How to break-in your new glove

“This is the same process we use for our college guys and MLB guys.”

There are few things more frustrating than spending $200 – $400 on a glove and then when you get out on the field, the ball is bouncing out because you can’t close it.

We ran into Chad Meske with Mizuno who says his customers can buy their gloves and after 15 minutes of him working on the glove, it will be ready to play. As you will see, he works hard but the people who bought the gloves on the spot we’re satisfied.

Check out the video and make it work for you!

10 Things You DON’T say before the BIG TOURNAMENT

Maybe you don’t believe in a jinx, karma, hexes or other supernatural unexplained phenomenon that may guide the rules of the earth.

But here’s something we can all agree on. You don’t say “Gee, we haven’t had very many injuries this season,” Before a big tournament. Why? Maybe it was just coincidence that two players mysteriously get hurt after uttering such a statement… hypothetically.

So here are the Top Ten things Not to say before a National Championship

1.  We haven’t had many injuries this season.

2Our bats are hot.

3.  We’ve never given up a no hitter.

4.  Our pitchers hardly ever give up home runs.

5.  My kid never gets sick / injured.

6.  We’ll be fine with 11 players.

7.  It’s Southern California.  How hot can it be?

8.  We’ve cut down the errors to a minimum.

9.  My daughter has a 15 game hitting streak.

10.  I’m so glad there’s no drama on this team!

Please feel free to add any other sentences that should not be stated before a big tournament.

10 Reasons why you don’t put All-Stars on one recreational team

There’s nothing magical about being a big bully, beating up on other kids.

It happens every year in recreational leagues around the country. Someone gets the idea that it would be great if many of the All-Star Players played on one recreational team.

It would be so much fun to have all this talent on one team to dominate the league and win the regular season championship!

And there are loads of excuses too: “They’re good friends”. “They need to carpool together”. “They won’t have fun if these kids don’t play together “.

But the true motive is the same. These parents/coaches want to win every game by a lot of runs.

Here are some reasons why this is a bad idea:

1. It destroys the morale of every other team in the division. There’s nothing like running into that team that has 2 great pitchers, a great catcher, a tight infield and strong hitters to make at least one 10U team cry. Does the game look like a track meet?

2. Young players are more likely to leave the league or less likely to join after hearing about how the board allowed this to happen.

3. More skilled and developed players inspire others to work hard and play better. Playing alongside a teammate that has more experience might be the most effective way of teaching and training. Even professional and collegiate athletes benefit from having veterans around.

4. It’s a great chance for better players to learn leadership. Teams can have vocal leaders on the field. This is their chance to be that voice of confidence directing teammates as a captain.

5. The whole idea of recreational sports is to bring a community together by meeting new people, playing with new players, meeting new parents and learning to work together. Don’t prevent families from building new friendships.

6. Breaking up all-star players into different teams allows them to grow and play in different positions instead of being locked into the same one all year round. In 8U, 10U and 12U, they can still explore and try new spots on defense. Maybe a new team needs a short stop, or the corner infield positions. Maybe catcher or pitcher. This allows young players the ability to try something new and decide whether they like it or hate it.

7. All-Star players can use a break from each other and their coaches. Give the all-stars a chance to miss playing with each other. The chemistry and camaraderie will be even better once the All-Star season begins.

8. You’re not really going to leave and form your own travel team. That’s a lot more hassle and driving that you ever wanted. And if you wanted to play travel, you’d be there already.

9. It really doesn’t feel that good beating every team by a 10-run margin and finishing the Rec season undefeated. There’s nothing magical about being a big bully, beating up on other kids.

10. Grow up

For Those with a Sense of Duty

As part of our ongoing College Profile series, we talk to Bob Beretta, Interim Head Coach and Senior Associate Athletic Director at West Point.

West Point is located about 55 miles north of New York City. Beretta describes a very unique opportunity where students play softball, get an Ivy League level education and prepare for their service in the military.

Coach Lotief Sues for Retaliation, Breach of Contract, Defamation

University says his firing had nothing to do with Title IX complaints

Coach Mike Lotief has filed a lawsuit against the University of Louisiana and other leaders at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) Athletic Department for Title IX retaliation, defamation, discrimination, as well as other accusations.

A 99-page petition for damages was filed today in East Baton Rouge Louisiana.   Lotief’s attorney Jack McElligott said it took ten months to file the lawsuit because they wanted to get all the information possible.  “We worked to detail the facts in the most complete way that we could.  We’re confident in our due diligence that we have,” he said.

The suit seeks compensation for damages for failing to follow federal law protecting Lotief’s rights to register Title IX complaints.  He also accuses the defendants of not honoring his contract, defaming his personal reputation, ADA discrimination and failure to abide by his contract, among others.

It lists the defendants as the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, Dr. Joseph Savoie the President of ULL, Dr. Jessica Clark Leeger, the ULL Deputy Athletic Director, and Dr. Bryon Maggard, ULL Athletic Director.

In response to the suit, the University of Louisiana Lafayette issued a statement defending the school’s firing of Coach Lotief:

Michael Lotief’s termination was not related to gender equity claims or his disability. He was fired for:

  1. a documented physical and verbal attack of a female coworker, and
  2. use of sexually violent language toward and physical abuse of female student-athletes.

 As multiple victims came forward with complaints, a thorough investigation was conducted which revealed that Lotief subjected student-athletes and coworkers to a mentally and physically hostile environment. His reprehensible actions violated the University’s Prohibited Sexual Conduct and Violence Free Workplace policies.

Lotief’s complaint describes how leaders in the ULL Athletic Department were present at the team welcome back dinner in August 2017 and approved a bonus of $21,000 paid to Lotief on September 29, 2017.

In October, Coach Lotief complained to members of the ULL’s Athletic Department about unlawful discrimination against female athletes including:

  • The University’s refusal to provide equal medical treatment as the softball team did not have physicians specialized to their sport as the men
  • Refusal to maintain equitable playing facilities (Lotief was expected to tend to softball fields himself)
  • Refusal to hire and retain a trainer for women’s softball since May 2017
  • Refusal to hire and retain a physical trainer like men’s sports teams
  • Refusal to provide annual physical assessments like men’s sports teams
  • Refusal to allow equal access to the weight room and nutritional supplements to female student-athletes

The court document states that shortly afterwards, on October 6, 2017, Lotief was placed on Administrative Leave and locked out of his office.

The suit comes ten months after he was fired by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for allegedly subjecting student athletes to “violent, vulgar language and verbal and physical assault, creating a hostile learning and working environment.”

The petition describes one confrontation he had with an Deputy Athletic Director Nico Yantko:

“As Lotief spoke to Yantko about the severely disparate treatment of female athletics as compared to men’s athletics, Yantko became increasingly defensive and attempted to intimidate Lotief into submission by hitting Lotief in his ches with the back of his hand and moving in closer and closer towards Lotief as the conversation continued”

The suit is filed within a week of former ULL Softball players hiring a civil rights attorney to help them with their Title IX complaints against the University.    A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights stated that the department currently has “no open investigations at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette under Title IX.”






What’s changed after the new rules

The new rules for NCAA Recruiting have completely changed interactions between college coaches and many travel ball coaches when it comes to prospective student athletes.   SDSU Assistant Coach Mia Longfellow gives a little glimpse at the difficulties college coaches face when they’re interested in player.



New Rules Help Yale, Ivy League Schools

Be Realistic About Scholarships

My Transition from Travel to College Softball

Let’s Make Showcasing More Affordable

It’s imperative that we not allow parents to stress financially

We caught up with Firecrackers President Tony Rico at the 2018 Colorado Sparkler.  He’s in the process of making changes in his organization that he hopes will help the sport of softball in the future.  One of his objectives is to make it less expensive for families to showcase and develop their kid s.

For many parents, that will come as a great relief at a time when many organizations are asking for more money.  Here’s why he and some of his colleagues are moving in that direction.


Travel Ball Travel Tip: A Quick Way to Earn Free Flights

Travel Ball Eats: You had me at Churro Ice Cream Sandwich

NPF Commish on the State of the League

“If you want your sport to survive, you have to develop the world”

It’s been a dramatic off-season for the NPF, but the professional league’s 15th season is underway.  After losing two teams, Texas Charge and Scrapyard Dogs, the NPF has five teams competing for the title.  The Chicago Bandits and the USSSA Pride have been strong contenders for years.  The Akron Racers has morphed into the Cleveland Comets, which has a roster of several Chinese players.  The Shougang Eagles from Beijing, China and the Aussie Spirit from Australia round out the foreign contingency.  This season, most games will be available to watch for free on NPF TV.  Some games will also appear on ESPN+.

We spoke to NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf about the State of the League today.

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Softball Nation:   This is the 15thseason for the NPF, what is the state of the league and what are you hoping for this season?

Commissioner Kempf:  We’re celebrating the 15th season, that’s quite an accomplishment especially in women’s professional sport.  But we’re very much still in the developing stages of a professional sports league, so I think it’s really not a lot different from the way it has been every year since I’ve been the commissioner in the way that we want to continue to strengthen our partnerships.  We want to continue to increase our exposure and we’re doing that through various digital platforms and the expansion of NPF TV.   And we want to continue to increase our team expansion so we’re able to get more great players and continue our great level competition.

SN:  The Texas Charge and Scrap Yard Dogs are out of the league now.  How are you dealing with the loss of those teams?

CK:   I think it’s fair for the public perception to say that losing teams is a negative.  I would say that it’s not always a negative.  And I think that what we know is that we have to have the right people with the right vision and the right intentions and folks who want to be team players, that are involved in the development of this league.   So I will tell you that it’s not my way to look back.  It’s my way to look forward and that sometimes the public perception is exactly that.  I’m optimistic and the only thing negative that I see is just a bit of time consumption on negativity.  And I think anytime you’re spending time on negative things whatever that might be at any level, that’s not efficient and where you want to be.

SN:  The NPF added the Aussie Spirit from Australia this year.  The Shougang Eagles were added last year.  What do these international teams add to the league?

CK:   They add an international flair an international field, global coverage, global appeal to different partners.  And all of that is from the business side.   From the softball side, at its very core, it is the most dramatic addition and contribution to the survival of our sport as it sits right now.  And when I tell you that, I will tell you that you have to recognize history.  You have to understand that how successful Australia has been in the sport.  Their softball program is one of the most successful Olympic programs in Australia.  And China played for the gold medal in 1996.  Both those teams are a shadow their former selves currently because of the natural waxing and waning process that comes with the funding in their respective countries, or if they are an Olympic sport or if they are not an Olympic sport.

The only way to take away that waxing and waning is to have that professional level survive of the ability for these countries to participate because iron sharpens iron. And I think that if you don’t see that, a lot of people say that “China they’re just not strong enough,”.  Well as softball fans, that should bother us because China was a world power back in 1996 and 1992.  So if you want your sport to survive, you have to develop the world you have to care about surviving everywhere and that is represented in every major professional sport look at the major sports league what they’re doing look at the Major Leagues (MLB) in Japan.  Look at the Major Leagues in the Dominican Republic. Look at the NBA in China. That’s not just about money, it’s about securing the sport.  And the broader that coverage is the broader that participation is, the harder it is for it to go away.

SN:   There seems to be an opening in relations for NPF players to play on Team USA now and the relationship seems to have improved.  What do you think about that?

CK:  For the record there was never a restriction for NPF players to play on Team USA. There was a restriction from Team USA that started in 2010 of players playing on team USA and playing on the NPF. Somehow that restriction has gotten lost again and people don’t know the history of the sport. I’ll tell you what I think about it, is that it’s crazy. First of all we should be winning gold medals, dominate this sport as a country.  Look at our college program.  We should gold-medal every single time.  To do that, the assumption is that you should have your best players on the national team and I think that most people would agree with me that the highest level of competition has been the NPF.  So what I think of it is that it is an absurd concept that we would not operate as one that the professional level of this sport would not be cooperating with Team USA and vice versa.

I am a former team USA member, I am a former team USA coach. I believe we should win.  And I think that my position has always been, and if you look at the public record, we should always be that we are holding hands.  We should be working together. And I agree with you that it’s better and I would say further that it could still be better.

SN: We have a new draft class coming in the NPF.  They are some of the best players in the NCAA. What are your hopes for them?

CK: The future is always in the next class but I think it’s great that Kelly Kretschman is still playing and better than ever at 36 or 37 years old.  And it tells you how important the professional level is.  But the draft classes and the fact that every year we take the top talent are the college game into this league and continue to get better and continue to reach their potential.  As a teacher and trainer in the sport, I think it’s incredibly rewarding to see women reach their athletic potential.  Some of the women that are in the league have extraordinary talent, and I mean that in the true sense of the word. Their abilities are extraordinary.  It’s a very small percentage of people.  And if you don’t have a professional league you’re going to see them stop at age 20 or 21?  22 years-old they’re gonna walk away?  That’s like having a third grader walk out like they’re going to know everything they need to know in the third grade?  They haven’t even touched the surface of what they can learn.  I’m excited about the draft class I always am. But I’m excited about seeing some of these talented players continue to get better.