made to offer you the most informed and quality instruction available. Also, I have finished my course studies and passed all the testing to receive my Level 3 coaching status with the ACE program sponsored by ASA.


If you are interested in private or group lessons for pitching or hitting, or if you have a team you want to sponsor a clinic for, contact me by mail at

 Prices vary for services requested and a price list will be added to this website very soon.

Friday, August 8
Time for Tryouts!!!

It’s time again to get ready for travel ball tryouts and while many players already involved have open invitations to their club from the previous season, just as many will be looking to make a change. Some will be moving to another age level while some may simply be looking for an organization that better fits the individual’s needs for the immediate future. Regardless of the reason, there are a few things you should consider before making a change, and being prepared will go a long way in making the tryout period less stressful.


I believe the first thing you should consider is your reasons for change. As already stated, the obvious reason would be because of your age. There are many organizations that fulfill the needs at the younger age levels but don’t offer programs for older girls. As time goes by and girls get closer to high school age, some will need to decide if they want to continue playing softball. All the sudden, the girls they may have played with in 8u, 10u, and 12u competition may feel uneasy about competing in high school or choose to focus on another sport. The time restraints can become very demanding while working on academics, forcing some girls to give something up so they can spend more time studying. Some families may realize they simply can’t afford to participate in travel ball for time and financial reasons. Some families will simply want to change because they don’t like the organization they are with. Some may want to take the challenge to move to a higher level of competition. Others may move to another part of the country to live, forcing them to look for a club within their area. Regardless, the numbers of available players dwindle, the faces may change, but the field of competition is still recognizable to all wanting to play. Another constant, others will be looking for a team that’s the right fit. Yes, the cruel fact is it becomes more difficult to fill rosters in the older age groups but not impossible.


Families need to identify their reason for change and research organizations beforehand. There’s little need to try out for a club that you know you will not be happy being a part of. Remember, if you’re not having fun, the experience will be a bad one. This IS a game—not a job. You should look forward to your weekends together. It may be difficult to get a good read on the people involved when you attend a tryout for a new organization so it’s as important for the parents to be as proactive in the process as it is for the player to be sharp. Parents should ask questions to available staff members and mingle with parents of other players. Observe their mannerisms to get an idea on what to expect. Example: if a group of parents are watching tryouts while socializing and drinking beer, there’s a very good chance that will be the scene in the future. Is this the environment you want to experience for the next year? Are the other parents being very critical of others? If so, you can almost bet they’ll be that way the entire summer. Trust your instincts. If you don’t believe you’ll be a good match, cut your losses now and tell the organization you’d rather look for something different. Any organization of any merit will understand and should realize you are doing each other a favor and simply wish you the best in your search. Don’t leave them a “hanging chad.” In other words, don’t leave them thinking you are committed to their roster if you have no intention of returning. These people are not used car salesmen although the tactics at times may look familiar. With most clubs only having a limited number of slots available, it’s not fair to leave them thinking a spot is filled.


Most clubs will wait till after all the tryouts and notify the selected players of their desire to have them join the team and to notify others they didn’t make the cut. In some cases, teams will take everyone simply because the numbers are not there. Be alert to clubs that don’t have enough players with promises they can fill the roster later. See the need to have enough players committed and if you don’t see those numbers at a team meeting soon after the tryouts, you may want to ask some questions or seek another organization. Don’t wait till June to find out they can’t field a team. If you do, you may find more summer time on your hands then you bargained for.


Make sure you get a full understanding of the summer schedule and intentions of the organization before writing them a check. If they plan to play winter ball and expect you to participate but your daughter is the starting center on her school’s basketball team, the odds you’ll be able to participate are not very good. Make sure everyone is very aware of your intentions. A lot of these girls are not exclusive to one sport. You’ll find it more difficult to fit into the expectations of some clubs while unable to fulfill the duties to others. It’s OK and your choice to make. Just be honest with the staff in the beginning so plans can be made to accommodate the individual situation.


Make sure you can afford the venture. Don’t commit to a group and not be able to travel, especially when you were told at the tryouts what their schedule might be. Perhaps the team you want sets the bar too high for your needs. Try to find an organization with a price and schedule that is more compatible to the family needs. It’s a huge undertaking to sacrifice so much for your child. Only you can decide if it’s worth it.


Last but not least is the actual preparation to attend tryouts. Many organizations will advertise by way of Internet, team websites, newspaper ads, and flyers around town of upcoming dates. Make a list of the organizations you may be interested in and if a phone number or email address is available, call them ahead of time to get as many answers as you can before attending a tryout. Put together a schedule with locations and times, and then be prepared to spend your upcoming weekends driving to fields and spending the day. Make sure you take everything you would as if your daughter is playing ball for the entire day. Many parks offer no seating for spectators, little or no drinking water, or cover from sun or rain. Make sure your daughter has a complete bat bag with everything she’ll need. Don’t show up for a tryout without your shoes. It tends to make a bad first impression!


I hope this helps prepare you and will make a stressful situation a little more tolerable. Careful preparation and a better understanding of the process will go a long way in allowing everyone to be more focused with the task at hand, rather then fretting over the unknown during a crucial tryout period. Stay positive and upbeat and have fun with it. Remember, the game is supposed to be fun and exciting. Be open-minded to new ways to improve yourself and you’ll find the entire experience is very rewarding.

Saturday, June 27
Pitching 101---Taking care of my Franchise!!!!

Should We Take Better Care of Our Pitcher?


Recently, I’ve received many questions pertaining to the health and well-being of a pitcher, mainly about their throwing arm, and it finally dawned on me that I’ve never addressed the issue on the website. I’ve always given my students personal instruction and used the same information in group clinics, but I realized the need to reach out to others that want to know. Many Rec families may have a part-time pitcher in the house but unable to get the word any other way than to read about it here. Others may not be given instruction from any other source. My goal is to share as much as I can and help as many as I can in an effort to promote the sport for everyone to enjoy. I hope the following tips prove to be helpful.


I’ve accumulated a great deal of information about training and conditioning from many different sources. The most thorough source I’ve found over the years is Marc Dagenias, founder of Marc has credentials a mile long and holds multiple Masters Degrees directly related to fitness and training. He’s been a major consultant for professional sports and for at least two Olympic Teams, with his main focus on female athletes. His perspective on many aspects of training is specifically designed for the female athlete, which has its twists that are different from men. If you are serious about training, more specifically training for fastpitch softball, I’m not sure there is a more complete guide anywhere else to be found. Many of my own personal opinions on the subject are mirrored in Marc’s professional findings or have been a source for information I share with the public.


Many parents are concerned with pitch counts for their daughter and want to know “How much is too much?” The answer is in your daughter, not in a number, you can write on a piece of paper. I do use pitch counts to a certain degree, but mainly for training purposes. Unlike baseball, the underhand motion of a pitch is more natural than the overhand throw. Just like the overhand throw, poor technique can cause unwanted strain on the joints and muscles that will fatigue a player. During my sessions with a pitcher, I keep track of pitches to monitor the strength and stamina of a player. From a young age and up, you can tell when a girl is getting tired. Her accuracy will diminish and it becomes harder to keep her focused.


During lessons with me, we work to break through those doors to increase her personal ability. I shoot for 14u and above to be able to throw 100 to 140 quality pitches in a session. In the beginning, they won’t be able to reach this goal if they have taken any time off from throwing. That’s not a problem for a girl with a pitching background and using the proper technique. Within a few weeks, they’ll get the muscles toned up and will begin to increase speed with accuracy again. New pitchers may only be able to throw 50 to 80 pitches in a session but within weeks, they too will gain control and increase the number of quality pitches they can group together without any risk to their body.


How many pitches are too many? Only the pitcher will know. Ask her if she’s OK. Listen to her. Make sure she understands you only want her to continue to throw if she’s not experiencing any pain. Just like a physical workout, she may get a little tired but keeping her form correct during practice and pushing thru the barrier will help her become a stronger pitcher. Just don’t overdue it.


There are many scenarios that can test a pitcher’s endurance but there are two that really stand out in my opinion. Many teams during practice may want live pitching for hitting practice. While this may be a benefit for pitchers and hitters, coaches need to be aware of some bad habits forming by demanding a pitcher simply “throw it in there so they can hit it.” I think you can already see the problem. If you ask almost any pitcher to spend time throwing meatball pitches to batters, don’t get mad when she’s doing it in the next game. Our pitchers learn from repetition. If you’re going to use your pitchers for batting practice, make sure your pitchers are practicing the art of pitching, hitting spots, and throwing a lot of her many pitches she has learned. She should be trying to strike batters out while hitters try to hit good pitches. Both can benefit from the practice.


The second thing is don’t forget the pitcher is human. Only let her throw to about 2-3 batters, depending on the number of pitches to each during a practice, then let her take a break. Try to simulate time spent in a long inning. Let another throw for a while. There’s no need to burn one girl out. During sessions with me, I have the girls throw 24-25 pitches, and then take a break. We talk about her form and discuss changing things before throwing another group of 24-25, the number of balls I keep in each bucket. I keep track of the buckets thrown and it gives me an idea of how many pitches they do in a session. Every girl is different but within a month, most can throw 6 buckets in about 1-hour and change. This would be close to the number of pitches we would want her to throw in a normal 7-inning game. It might vary some but most age groups that have any defensive support; the pitchers can complete a game in 100-140 pitches. Bottom line; practice the way you would throw in a game with breaks to give her a chance to rejuvenate.


Keep in mind the scenarios I’m using has variables. You need to get to know your pitcher. More experienced pitchers can throw up to 200 pitches or more if needed. Others may never develop more than 50-80 quality pitches before fatigue sets in. This information is what I would share with parents and coaches so they know what to expect from a girl. You can over use a pitcher but if you are looking for signs of fatigue, you can give her time to rest and hydrate and in a short period, you can have her back 100%.


Unlike the overhand throw that strains the joints and demands so much energy, the underhand motion takes less effort. Be sure to watch for signs that may mean she needs a break. Accuracy may fall off and you’ll see her labor to regain control. Watch her form, especially the hips to make sure the windmill spin of the arm is being executed properly. Many times when a pitcher gets tired, she’ll be set up too square or facing the target, forcing the arm to struggle to keep a clean and round circle in the revolution. This takes more energy and begins to strain the shoulder. If you catch this early, you can repair her form or give her a break so she’ll be fresh to throw later. Don’t allow a pitcher to continue when she’s exhibiting bad form. This will create a scenario where undue pressure to the shoulder could sideline her for the rest of the day or weekend. It’s also hard on young pitchers still growing and developing, and could cause chronic problems later they simply will never overcome.


Common sense should be your guide while developing the stamina and skill to throw in multiple games over a weekend. Younger pitchers are simply incapable of pitching every game. Don’t burn your workhorse out. Delegate the duties across your pitching staff so you can safely use your girls, as you need them.


And now to answer the question “Ice or heat, which one should we use?” The answer is both. Softball performance guru Marc Dagenias recommends all pitchers use ice on joints, mainly the shoulder, for 20 minutes following any workout, regardless of the number of pitches thrown. Even when you daughter says she doesn’t need it, make her ice it anyway. This is purely a precautionary measure to keep any chance of fluid build up out of the joint. They will rejuvenate her faster and with fewer complications. Unneeded fluid build up can hinder development of the muscles and the growth plate. Keep the joints warm between innings with a jacket or wrap, ice for 20 minutes after, and you’ll find your young pitcher will be ready to go again in no time.


If the following day there is still some soreness, make sure plenty of time is spent stretching and more time taken to warm up, possibly adding dry heat to the joints until you are confident she can throw like you know she can. Soreness is often just that----sore. If it doesn’t go away after a diligent warming up period, it may be a strain of the muscles and require some additional rest and icing. If you diagnose a strain, be sure to ice for any unwanted swelling, then heat to help relieve the annoying pain. Any pain medication should be left up to the parent but Tylenol can be helpful. Consult your family doctor for detailed advice. In most cases, she’ll be ready in a few days for light throwing until she can continue without pain.

 I hope this helps answer some questions. Remember to listen to and watch for signs that can alert you to problems beginning to surface. A quick diagnosis will save you many headaches later while keeping your thoroughbred fresh and available.

Tuesday, January 27
Hazlett achieves Level 3 ACE Certification

I may be down but not out gang as I'm using my spare time to learn and improve my knowledge of fastpitch softball. I have now completed the course and passed the test for Level 3 of the ACE coaches rating sponosored by ASA Softball.

This rating also included another background check by the institution and I am cleared again for involvement with youth. This makes the third background check I've taken during my coaching career, including 2 others for OHSAA participation. The background checking system is something I have supported for many years and have encouraged travel teams to participate with ASA for all their coaches on staff.

If you are a concerned parent, please be sure if you have any doubts to ask for proof of a clean background record for any coach your family may be associated with. I was an advocate for the system when OHSAA was discussing it and lobbyed for it with the ASA-USA Rules Committee until it was adopted.

It simply makes sense to know!

Monday, November 10
What Kind of Bat Should I Use???

Many of you have an idea now on what weight bat to use but that’s only 1/3rd the battle. Now we must decide what kind of bat to use for fastpitch softball. There are many different kinds of bats with companies coming out with something new every week. For now, we’ll try to stick with 3 basic materials used to make modern day bats.

Let’s try to understand the workings of the bat so you’ll better understand the function as well as the standards imposed on today’s equipment. Man made bats have many goals in mind in the bat construction. One of these goals is to increase the trampoline effect of the bat. Trampoline effect refers to how a ball will rebound off the bat at impact. Machines can now measure the trampoline effect to give us an idea on the power generated at swing. By increasing the trampoline effect, a normal ball player can appear super human by hitting the ball harder and farther.

Many companies have their own theory on how to get more “pop” out of a bat. Some increase the chamber pressure of a bat. Others use a different approach by using a 2-piece construction where the handle is attached to the barrel by rubber, giving the bat a whip effect when you swing it. Others use a double wall barrel with a thin layer of superball like rubber between an inner barrel and an outer barrel. Some use pressure of a lighter then air gas to lighten the feel of the bat but get more trampoline effect. Almost all of these bats use a rubber end cap that will give when the ball impacts the barrel causing the pressure to increase inside. Then the barrel expands back to normal causing the ball to “jump” off the barrel. This is done by placing an end cap that has a measured amount of resistance to the compression of the barrel when impacting a ball that will push the barrel walls back to normal shape. In order to get more trampoline effect, some companies have tried to find a way to make the single walled barrels thinner so they can get the barrel to compress easier and respond back quicker.

All of these factors and many more have caused quite a stir about unsafe bats that have brought on many regulations. Safety guidelines were established to keep the playing field safer in many ways and we have a regulatory organization to issue standards and enforce safety levels. Have you ever heard of a broken aluminum bat? Yes, it has happened. I’ve seen end caps blow off at impact. Barrels of bats crack and fragments of aluminum fly off during a swing. Many more incidences have been documented forcing the governing bodies to come up with a set of standards to keep everyone safe. A standard of measurement of the trampoline effect has been put in place and bats are to comply with the Bat Performance Level (B.P.F.) measuring 1.20.

All of these ideas are in place to make the bat more compatible to the players swing and keep the bats within the standards. Most bat companies have decided girls need a bat with a drop weight between –9 to –11. This number is the relationship of the weight of the bat to its length. Example of a drop –10 would mean a 34-inch bat’s overall weight would be 24 oz. However, my research has not been able turn up any information to suggest a girl must use a drop weight bat. As a matter of fact, the only limit I could find is fastpitch softball bats cannot exceed 34 inches in length and cannot exceed 38oz. in weight.

Types of Bats

Wooden bats are still made but seldom used in fastpitch softball. After some careful research, I’ve found some conflicting information. Wooden bats are not allowed in OHSAA softball. The ruling committee didn’t know until last week they had a rules conflict on wooden bats. They have ruled wooden bats to be a safety threat and no longer sanction them for use. With this ruling, I see no need to continue researching wood as an option.

The most popular is the man made aluminum bats. Aluminum is a light material and gives companies many options in the construction of a bat. One of these many options is the ability to strategically distribute the weight across the length of a bat as well as allowing them to “load” the barrel of a bat. Loading a bat can consist of many procedures including the pressurization of the barrel to give the bat more “pop.” Aluminum bats are now more sophisticated with refined aluminum that can be pressed thinner for the barrel area but still stand up to the everyday use. Some bats are now being strengthened by adding alloys such as scandium or blended with composite materials to add strength and allowing for more variations of the overall weight and performance of the bat.

The last kind of material we will consider will be the composite bats that are the current rage. Composite bats are made of many different materials including carbon fiber, fiberglass, and graphite. These materials are light and have very high trampoline effect numbers allowing bat companies to produce the “ultimate superbat.” These bats are relatively easy to make and have a lot of leeway when it comes to the overall performance issue. The purity of the materials and the construction of the bat are not as critical as the construction of an aluminum bat to get the same performance numbers. Unfortunately, these bats have 2 flaws. The materials are more expensive and the ability to exceed the B.P.F. level is much easier.

Because the same measurement on aluminum bats isn’t as true a test result on these types of man made bats, they have had a chance to slip through the testing with a higher trampoline effect. One of the traits reported on composite bats are the B.P.F. of the bat gets higher after it’s been put to use. This allowed these bats to pass the testing when new. Most sanctioning bodies are now aware of this and have rendered the bats “unapproved” starting in 2004. More testing can be expected in the future and we may see some aluminum bats join this list very soon.

Final Analysis

Now that you have another headache reading about the different kinds of bats manufactured, it’s time to make a decision on the type of bat to use to get the most out of your swing. This decision won’t be as easy as the weight issue. There are variables to consider.

Although the composite bats appear to have an edge when it comes to performance, they have their downfalls for the player. Composite bats have a smaller sweet spot, more like a wooden bat, then the aluminum bats on the market. The sweet spot is the area on the barrel of the bat where the most power can be transmitted to the opposing force (the ball). Much like a wooden bat, a composite bat has a sweet spot that is approximately 4-5 inches long on the barrel. Another factor to consider is composite bats that have been tested and meet the B.P.F. factor don’t necessarily hold up well, especially when used in cooler temperatures. Many of these bats are made to use in temperatures above 70 degrees and when used in cooler temperatures may not be as effective as claimed and may begin to break apart or have soft spots develop. That’s why bat warmers are now on the market to heat the bats.

Aluminum bats have a larger sweet spot making them a more versatile bat. The sweet spot can be increased to be the full length of the barrel. This allows the bat to be easier to use to get the most punch for the money. These bats are more reliable overall and can be very functional over a larger spectrum of temperatures. Aluminum bats can be found with a larger scale of weights and lengths for the individual to choose from.

The final analysis I have on this matter has a twist that may interest you. I feel if you are an experienced player and have a masterful swing, you can utilize the technology available in a composite bat. Some of these bats are still legal to use and readily available. On the other hand, if you are an intermediate player or have a borderline swing, you might be better off with an aluminum bat. These are more forgiving and are offered with a wide variety of weights, lengths, and other bits of technology to give them as much punch for the dollar that’s on the market.

My personal favorite is a compromise. On the market and legal to use for 2004 are bats that combine aluminum with composite materials that may give you the best of both worlds. The only hang-up to these bats is the performance level in cooler temperatures. With some reasonable care, these combination bats may be the most versatile bats with homerun punch on the market today. Again, the choice is yours and the performance is only as good as the confidence you have in the equipment you use.

Friday, October 31
What Bat Weight Should I be Using???

Bat Weight, Swing Speed, and Ball Velocity

A ball player is looking for a new bat. Having decided on a certain length the player discovers that in addition to the choices of materials (wood, aluminum, or composite), and the various technologies (Vibration Reduction System, Nitrogen bladders, piezoelectric shock absorbers, double walled barrels, composite materials) there is also a wide selection of bat weights.

I'll deal with the issues of wood bats, metal-vs-wood, and composite-vs-aluminum at another time. For now, let's assume that the material from which the bat is made does not matter, and focus solely on the issue of bat weight. Which would be better: a heavy bat, which packs more punch or a lighter bat, which a young player can swing easier? We might start by answering whether professional players use heavy or light bats.

The answer to that question is "both," though past players tend to have used heavier bats than do today's players. Baseball's "king of swat" Babe Ruth reportedly began his hitting career using a 54-ounce (1.5 kg) hickory bat, and is known to have used a 40oz bat in 1927 when he hit his 60 home runs. Ty Cobb and Joe Di Maggio both played with 42oz bats and Rogers Hornsby used a 50oz piece of lumber. George Sisler, playing for the St. Louis Browns in the 1920's, made his bat heavier by hammering Victrola needles into the barrel of his bat. In the 1950’s, Cincinnati Reds' Ted Kluszeski hammered ten-penny nails into his bat to make it heavier.
Reports that Roger Maris participated in a 1962 experiment in which he batted for distance with 5 different new bats whose weights varied from 33 to 47oz. He hit 5 long fly balls with each bat and the distances were measured and correlated to bat weight. The heavier bats, on average, resulted in further distance. However, Maris' preferred bat (which he used to break Babe Ruth's home run record) was the lightest of the set, even though it produced the shortest distance fly balls. Mark McGwire used a 35oz bat to hit his 70 home runs in 1998, and Barry Bonds used a 32oz bat to hit his 73 home runs in 2001. Most of to day's major league players typically use 31-35oz bats.
This brings us back to our original questions: which is better: heavier or lighter bats? So, what is the optimum bat weight, and what criteria influence this choice? Let's start by looking at the collision between ball and bat.

Collisions and the Conservation of Momentum

The impact between bat and ball is a collision between two objects, and in its simplest analysis, the collision may be taken to occur in one-dimension. In reality, most collisions between bat and ball are glancing collisions, which require a two-dimensional analysis. It turns out, in fact, that a glancing blow is necessary to impart spin to the ball, which allows it to travel farther. Maybe I'll write about this more interesting, but more difficult problem later, but for right now, I'll keep things simple and look at the collision in one-dimension only.
The ball, m l' and bat, m2' both have initial velocities before the collision, with the ball's velocity being negative. After the collision, both bat and ball have positive velocities. The before and after velocities and the masses of bat and ball may be related to each other through the physical relationship known as the conservation of linear momentum. mI VIb + m2v2b = mI VIa + m2V2a

Linear momentum is the product of the mass and velocity of an object, p=mv. If the net force acting on a system of objects is zero then the total momentum of the system is constant. While the bat and ball are in contact, the player is exerting a force on the bat; the force needed to swing the bat. So, in a completely correct analysis, momentum is not constant because of this force exerted by the player swinging the bat. However, the force on the bat by the player is very much smaller than the force between bat and ball during the collision, and the contact time between ball and bat is very short (less than 1 millisecond). This allows us to ignore the force on the bat by the player during the collision between ball and bat without significantly affecting our results. If we ignore the force by the player on the bat, we can express the conservation of linear momentum by setting the total momentum before the collision equal to the total momentum after the collision.

The coefficient of restitution of a baseball or softball decreases with increasing incoming ball speed (vlb). Modern baseballs are manufactured to have a coefficient of restitution of 0.55 for a 90mph pitch speed, while softballs are manufactured to have e=0.44 for pitch speeds of 60 mph. Assuming a constant pitch speed, we can combine two equations above and do a little algebra to solve for the velocity of the baseball after the collision:

- (ml - em2 )Vlb + (m2 + em2) 1I7b
Vla - ,..-~ - ~. -- .- ml +~

This equation tells us how the batted ball velocity (vla) depends on the mass of the ball (ml) and bat (m2)' the elasticity of the ball (e), the pitched ball speed (vlb) and the bat swing speed (v2b)' The properties of the ball may be treated as constants since they don't change during a turn at bat. The hitter has no control over the pitched ball speed, and while it may vary considerably from pitch to pitch we'll assume that it is a constant, The only two remaining variables which determine the final velocity of the ball are the mass of the bat, m2 and the initial speed of the bat, v2b' If we know these two parameters, we can predict the batted ball speed, As we will see, however, the problem is complicated somewhat by the fact that the speed with which a player can swing a bat depends on the weight of the bat.

To see the effects of bat weight and bat speed, here is a summary of an experiment in which the ball mass, pitch speed, and bat swing speed were all kept constant. Only the bat mass was changed. The data shows that a heavier bat produces a faster batted ball speed. This makes intuitive sense since a heavier bat brings more momentum into the collision. Doubling the mass of the bat results in an increase of almost 12mph. So, using a heavier bat should result in faster hit balls, which means the hit ball will travel farther. If a player can maintain the same bat swing speed with a heavier bat, the heavier bat will produce higher batted ball velocity and an increase in distance.

But, any player who has experimented swinging bats with widely different weights knows that it is easier to swing a light bat than a heavier bat. Put another way, it takes more effort to swing a heavy bat with the same speed as it does a lighter bat, and most players cannot swing a heavy bat as quickly as they can a bat which is half the weight. So, we need to see how the batted ball speed depends on bat swing speed.

Bat Weight--------------------------Batted Ball Velocity      





The data below shows that a faster bat swing produces a faster batted ball speed. Doubling the swing speed of the bat results in an increase of almost 22mph. So, it would seem that swinging the same bat faster is more beneficial than swinging a heavier bat at the same speed. Ideally, the best result would be to swing a heavier bat faster. But, as I already stated, it is harder to swing a heavier bat with the same speed, let alone swing a heavier bat faster.

Bat Swing Speed----------Batted Ball Velocity
(Using a 30oz. bat against a 50mph pitched softball)





So, it looks like we have two different effects (increasing bat weight and increasing bat swing speed) which both result in faster batted ball speeds. However, it does not seem possible to get both effects at the same time. In fact, increasing bat weight might decrease bat swing speed. So, we need to see how these two parameters are related before we can answer the question "what is the final batted ball speed?”

Anyone who has swung a bat knows that it is easier to swing a lighter bat than it is to swing a heavier bat. More importantly, it is possible to swing a lighter bat faster than a heavier bat. Exactly how the bat swing speed is related to bat weight for a given player is a little harder to determine. Terry Bahill, well known physics teacher and author, and his colleagues have extensively studied the relationship between bat swing speeds and bat weights for a wide variety of players. Bahill developed the Bat Chooser 1M machine to measure bat swing speed, and uses the results to determine the Ideal Bat Weight 1M for an individual player. This device has been successfully used by numerous players who have greatly increased their batting averages after correctly choosing an appropriate weight bat, as well as by several college teams who have gone on to win championships after finding their correct bat weights. His data shows definitively that players cannot swing heavy bats as quickly as they can lighter bats, and the details vary somewhat from player to player and vary more considerably depending on the technical playing ability of the individual.

Rules of Thumb for Recommended Bat Weights

The Bat Chooser TM machine was used to determine the Ideal Bat Weight for a specific player. The data proves the point that bat weight affects both swing speed and batted ball velocity. But, how does an amateur player, without access to this machine, estimate his/her optimum (or ideal) bat weight in order to get the best-batted ball speed and still maintain control over the bat? Using the results of a large database of measurements from the Bat Chooser instrument, Bahill and his colleagues have come up with up set of basic rules of thumb which can help any player estimate the recommended bat weight he or she should be using in order to obtain the highest performance possible. Take the following equation and after getting your answer, subtract 10-12.5% to get the final weight you should be able to control.

FASTPITCH SOFTBALL--Take your height in inches and devide by 7, then add 20 equals a weight of bat in ounces. Then subtract 10-12.5% from that number to get your final answer. Example: 64 inches(5'4") devided by 7 = 9.14 + 20 = 29.14 - (2.91-3.64) = 26-25 ounce bat.

So Which Bat Should I Use?

After getting a headache reading all this information it’s time to make a decision. The bottom line is to find a bat you can:
1. Swing as fast and as big as you can control

2. Carries as much weight as you can handle

3. Will give you an opportunity to keep your reaction time at its peak

In my opinion for high school and most summer teams, most girls can swing a heavier bat that will produce more energy and in some cases help level out the plane of the swing, which will aid in control. Many girls swing a bat so light they give up control. Their swing becomes wild and influences their timing. Example: Shelby’s swing wasn’t hard but quick, causing her to hit the ball off the end of the bat like a cue stick. To fix this problem I suggested a heavier bat to slow her reaction time at the beginning of her swing. She was reacting too quick and needed an anchor. Her swing may have been a little slower overall but the ball was hit just as hard because she was swinging a heavier bat.

Most girls should have access to 2 bats. I would recommend both be the same brand and model. 1 should be lighter and 1 heavier. This way you can adjust to the pitcher and make a decision at the game, which bat to use. Because they will be the same kind of bat, the adjustment will be at a minimum. If you face a pure fastball pitcher with a working change-up, use the heavier bat and time her. If you face a pitcher that has a curve, riser, drop, or anything else and can throw these pitches on command, use the lighter—probably shorter bat to gain swing reaction to catch up to her pitches.

With the above chart you will find the average girl, standing 64-68 inches tall should be able to effectively use a 24-27oz. bat. This will have most girls swinging a 34-inch long bat, the standard for fastpitch softball, but remember to consider control. Having a 32-33 inch long bat in a lighter weight can come in handy at times. The final choice is yours and the results will come from your confidence in the equipment you’ll be using. DaBoss

Thursday, November 8

In an order to keep things affordable for everyone, I have put together some options that may be attractive to your needs. The first thing you should know is the first lesson is free! Let’s spend the first time getting to know each other and give me a chance to explain the fundamentals I teach. If you decide this isn’t something you’d like to do, you’re not out any money for the effort.


Option 1 is lessons on a per-lesson basis and will be $20 per student but wait -- there’s more. If there are sisters wanting lessons, the fee will be dropped to $10 for an additional student and $5 for each sister over 2. This can get your whole family involved at a great bargain to you. I don’t want sisters to be left out for financial reasons. If there are circumstances that may limit your participation, talk to me and we will work things out.


Option 2 opens the door to even greater savings. For $80 a month per student, paid in advance, you can schedule time slots to pitch with me up to 8 times during the month. The more times you come, the cheaper the per-lesson rate. If you schedule and attend 8 times your lesson fee is only $10 a visit. Cancellations due to injury or sickness will of course be taken in to consideration and a prorated reimbursement will be made to you if you cannot attend at least 4 times during the month.


Option 3 is for 2 sisters that want to take advantage of the pay in advance per month option and will only cost a family $120 a month. This allows 2 sisters to come 8 times each, or a total of 16 lessons, for a fee of $7.50 per lesson! It doesn’t get any better than that! Families with more than 2 sisters can consult me on a greater savings to utilize this option.


All options will require you to schedule your class session in advance. You may call the same day to see if I have an open time slot, but there are only so many hours in a day we can work with. It’s to your advantage to schedule early or better yet, sign up for a regular time slot every week. All fees will be collected before the lesson will begin.


Call now to schedule a time and date to get started.

 Group rate options are also available. Call me for more details at 937-462-8812 and if I’m not home, leave a message and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Monday, June 16
There's more to coaching than the line up!!!

While watching a 16u team participating recently in a local tournament, there were some very obvious mistakes being made by a team that will remain nameless, that got me thinking, “how could it have come to this?” The team in question was very lethargic in their play, especially with runners on base. I saw a classic weakness that is a negative impact on any program. I felt the need to point out some traits that develop in to bad habits, which a few girls will allow to become routine, and ruin the summer for an entire team. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes contagious.

There’s some truth to the saying “One bad apple can spoil the whole basket” (author unknown) and depending on the age group, removing those apples may be the only way to save the batch. At the younger levels of travel ball, many true coaches will work to improve an attitude when they see the athletic ability in a kid with a limited attention span or negative demeanor. Coaches are not super heroes but most will make an effort to change a child, basically reprogram a child’s personality, through positive reinforcement and demonstration.

The real problem is in the older age groups. When a child still displays the mentioned characteristics, is combative, or shows disregard to the team effort, there is very little time to change that person for the better. You only have a limited amount of opportunities with older kids because the season is normally shorter, plus other activities may keep your problem player from attending every team function you have. It never fails, it seems the kid that needs the most attention is the one that’s missing the most. This normally leaves most coaches bitter and sensitive to anything the child does that’s less than spectacular. As a coach, moments like this test our ability to stay calm.

I hate to give up on a player, but the priorities of a team effort need to be the main focal point. You cannot risk contamination. If you have a player that’s socially popular with the other kids, but is your problem with a lazy attitude or worse, you owe your allegiance to the masses to remove that apple or your summer will be a lost effort. The learning curve will be compromised for the entire team and the program’s credibility will be questioned. I’ve always said a kid could have all-state ability but she’ll never play for me unless she has a totally committed attitude. There’s no room for being disrespectful, selfishness, or play without enthusiasm.

As a coach, I feel you need to determine the reason behind the bad apple’s attitude. It could be something you can repair quickly and with careful handling you can save your summer season. Ask the question “why is she acting this way” and analyze the problems to find a common denominator.

The following are examples of real-life players I’ve had in the past. See if you recognize any of the symptoms as something you may have experienced but misunderstood:

If she shows little effort defensively, could the reason be she doesn’t catch well so she gives the appearance she couldn’t get to it. Girls don’t want to look bad, especially older girls that may be behind in the learning curve from their friends on the team. One way to hide her limited fielding ability would be to never field the ball. If she never tries to catch it, she’ll never look silly if she misses or has to throw it. They may be fine during a practice when there's no pressure, but fear they will fail when they get put into a situation where they cannot lay blame on another. If they make a mistake during practice they'll downplay the situation that it's just practice. This all sounds so stupid but these are desperate souls with a warped sense of reason. If she can’t hit and strikes out a lot, especially with runners on base, returns to the dugout with an attitude, it may be she’s afraid to swing the bat, or fear of letting her team down while having an opportunity to contribute. By deciding to take a called third strike, she can argue the umpire was the reason for her failure.

People like this become defensive and blame others. The older they get, the harder it is to overcome. They bask in the glory of the true team players while inside they have a short-lived sense of relief because they have escaped again without being found out. As a coach, it is important to find the reason behind the true nature of the behavior so you can repair her. You may determine she’s like an addict in a downward spiral and won’t accept help until she hits bottom. In that case, you’ll have no other choice but to gracefully admit her agenda with the team is different then the agenda the program is trying to convey. It would be in everyone’s best interest to cut ties with each other and return the family their money.

If you recognize these symptoms as the reason for her play, confront her with your suspicions and offer to work on her game. It won’t be easy for her to admit, but if she’s willing to work to improve the basics of catch ball, throw ball, hit ball, she may have a future in the game as an individual and as a team player. For the ones that want help, you’ll see a change in attitude and enthusiasm. I’ve seen girls overcome this and become team leaders. Remember, many times the same kids are socially popular so when their game improves, they’ll encourage others around them.

Two factors needed to begin the healing are willpower and commitment. Can this kid accept she lacks skills and confidence in herself, or possibly has some fundamental weaknesses that need to be improved? Will she be combative and refuse to recognize her flaws? If the player remains in denial, cut your losses before this attitude contaminates the team effort. Work with a kid that’s willing to change as long as she stays determined to improve. She’ll be a better person on and off the field by your efforts. Don’t diagnose a problem, confront the child, and then choose a path that won’t allow enough time to help her repair things. Once you commit, you need to stay on course and be supportive. If the kid shows interest at the moment but never follows through, cut ties with any con artists and move on with the rest of the team.
You can’t tell parents how to raise their kids and odds are you’ll never be able to save them all—no matter how hard you try.

Remember, coaching is more than a win-loss record.

Sunday, July 6
There's more to coaching then the line up! (part two)

With rainy days and a muddy field weekend coming to a conclusion, I had a recent conversation with a coach that had spent the weekend away from home in a motel, waiting out mother nature so his team could do the obvious. During our conversation, I asked the coach what they had been doing for 2 days and was shocked at his response. He mentioned the indoor pool, the game room, shopping, and a movie. At no time did he mention what was obvious to me, why didn’t they practice? The inexperience of the coach came through as he stammered to try and explain why he hadn’t taken advantage of a captive audience and put in some extremely valuable classroom time with the kids. All I could say was “there’s more to coaching then the line up.”


When you coach a travel team, you wear many hats and teacher as well as entertainment director are two of the many overlooked jobs a head coach needs to consider. Here you are, miles from home, and the soul purpose for being there is to follow you on a field of competition. You have entire families looking at you with a “what do we do now” look and it’s up to you to find ways to keep them calm while not losing sight of the original mission. A quick meeting of the minds with favorite mothers and/or fathers while scanning the other opportunities in the local area can keep the team structure in tact. Some times, you simply need to think quickly on your feet and try to salvage things before the ship sinks.


Sure, somebody needs to plan possible team meals, a movie might be nice, but don’t let a chance to have some quality classroom time escape. Most teams need this down time to get to a blackboard and seldom have a chance with the hectic weekend schedules we face. Plan some team time to really focus on coverage’s and discuss past mistakes that can be eliminated. Hash old plays, especially plays that went sour, and drive home the need to improve from the experience. You can have a couple of classroom sessions throughout the day the kids can plan and expect. Time goes by quicker if there is an appearance of purpose to the mission. Quality programs find ways to squeeze a little extra from the down time we all dread so much. Have a contingency plan available and the shock value will be minimized.


Another good thing would be to encourage parents to attend some of the sessions. What a great time to answers questions and possibly teach them more about the game. They seldom ever get to see any of the strategy sessions, especially if their child is getting her instruction from her high school coach. Take the time to educate the adults and find ways to encourage them to be more active at home to make sure the kids practice away from the team atmosphere by challenging them mentally on the game.


Play some games that are softball related, possibly having a competition with the players against their parents. What a great time for the kids to show some true knowledge of the game by quizzing them in a contest against their parents.


Find a place to work on bunting and short game skills. Perhaps an area large enough for a heated whiffleball game. Get the stick out or a bag of beans and work on the swing on some girls that are in a hitting slump while keeping your good hitters sharp. Perhaps the diamonds are muddy but a grass area can be found for live hitting practice. Fielding skills can be kept sharp as well.


These suggestions don’t have to fill an entire day, but you can, as entertainment director, plan a schedule out that will give the trip purpose. There’s little that will “dampen” the spirits of a team then to have them spend a complete weekend with nothing to show for it but out-of-pocket expenses for their effort. You are in charge. You must find a way to make your time count.

 Remember, there’s more to coaching then the line up.


Sunday, February 6

Here is a hyperlink to help you find the schools and ball games this school season. This link will be able to get you directions, phone numbers, and a printable map to any school in the state of Ohio. What a great tool to use and it's free! Simply click on the words SCHOOL MAPS above or click on the high school maps icon.

Remember, this website will give you directions to the schools but in some cases the diamonds may not be at the school. Included with the directions and map are phone numbers to the school to call and confirm the location of the game you are looking for.

Good luck to everyone and have a super spring season!

marty McDaniel
Marty McDaniel, pitching coach for U. of Tenn.
Thursday, February 7
NCAA Clearinghouse

Click on the heading on this article for a hyperlink to the NCAA Clearinghouse for Student Athletes wishing to play sports in college. Any junior, soon to be or already senior in high school, needs to register with the NCAA to be eligible for recruitment to play Div. 1 or 2. This is also a great list to use for exposure because many Div. 3 colleges monitor the list of names along with all the big schools. The cost is cheap and the time to register can be very beneficial.

If you have any questions, contact me and I'll attempt to answer them for you.

sara pauley
Sara Pauley - 2006 Pro Fastpitch "Player of the Year"
Tuesday, March 20

A few people have talked to me recently and have raised the question about "when to get ready to contact colleges about playing softball?" The fact is, haven't you done this already? Colleges seldom go beating down doors to recruit players like in the movies. Only very short lists of players like Jennie Finch experience the competition of recruitment. These are the blue chip players in great demand. The rest of American colleges are fielding their teams by players that have all “the right stuff” and meet their   requirements. The players I’m referring to get noticed because they make an effort to market themselves.

That's right, you need to sell yourself and your abilities. Travel teams have done all they can to put players out there to be noticed. I will keep this website updated regularly for college coaches to browse. Yes, they do that more then you think. They gather player information after seeing which travel teams, or in this case notable training facilities and teachers, are making a statement in tournaments around the country. As I work with girls that are displaying real talent for the game, at the parents request, I’ll promote that player with information while they compete with their school or travel team. Information should also be available on sanctioning organization websites that your travel team should be updating with stats. For the girls I train, I will offer letters of recommendation to mail to any college programs you may be interested in, as long as we discuss and agree you have the ability to play at that level. I have personally talked to coaches and given names of girls in the past and will continue this practice as long as the parents give permission beforehand.

Colleges seldom take the initiative to call you. They might put you on a mailing list to see if you'll respond. For older girls, do you remember seeing any of that 3rd class (junk) mail from schools coming to you at home? This was a first effort for a college to see if you are interested. You need to look at this mail when it arrives. The rules for contact have changed recently and NCAA has different policies than NAIA schools. However, you should initiate contact and ask questions. Don't wait till July before your senior year in school. Waiting will probably reduce your chances of a scholarship by 50%. That's right, colleges have an idea about their recruitment season by July.

Colleges are interested in more than talent. Coaches are looking for players that will mirror their program in a good light. The better your grades, the higher the ACT and SAT scores, and a background in leadership ability, goes a long way in recruitment. There are good athletes out there that never get looked at because of their grades or their attitude. I cannot help you with your grades, but the methods I teach to play with dignity, composer, and good sportsmanship goes a long way towards getting you noticed. The rest is up to you.

Make sure you keep a copy of your stats. Keep both school and travel ball stuff. Keep it separate so coaches can see the different times of the year and the talent level you faced. I suggest you keep your own scorebook. Double-check your book with the team book after every game to see you have it scored as accurate as you can. Don't fudge your stats and get caught in a lie. Coaches respect honesty as much as an extra 50 points on your batting average.

Film your games as much as possible. This can get expensive but is necessary. You'll want to edit these films later and put together videotape with the highlights for the year. Normally after editing your season, you should have 5-15 minutes of you at your best. Do this for every season you can so coaches can see how you have progressed. A strong learning curve may give coaches an indication you will peak while playing for them for 4 years.

Don't discount playing for a 2-year community college. If your grades are suspect, this might be a great option to improve your worth to a 4-year school. Some 2-year schools work hand in hand with big school programs just for this purpose. You can play for them while you work to improve your grade status to become eligible for the big show. This is something that has been practiced in basketball by men's programs for years and is widely used by the women in softball now.

Start keeping a log of any awards you receive. You will need to put together a "portfolio" to offer colleges to see. If you get something from a college---read it and return the card inside or respond to it. This is the first move to open the door for recruitment. Don't just throw stuff away unless you have made up your mind you'll only attend certain schools. If this is the case, go to that school's website and research their team. Write a letter to the softball coach and express your interest. The letter should contain all the pertinent information you have on yourself and make sure your return address and phone number is easily visible on the letter. Make sure you include your class rank, ACT, and SAT scores if available. If you score low, tell them you are taking them over as soon as the tests are available and try to improve. Colleges are looking for players with at least a 3.0 grade average, ranked in the top 25% of your class, and a ACT score about 20 or higher. Some schools will bend if you really look like you will fit their program. Don’t give up hope.

Keep the letter one page, type it out so it's easy to read, and sign it. You'll be surprised at what happens next. Make sure you join the NCAA Clearinghouse list of eligible athletes for recruitment. Simply do a search for NCAA and after locating their website, they will walk you through it. There is a fee of $35 but well worth it.

This sounds like a lot of work. How bad do you want to play at the next level? High schools some times recommend a private recruitment company to market you to colleges. Some of these are great while others are scams. If you decide to use one of these companies, research them well before spending 700-3000 dollars for their services. Keep in mind; even if you hire them, you still need to do all the stuff above so you can supply them with the information needed to find you a school.

I hope this answers some questions you may have. Nobody said growing up would be easy. You can make the trip easier on yourself by getting organized and starting to plan your future now.

Good luck and good hunting.

Go All Out!!!

Monday, August 27

Recently, I attended the inaugural seminar by the IFPA that was started by Ernie Parker and friends to certify instructors in the art of pitching. In this class, everyone was taught pitching techniques used today to insure a safe method of movement to reduce the risk of injury.

 I'm happy to announce I have passed this class so I can provide quality instruction to players of all ages. Contact me at: if you are interested in private lessons or if you would like a group clinic to be held at your location.

Here is a picture of Ernie Parker and myself after many grueling hours in the class.


Saturday, November 15

As you know, there are many different gloves for the different positions on the field. A good fitting glove can help a player a tremendous amount. Old broken down gloves are more difficult to use and become reliability factors. Everyone loves his or her glove, I love mine, but sometimes you’ve got to give it up for something new and better. When the strings start breaking and the palm has been smashed flat as a pancake, put the ole girl on the mantle, bronze it, or throw it in the trash. Fastpitch softball is big business now with companies making fastpitch gloves for both women and men. These gloves are made for softball with larger pocket areas and many are almost completely broken in for use. With a minimum amount of care, these gloves can last a long time. The newer softball gloves for girls have additional padding in the palm. They have also constructed the gloves to fit girls finger size and length different from a men’s glove. If you haven’t purchased a new glove in the past 5 years, you would be advised to go shopping soon.

The new gloves are very affordable and many companies offer a quality glove in a price range between 60-200 dollars. All have some quality features and most are back to using real leather. Don’t mess with the artificial leather or synthetic gloves. They just don’t hold up to everyday play. On the other hand, the gloves that are made with a combination of real leathers such as kangaroo skin are great to have. Kangaroo is very durable leather but much lighter then cow skin. This can help lighten the weight of a catcher’s mitt or first basemen’s glove without giving up any quality.

The size of glove is a personal issue and really depends on the position played and the size of your hand. For most girls 13 years old or more, a good utility glove is probably your best bet. 12 ½ to 13 inches is my advise for a glove. A 12 inch or less glove for younger girls is fine, especially if they play an infield position where getting the ball out quick to make a play is beneficial. Many older infielders may want to use a smaller glove for this reason but most of the time the girls talent level isn’t far enough along and the sting of the ball will hinder their performance more then the availability to get the ball out of the pocket quicker. A good 12 ½ to 13-inch glove can be used for almost every position including outfield. Some full time outfielders prefer a larger glove, from 13 to 14 inch in size. This is fine if you break it in to fit your hand but not a practical choice as a utility glove unless you have exceptionally large hands.

First basemen’s gloves are making a comeback in fastpitch for girls. Girls are getting stronger and throwing harder now. With the first baseman being involved in many of the plays on the field today, I think a good first baseman’s glove can be in order. Some of these girl’s can really bring it.

Catcher’s mitts have made a change for girls. These new gloves have more of a first baseman’s glove features to make them easier to use. This allows a catcher an opportunity to get the ball out of the pocket easier and quicker to make a throw. Don’t be afraid of these new mitts. As well as with all the other gloves, inner gloves are available to wear with additional padding in the right spots. This is a practical solution for any girl that just can’t take the stinging of hard hit balls or throws.

Remember, you will only look like a quality player if your equipment is in good shape. Don’t take the field with a broken glove. You owe it to yourself and your teammates to be able to make a play when the time comes. Use a glove you have worked in properly and oil and repair it when needed. Don’t stand in the field having balls hit your glove and go through the web to the ground. It’s just going to make you look bad.

Good Glove--Great Effort