Weather is one of the things that we can not control. But how we react to it will say a lot about whether we are ready to play or not.
What can you do? Plenty!!
Rain: Be prepared before you get to the ball park. Have something to clean the mud out of your spikes! Rosin bags and towels so the pitcher can keep her hand dry! Expect delays! Put your equipment in the dugout so it will stay as dry as possible. Stay warm and loose while you wait. Relax! Consistently remind each other about ways that the rain can impact the game, i.e. wet grass makes the ball skid faster, ground balls slow down and stay lower, more likely to see wild pitches and passed balls.
Cold: Warm up well and stay loose. Stretch, stretch, stretch. Have rosin bags for pitchers to help with grip, hand warmers to help with grip. Don’t forget light warm gear that you can wear under your uniform and ear warmers or a toboggan hat to help you stay warm. Have hitters breathe on their hands before each pitch to warm them up avoid the bees in the hands. Keep your bats in the warmest place you can find for as long as possible (if you have a heater keep bats in the neighborhood)!
Hot: Drink water, a lot of water, starting the day before you play. Have rosin bags and towels for your pitchers to assist with the grip. Make sure your players have headbands, visors or hats to keep sun and sweat out of our eyes. Have snacks — extra heat means you are burning more fuel. Pitch counts are more of a factor. Pitchers have to attack the zone. Hitters have make their pitcher work.
Windy: I mean, Auntie Em, Auntie Em windy! Blowing in: Plan for the ball getting knocked down. Blowing Out: Plan for the ball to carry. Blowing Sideways: Plan for balls that are hard to track. Can impact the pitcher, movement and speed, both sides need to be prepared. Be sure your players are communicating because a ball that should be routine will be difficult because the wind moves the ball so much. Popups can be an adventure — communicate!
Sun: Hat, visor, eye black and sun glasses are all great tools. Work on techniques to handle the hard sun fields, “Catch the Sun”! Communicate, communicate, communicate!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.