Is money the only thing that determines which team will win? Of course not. Great players, great coaching, strategy, skill and luck all play a roll in winning fastpitch softball games. However, all things being equal, money will play a major roll in the outcome of a game. One obvious example is the team with a pitcher that is taking private pitching lessons versus a team whose pitcher is self-taught.
To be successful, the coach should set a budget at the beginning of the season that will allow for the purchase of training equipment. The coach will obviously have to gauge how much he thinks his parents can afford and then work within that figure. If money is a big issue, I strongly suggest cutting back on uniform cost. Oh my goodness, I have seen SO MANY teams that had great looking uniforms but couldn't hit the ball. Fastpitch softball uniforms can easily run in the $50 - $80 range. The uniform will NOT win any games. It is the skill level of the player in the uniform that wins games. A player can easily be outfitted for $30 and the money saved can be put towards training equipment. Just think how nice the end of season picture will look with all the players holding a First place trophy!
Each team's equipment budget will be unique for that team based on needs and resources, however $500 would go a long towards properly equipping a team. Below is a list of softball training equipment and an approximate cost to help build your team budget. The list has been put together based on the biggest "bang for the buck".
1) A protective face mask for the pitcher, $40. Safety is always first. Try to coax the league into supplying this item, however if they refuse you should prepared to cover this cost.
2) The ASA Hitting Fundamentals video, $30. If you are going to teach others, you may as well learn from the best and know what you are doing.
3) A Hitting tee, $20. A hitting allows for increased batting practice which will result in better hitters.
4) Practice balls, such as plastic balls or sponge balls, $40. I've never known a team that had too many practice balls. Plastic or sponge balls will allow the coach to make better use of his practice facility without sacrificing safety. Who needs hard softballs raining down from every angle of the field when a sponge ball will do just fine?
5) Spring loaded pitching machine, $180. This is the VERY best way to throw consistent pitches to batters in order to maximize batting practice. A pitching machine will easily double the amount of productive batting practice time.
6) A composite fast-pitch baseball bat, $170. A current model will cost an additional $100 so buy last year's model on clearance. Bats are an item where you get what you pay for. A good bat will make a difference in the win column.
7) A Coacher magnetic lineup board, $20. This is a very inexpensive item that will greatly help eliminate position and batting order mistakes.
8) A portable hitting net, $120. This will increase the efficiency of your practice area and it will allow for pre-game batting practice.
The cost of all of the items is about $620. I just couldn't resist the net. However, the top four items on the list only add up to about $130 which would translate to about $11 per player. Any team can come up with enough money to cover those items, and they would make a significant difference in a team's practices and performance on the field. Don't let $11 stand between success and failure.
For offensive and defensive fastpitch softball game strategy feel free to visit http://www.mysoftballcoach.com where topics such as defensive positioning and batting lineup strategies are covered in detail.
Also, for specific fastpitch softball equipment reviews, please see http://www.mysoftballcoach.com/softball-equipment.html. Some equipment is worth the money, other equipment is a waste of money. Budget wisely and make the most of your equipment purchases.
Go Get 'em, Coach!
About the Author:
Jim Moyer is the author of http://www.mysoftballcoach.com. Having coached over 500 youth fastpitch softball games, Jim decided to put the information online to allow parent/coaches to draw on his unique experience.