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Craig Nicholson Coaching 6-Pack

Craig Nicholson Coaching 6-Pack

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Open Practice: Situational Defense and Baserunning

with Craig Nicholson, Arizona State University Head Coach; former Ball State University Head Coach; 3x MAC Champions, 3x MAC Coach of the Year

Arizona State Head Softball Coach, Craig Nicholson, opens the door to two "live" practices, as his team prepares for the offensive and defensive situations softball teams face on game day. This video includes live situational hitting, team defense and baserunning as well as strength and conditioning training that will improve every player's ability to perform at a higher level.

Practice Overview
Coach Nicholson begins by discussing his philosophy on practice and how it changes throughout the season. He divides the year into pre-season, conference and post-season practices, highlighting goals and objectives for each segment. He also explains how he uses video to prepare his players for upcoming opponents and to analyze their own performances.

Practice 1: Weights
The Sun Devil practice opens with a look into the weight room. Weight room work will enhance two important softball skills - strength and agility - and it can help prevent injury. Coach Nicholson's team progresses through weightlifting stations, agility stations and sprinting stations. This segment offers 29 position-specific exercises!

Practice 1: Situational Play
Although batters are hitting live pitches during these situational practices, the focus is mainly on the defense and baserunners. The team practices four different situations. They make live reads and react accordingly. Wrapping up the practice, Coach Nicholson talks to the team about the importance of communication and when to communicate.

Practice 2: Weights
Since the team usually plays a midweek game, this workout is a lighter version of the previous one. The workout begins with an activation mobility circuit and continues with core work and plyometrics. Overall, more than 20 exercises designed to develop strength and agility are included.

Practice 2: Short Game and Situational Play
Coach Nicholson works on two alignments for defending against the short game, explaining the thought processes and strategies behind each one. The team then works on three defensive scenarios that were not covered in the first practice. Coach Nicholson explains when and why they make specific defensive plays and decisions. He also explains how players can run the bases to put maximum pressure on the opposing defense.

Take this unique opportunity to see how a Division I program uses strategy, communication, baserunning, and strength and agility training to improve their team and achieve success. 144 minutes. 2014.

Open Practice: Infield and Outfield Drills

with Craig Nicholson, Arizona State University Head Coach; former Ball State University Head Coach; 3x MAC Champions, 3x MAC Coach of the Year
and Katie Schroeder, Arizona State University Assistant Coach; 2x All-American, and four-year starter in center field at UCLA

Go on the field for two live practices with Arizona State Head Softball Coach Craig Nicholson. Get an up-close look at drills you can to prepare infielders and outfielders for game day. Coach Nicholson develops his infielders' footwork, teaching them to field the ball on any hop, while assistant coach Katie Schroeder works with the outfielders on fly balls.

Practice 1: Infield Drills
Good footwork is especially important to infielders whose feet put their bodies and hands in a position to make plays. The segment begins with an "every day" progression of ground ball drills. Coach Nicholson feeds balls directly at each player, gradually increasing the range to each side. These drills, which allow the coach to monitor and help players with their footwork, teach infielders to read the ball and get comfortable in their positions.

Practice 1: Outfield Drills
The outfielders execute three drills. They begin with an over-the-shoulder drill that trains the mechanics of the drop-step-and-reach, which is used to quickly and effectively get balls that are hit over players' heads. The second drill focuses on the footwork and body position of getting behind the ball, which helps create forward momentum for making strong, accurate throws back into the infield. Finally, the outfield works on fly balls hit close to the wall, training the fielders to make plays at or near the wall.

Practice 2: Infield
The second practice opens with infielders working on turning double play balls. Coach Nicholson feeds balls to the middle infielders, starting with balls hit close to the base. He gradually extends the range and works on fielders throwing from different arm angles. These drills give you a chance to work closely with your athletes and provide immediate feedback and correction to each middle infielder. The practice progresses to fungo drills, where Coach Nicholson hits different types of groundballs to all of the infielders, giving them a chance to work on their footwork and different types of throws.

Practice 2: Outfield
Assistant coach Katie Schroeder discusses the skills outfielders need to be successful. She gives coaching points on reading line drives, pumping the arms while running and making a good crow hop on throws. The practice session begins with Coach Schroeder tossing balls in front of outfielders, giving them a chance to practice shoestring catches. The outfield progresses to ground balls and fly balls, allowing them to read the ball off the bat at game-like speed.

See how to run a productive, drill-based practice, and train your fielders to be quicker to the ball and play flawless defense. 101 minutes. 2014.

A to Z Guide to Catching Mechanics and Drills

with Boo Gillette, Arizona State University Assistant Softball Coach; 3x All-Big Ten catcher at the University of Wisconsin, former Assistant Coach at Purdue and University of North Carolina

Former All -Big Ten catcher Boo Gillette delves into one of the most critical positions on the diamond - the catcher - dissecting and analyzing the skills necessary to ensure top performance. Coach Gillette covers every aspect of catching such as characteristics of a good catcher, communication with the pitcher and umpire, equipment, stance and framing, fielding bunts and plays at the plate. She also demonstrates a comprehensive progression of catching drills that her players use daily to improve fundamental skills.

Throughout the video Gillette provides a valuable mix of coaching instruction and live teaching as she coaches her players through a practice.

Basic Drills and Catching Circuit - Coach Gillette demonstrates four basic framing drills that her catchers use daily to improve their receiving skills. This challenging circuit builds strength, improves agility and reinforces basic catching fundamentals. The circuit consists of various skills like catching pitch-outs, catching foul balls, blocking, framing and making plays at the plate.

Receiving - On a borderline pitch, soft hands and good framing can be the difference between a called strike and a ball (and keep the umpire in your corner). Coach Gillette explains the essentials on how catchers set their stance and call pitches. In addition, she shares two ways to get the catcher's body to the pitch. She also discusses the strategy of setting up late, hiding the signal and how the catcher should position the glove when catching the ball.

Blocking - Effective blocking can stop runners from advancing and keep runs off the board. It gives the pitcher confidence that the catcher can knock down a pitch in any situation. Coach Gillette demonstrates the correct mechanics for blocking pitches in the dirt and to either side of the catcher. She also demonstrates how to get down to the ground quickly.

Throwing - A quick throw to the bases can prevent steals or keep runners from advancing to the next base. Coach Gillette discusses throwing from the knees and throwing from the feet. She shares footwork techniques and body positions for each, using demonstrations with a batter in the box.

Fielding and Plays at the Plate - To ensure the out, Coach Gillette demonstrates how to split the plate and shares the proper mechanics for accurately fielding a bunt down the third or first baseline. Understanding how to make plays at the plate is critical since, in these situations, the catcher is the only person standing in the way of a baserunner scoring. Coach Gillette explains how the catcher should position her body, awaiting the throw from any position on the field. She also discusses how to block the plate with either one or two knees, depending on the situation.

Boo Gillette shares her passion for catching in this "A to Z guide" to this key defensive position. Use this resource to prepare your catchers for any situation the game - or the pitcher - may throw at her. This is a must-have video for any coach at any level! 66 minutes. 2014.

A to Z Guide to Pitching Mechanics and Drills

with Boo Gillette, Arizona State University Assistant Softball Coach; 3x All-Big Ten catcher at the University of Wisconsin, former Assistant Coach at Purdue and University of North Carolina

Prepare any pitcher for game day with the drills and techniques in this comprehensive video from Arizona State assistant coach Boo Gillette. Coach Gillette explains the basic concepts of her bullpen workouts and how she develops mental toughness in the bullpen. She also shares two live bullpen workouts focusing on developing mechanically proficient and strategically prepared pitchers.

Throughout the video Gillette provides a valuable mix of coaching instruction and live teaching as she coaches her players through the workouts.

Bullpen Workout
Coach Gillette begins with an outline of her pitching bullpen workout. She explains how her pitchers "backtrack" to break down each pitch, and gives several keys from the perspective of the person catching the ball. She breaks down the pitching motion into four phases that will help the pitcher and coach identify where problems occur.

Mental Toughness
With the game on the line and the ball in her hand, a strong mental game can be the difference between a win and a loss. Mental toughness doesn't happen on its own; it's a skill that must be developed. Coach Gillette offers strategies to improve mental toughness and drills that require mental toughness to execute.

All Access Bullpen - "Pitcher Picks"
Watch a typical bullpen workout live with the Arizona State pitching staff. Day 1 is a "pitcher picks day" that lets the pitcher pick a pitch (usually her best) to work on. Coach Gillette puts the pitcher through a series of drills to breakdown the mechanics of the pitch. She offers corrections and feedback as pitchers execute each drill.

All Access Bullpen - "One-Two-Three"
This live bullpen session focuses on pitching strategy and execution. The pitchers do a "one-two-three" drill trying to throw a called strike on the first pitch and then expanding the plate and making batters chase pitches out of the zone. Coach Gillette wraps up the bullpen session by explaining what she was focusing on with each pitcher and why.

Fastball Mechanics Drills
Most advanced pitchers do not throw fastballs during a game. However, the mechanics for every pitch they throw are set up by the fastball. In this segment, Coach Gillette explains and demonstrates 25 pitching drills that can be used with not only the fastball, but with any pitch.

It is often said that pitching and defense win championships. No matter how you spin it, pitching is and will always be central to the game of softball. Order now and let Coach Boo Gillette show you how to prepare any pitcher for game day! 128 minutes. 2014.

Drills Techniques for Hitting with Power

with Craig Nicholson, Arizona State University Head Coach; former Ball State University Head Coach; 3x MAC Champions, 3x MAC Coach of the Year

Craig Nicholson's teams have consistently been some of the top hitting teams in college softball. In this video, Coach Nicholson shows you how to develop hitters who can change the game with one swing of the bat. He explains his hitting strategy and mechanics and offers several drills designed to develop a power hitter.

Strategy and MechanicsAn important component of power hitting is understanding what pitches can be hit hard and when to look for those pitches. Coach Nicholson demonstrates the mechanics of good power hitting. He explains the importance of staying inside and extending through the ball, which are critical to getting needed backspin to carry the ball.

Confidence and SituationsEven great hitters fail more times than they succeed. Confidence is a critical skill for any hitter, especially a power hitter. Understanding the process, establishing routines and developing trust will help the hitter maximize their ability. Coach Nicholson discusses typical game situations and what the hitter can do to be successful in each situation.

Power Hitting DrillsCoach Nicholson offers nine tee drills for developing good extension, staying inside the ball and using correct weight transfer. He also shows three front toss drills designed to help the hitter understand and feel how the body works. Coach Nicholson explains the purpose of doing the drills and how his hitters use them to develop the feeling of proper movement.

Contact Point and Rhythm MechanicsThe angle of contact is not as steep as many hitters think. Nicholson's philosophy is that hitters should let the ball get deeper into the zone, allowing for stronger contact. In this segment, he discusses and demonstrates the rhythm of the swing and developing consistency in the hitter's rhythm and mechanics. The hitter needs consistency for the proper sequence of body movements to occur.

It's never too soon to teach hitters how to hit for power. This video includes everything you need to teach your players how to hit for power and to develop good mechanics. 57 minutes. 2014.

Station Drills for Batting Practice

with Craig Nicholson, Arizona State University Head Coach; former Ball State University Head Coach; 3x MAC Champions, 3x MAC Coach of the Year

Prepare your hitters to dominate at the plate! In this presentation, Arizona State University Head Coach Craig Nicholson offers a blueprint for running efficient, productive batting practices.

Coach Nicholson builds his presentation around a typical day of batting practice at Arizona State. You'll see a variety of drills that will help any hitter improve both their swing and their ability to make solid contact with the ball. The drills include both live batting practice drills as well as stationary hitting drills that help reinforce key hitting components of both the top and bottom hand. These drills emphasize the key fundamentals of staying inside the ball, keeping the hands back and driving them through the ball for as long as possible.

Coach Nicholson opens with an overview of a typical batting practice, discussing elements he incorporates into almost every team practice, his philosophy on hitting and ideas for staying inside the ball and the contact point.

In terms of mechanics, Coach Nicholson stresses the importance of staying inside the ball, which helps a hitter keep the ball in fair territory.

Defenses have five infielders to stop ground balls. This presentation will show you how to hit line drives or rising line drives to get the ball out of the infield.

Double BP
Double BP, in which two batters hit live pitches on the field, is a staple in Coach Nicholson's practices. This station allows the hitters to take several live cuts, working on their timing and tracking, in addition to swing mechanics. Coach Nicholson gives batters feedback after almost every swing, noting any adjustments they should make.

Tee Drills and Cage Work
Coach Nicholson shares three drills that his hitters perform at five stations in the batting cages. These drills are designed to break down a hitter's swing, allowing them to feel the individual parts of their swing before putting it all together. Coach Nicholson explains each station and has one of his coaches give a demonstration.

Front Toss
Front toss is important because it is a more controlled swing, and the pitcher can put the ball in more specific spots that they want the hitter to work on. The hitters take several rounds of front toss while a coach offers feedback on their swings. They also perform a "contact progression drill" that allows the hitter to check themselves at certain key points in the swing and feel how their body is supposed to work.

Designed for coaches and players alike, this presentation teaches hitting circuits that reinforce great techniques for better overall results. Get the most out of the time you have to develop key fundamental hitting techniques with the instruction offered here. 82 minutes. 2014.