Sliding is fundamental to the game and should be taught by the coach so that the players are not afraid to do it and reduce the chance of getting hurt.

Speaking of getting hurt, all of your athletes should have compression shorts and a pad. The pad is worn on the tuck leg which we will talk about in a minute.

The first thing that a coach should do is to find out what is natural for the athletes to do. Have your players sit down on the ground and tuck one leg forming a figure four. The athletes will tuck the leg that is natural for them to tuck and is referred to as the tuck leg. The other leg is referred to as the thrust leg and it should be slightly flexed at the knee. This slight bend in the knee will act as a shock absorber in case they crash to hard into the base. A stiff thrust leg could lead to leg injuries. Have them lye back on their backs with the hands extended over their head. Have them lift their head off the ground and touch their chin to their chest. This provides better vision and also keeps their heads from bouncing on the ground. Now that they know what they are supposed to end up looking like at the end.

Swing on the bat

Two coaches will hold a bat about chest high. The players will take turns running between the coaches, reach up and grab the bat and swing her thrust leg out in front of her as she gently lets go of the bat and she should end up in the right position. This fun drill takes the fear away from a lot of young players.

Down the Hill

With young players, I like to teach them on a grassy hill side. Have them take a short two step run down hill. They should then start to tuck the tuck leg while thrusting the thrust leg as they lay back with their hands up and chin tucked. They will find this less intimidating after just a couple of trys. Now they can take a longer run and see how far down the hill they can go. Suddenly the kids will be having fun with it. When they are comfortable and it is still fresh in their minds, now is the time to take them on the field and practice a few into a base. They will need to work out the timing so they do not come up short of the base or pile into the base to hard.

When your players have mastered the basics, teach them to swing outside of the base they are going for. What I mean by outside is to the opposite side of the base that the tag would be coming from. This will make it a little more difficult for the fielder to apply a tag because they have to find you.

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You Are Important

The coach is the person who communicates with parents, players, umpires, other coaches and your local associations. You facilitate the team by making sure all the equipment is there when it is needed. Most important are the players. You are teaching more than the skills and strategies of fastpitch. The ability to gracefully deal with success and failure, the persistence to keep trying and the confidence that these young ladies learn from you is priceless.

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