News & Events
Emily Ward Signed Her Letter of Intent on April 26, 2017 to Attend & Play Softball at West Virginia Wesleyan College
Holly Brehm, Jerry Johnson, & Emily Ward
Holly Brehm Makes Verbal Commitment to Play Collegiate Softball at Ohio University "The Bobcats"
Holly Brehm, class of 2019, made her verbal commitment to play collegiate softball at Ohio University "The Bobcats" on October 14, 2016. Holly is pictured 4th from the left and on her right is Head Coach, Jodi Hermanek. Holly's father, J.R. Brehm, is pictured on the far left. Holly is a sophomore from Wyoming East High School, New Richmond, WV.
Jerry Johnson and George Herman Roberts
This is George Herman Roberts, he is a true American Hero. George is a resident at the Veterans Medical Center in Beckley, WV. This picture was taken in the VA Chapel where George attends regularly for Sunday service.
Is This You? It Could Be Affecting Your Performance
3 Dumb Things We Do With Smartphones
Just put it down already.
From posture to performance, these phone habits may take a toll on your health.
1. Slouching and staring.
Looking down can strain neck and back ligaments, suggests a computer-model analysis. Your head weighs 10 to 12 pounds, but focusing downward can increase forces on the neck by five times or more, leading to poor posture and pain.
So what can you do? Straighten up, first of all, says Kenneth Hansraj, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon in Poughkeepsie, New York. And carry device at chest height with head up, chest open and shoulder blades back. Move just your eyes downward. And then, take a break. Your neck is not supposed to stay stuck in one position for a long period. If you're reading on a tablet or phone, stop every so often to swivel and tilt your head - up and down, then side to side.
2. Treating it like a toy.
People who are glued to their cell phones may have lost the ability to entertain themselves without one, found a Kent State University study. Less frequent users (under three hours a day) can more easily plug into relaxing low-tech activities like reading and exercising.
3. Keeping it out at work.
Having your cell out on your desk is distracting, even when it's turned off. Researchers at the University of Southern Maine found that students with phones out did poorly on focused tasks, versus those whose devices were hidden. Stash yours when you're on the job!
Article from the March 2015 Issue of Good Housekeeping
Coach Ernie Parker Memorial
"I'm saddened to announce the passing of softball coaching legend Ernie Parker. Ernie, was a true friend and our condolence go out to the entire Parker Family. Ernie allowed me and my wife into his home and treated us like his own Family. He loved to talk softball especially pitching. He took time out of his busy schedule to allow me and my Wife to show him our Triple Pitch. I never once thought about doing a DVD but, Ernie convinced and motivated me to do so. I was honored that he thought that much of us and the Triple Pitch. He was a mentor to me and I learned so much from him and he will be truly missed by all. GOD BLESS." Jerry
Ernie Parker has been coaching and giving pitching lessons for over 30 years. He coached and worked with one team from California where he won 9 ASA National Championships at all levels. During that time, he also taught pitchers from other travel teams who also won national championships.
Ernie Parker has worked with All-Americans at many top universities including UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida State, Cal State Long Beach, Harvard, University of Tennessee, Cal State Fullerton, and many others.
Mr. Parker has instructed pitchers in places such as Israel, Peru, Canada, Taipai China, Mainland China (twice), Spain (three times), Holland (four times), Hawaii (8 times), Alaska (4 times), and Italy.
Students and Some of Their Accomplishments:
- Lisa Fernandez, All American, College World Series winner, 3 time Olympic Gold Medal winner
- De De Weiman, All American, College World Series winner
- Amanda Freed, All American, College World Series winner
- Carrie Dolan, All American, 3 time College World Series winner
- Taren Mowat, All American, College World Series winner
- Brandy Mc Arthur, All American, member or the 18 U, USA National team
- High School All-Americans
- ASA National Champions at All Levels
- College All-Americans
- College World Series Champions
- Players in the Women's Professional Leagues
- Women's ASA Champions
- Women's World Champions
- Olympic Gold Medalists (3 times) ( Note: Lisa Fernandez pitched the championship game for all 3 gold medals)
10 Softball Pitching Questions Answered by Jerry Johnson
1) What got you started in fastpitch softball?
I've been involved in softball for over 30 years. I started off pitching in a men's league when I was in high school. I saw one game and I said "I can do that" (meaning windmill)...and the rest is history.
2) Where did you learn the most about pitching from?
Being in the Military for 26 years you travel all over, I've been to Japan, Korea and all over the US and learned a lot. I've always said if you want to see the game of softball played correctly watch women play, they play the game right.
3) Are you still actively working with pitchers? If so, what is your favorite thing about instructing/coaching?
When I start working with a new student, I always tell the parents to be patient. It takes time to be a good pitcher. After the second or third lesson they expect her to be pitching like she 18. I work with my dedicated students once a week, NOTE I said dedicated. You must be committed! And the parents must be as well. I really enjoy seeing students mature each year and grow into pitching.
4) What is one of the biggest problems you see in pitchers today?
Commitment! I always tell my students "you're in here pitching with me when you could be with your friends." You must be committed and willing to "work smart, not hard" to become a good pitcher.
5) What should parents look for when choosing a pitching instructor for their child?
Their are several pitching instructors in different areas of the country that teach very bad mechanics which can cause injury and, sad to say, very bad muscle memory which is very difficult to undo. I tell the parents to look around at other good pitchers in the local area and find out who they works with. Talk to their parents and coaches. If an instructor doesn't pitch, I would be leery. My method of training a young pitcher is...
Step #1. Talk about the subject matter, stride for example and then...
Step #2. I demonstrate what I want the student to do.
If am working with a student on a new pitch I demonstrate what I want her to do after we have walked through the entire pitch step by step. It's easy to explain what to do, it something else when the instructor demonstrates what he wants you to do.
6) How often should a pitcher practice?
In my opinion, a new pitcher should practice 3 or 4 days a week. Remember we are trying to establish good muscle memory and prevent bad muscle memory.
If you're just starting off, and wait to long between practices, you have the possibility of developing bad habits. New pitchers have a tendency to forget what they were taught in that very first lesson. If we don't have another practice within the next day or two, we are sometimes back to square one. I my opinion I believe we can have speed and accuracy from the beginning. As an instructor or coach, "You get what you ask for."
In any pitching session, once a pitcher gets "tired" and can no longer perform quality reps, they should stop pitching since all reps after that point may actually cause the to train bad muscle memory.
7) What do you think a pitcher "must have" to be effective?
You must be effective in hitting your locations. It's important for you can go North, South, East and West on different pitches. The other important factor again, in my opinion, is you must have effective spin on your pitches and the correct spin. I would recommend using the RevFire when working on spin, to increase your RPS (revolutions per second) and velocity.
8) What if a pitcher doesn't have top speed in their league? Can they still be successful?
Again we want to focus on location, location, and location. Some times we get to wrapped up in speed. Don't get me wrong, a pitcher must have a certain amount of speed. However, if you work on location and continue to work on your speed, you will be just fine.
9) What would you say separates the most successful pitchers you work(ed) with from the rest?
Work ethic, commitment, and dedication; an "I want to" attitude. Again work Smart, not Hard, and have a plan just don't wing it.
10) Anything else you'd like to tell pitchers or parents of pitchers (or even coaches wanting to learn more about teaching young pitchers)?
Parents be patient, as I stated earlier. Being a good pitcher takes time it doesn't come over night. If you, as a parent have to make your daughter go out and practice and pitch, she may not want to pitch. Again, this is only my opinion, you can't make her pitch. She needs to get Dad off his favorite chair and say, "Dad let's go out and pitch." She has to want it. Parents, we can't live or lives through our kids, she may not make be pitcher but, there are eight other positions on a team that she can play.
Stacie's note: I couldn't agree more with Jerry on this last point. In order to be a good pitcher, it must be something you dedicate yourself to. That doesn't happen if the only reason you pitch is because someone else wants you to. The best pitchers pitch because THEY want to. It's their desire and enjoyment of what they do that drives them to willingly put in the extra time and work it takes to be great at their craft. That can't come from a parent or from anyone else but themselves. You can't make anyone love pitching. They either do or they don't...or they're interested enough to give it a try and grow to love it. Either way, it comes from within them.
Article from www.StacieMahoe.com & www.FastpitchMall.com
ESPN Sport Science Video: The Speed of Softball
ESPN's Sport Science crew breaks down the science behind the speed needed in softball.
Video from ESPN W.
Creating a Highlight Video
PARENT'S PLEASE TAKE A COPY OF THIS ARTICLE, IF YOUR DAUGHTER WANTS TO PLAY SOFTBALL IN COLLEGE..
"There is a lot of information available on the internet and in softball magazines, telling you how to make a recruiting video. My recommendation is the following article from Coach Mike Candrea. He keeps it simple. Coach Candrea is entering his 29th season coaching softball at the University of Arizona so he has viewed more than a few recruiting videos. He is one of the most respected coaches in the nation with eight national titles. If you follow his expert advice I'm certain that you will find the production of your recruiting video will be a stress free adventure for you and your Daughter. I will be more than glad to assist you in the production of your video (consulting only) for a minimal fee. For more information please contact me by email or by phone at 304-673-9127." Jerry
<Creating a Highlight Video by Coach Mike Candrea>
How Do I Increase My Speed?
Introduction: All pitchers regardless of age want to get faster. Following are some drills that may help you to do just that. You must understand that a pitching instructor or coach cannot increase your speed. It takes lots of work on your part to increase your speed. I highly recommend that you consult a certified trainer. Pitching is a year long process. It is my personal opinion that when girls play two or more sports it interferes with their progress of going from a good pitcher to a great one. All sports use different muscle groups to accomplish greatness, therefore in the off-season for softball your progress will be hampered due to the use and development of different muscle groups in the other sport. Pitching requires patience from parents and coaches as well as the pitching instructor. Sometimes parents want to live their dream through their children and if the desire to pitch, and to pitch well, does not come from within you it will never work. If you are not dedicated to pitching you need to tell your parents. Otherwise it is a waste of time, money and energy for you and for your parents and coaches.
Speed Drills should be done AFTER pitching practice.
Strengthen the Core: The core consists of the hips, pelvis and abdominals, lower and mid back and the neck regions of the body.
Long Toss: This is a great drill to increase speed but it must be done outside. Start off at your normal pitching distance. Pitch a fastball and go back approximately five feet each time you pitch to the catcher. As you back up you can put a slight arc on the pitch to carry the distance. The ball must arrive to the catcher in the air. Once you have gone back as far as you can, measure the distance. Each time you do long toss you want to increase your distance. Now you are ready to advance forward in the same manner you went back until you have returned to the normal pitching distance. At this time, you will pitch ten fastballs as fast as you can. Your control will be bad but don't worry, the more pitches you pitch your control should improve. This is one of my favorite speed drills. Remember, I recommend that all speed drills be done after your practice session.
Weighted Ball: This drill helps to increase strength and speed of the pitch. I recommend you pitch 15-20 pitches with the weighted ball. You can use a 9, 10 or 11 ounce ball for strength development. You can create your own weighted balls by adding 1-1/2 to 2 ounces of 11/2 long finishing nails into the seams and countersink each nail. Pound them into the ball along the seams every 2 to 3 stitches. You may want to dab glue first to help them from coming back out.
All-Out Drill: Great drill to do indoors or outdoors. When outdoors pitch into a fence 10-15 feet away. Pitch as hard as you can. Be aggressive. Don't worry about control just throw hard. I tell pitchers to pitch a bucket of balls, then do it again. This is a great drill that can be done in the winter when you cannot go outside to pitch if you have an indoor space that will accommodate pitching. Instead of pitching against a fence hang a piece of carpet to be used as a backstop.
Hand Speed: Using two plastic grocery bags, one inside the other, place a ball in the bag. The pitcher will grab the bag by the handles with the ends of her fingers the same way she pitches a ball. This is done without a catcher. Pitch the bag forward the same way you would pitch a ball. If it's too high, you have let go of the ball too late. If it is too low you have let go too early. This is a good drill for hand speed. Three or more bags should be used for pitchers that have a fast speed.
Knee Drill: The arm is isolated. This drill is good for improving accuracy. You, the pitcher, will get down on your right knee if you are right handed. Point your glove to the target (catcher). Your chest and left foot will be at a 45 degree angle. When you start your windmill, focus on pitching the ball about one foot off the ground. However, you are to pitch over the plate. This will tell you if your release is correct. Snap your wrist and have a fast hand. To challenge yourself alternate your focus on the catcher's left and right knees and chest and shoulders. This will improve your accuracy.
Velcro Snaps (for younger pitchers): This is a great drill for developing speed and a faster spin on the ball by strengthening your wrist and forearm. It works well for younger girls but can be used by pitchers of any age or experience level. The pitcher kneels down on her left knee if she is right handed. With the right knee bent, take the right arm and place it at a forward "L" angle with the right wrist past the knee. Take a strip of Velcro and wrap it around the right leg and arm to stabilize the arm in this position. Using a cannon ball or heavy ball (use good judgment) the pitcher will snap the wrist and catch the ball with the left hand. Start by doing 100 snaps a day. As the pitcher progresses the number of snaps per day will be increased. Parents or an adult should supervise the pitcher to ensure that this drill is being done correctly.
Fast Balls: Bottom line, as a pitcher you have to pitch a lot of fast balls in order to get faster and to maintain your speed! As you release the ball, you must have a fast hand, and a strong follow through toward the catcher. Your hand should be by your ear. Be ready to catch the ball in a good defensive position.
WE PLAY LIKE WE PRACTICE.
College of Charleston, SC Softball Team Adds Caitlyn Jackson to the Coaching Staff
The following article is an archive, Caitlyn Jackson is no longer on the coaching staff of the College of Charleston, SC Softball Team.
The College of Charleston, SC softball team and head coach Shelly Hoerner have announced the addition of Caitlyn "CJ" Jackson to the coaching staff. Jackson will primarily be the pitching coach but also offers hitting expertise and will serve administrative responsibilities as well.
"I am excited to have CJ join our staff," said Hoerner. "She brings great passion for the game and a wealth of knowledge. Her energy along with her Ability to get the most out of her pitchers made her stand out above the rest.
"CJ's competitiveness from her playing days has transferred over to her will to win as a coach. I know her work ethic will continue to help make cougar softball a true success on and off the field."
Jackson brings with her a familiarity of SoCon softball as the former pitching coach at UNC Greensboro. Jackson spent two years overseeing the Spartans' pitching staff during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
"It is a tremendous honor to join Coach Hoerner and the coaching staff on the CofC softball team," said Jackson. "I've seen the awesome success this team has had recently and I'm excited about the amazing potential it has. I can't wait to work with the players and be a part of the softball family as we strive towards Southern Conference championships and beyond."
In 2010, she received a degree in criminal justice from Marshall where she was a four-year star on the Thundering Herd softball team in both the pitching circle and the batter's box. She was a lifetime .320 hitter which ranks fifth in the Marshall record books and finished fourth all time in in career pitching appearances with 103. The Ontario, Calif., native was a National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Mideast Region First Team selection at pitcher/utility in 2009 and landed on the second team in 2008. She was also a Conference USA All-Freshman pick in 2007.
As a senior in 2010, Jackson hit .322, the second-best mark on the squad, and led the team with 56 hits. In the circle, she posted a career-high 105 strikeouts, second-most on the squad.
She hit a career-high .337 as a sophomore in 2008, when she also posted a career-high 13 wins.
Article from the Official Athletic Site of College of Charleston, SC.
Marshall Softball All-Anniversary Team
Caitlyn Jackson (2007-10) was extremely versatile in her four years in the green and white. She was a .321 lifetime hitter with 212 hits and 89 RBI. In the circle she had 247 strikeouts and 28 wins. She ranks fifth in career batting average, ninth in runs, fifth in hits and tied for eighth in doubles with 34. Jackson's win total is the ninth best in Marshall History while her career strikeouts rank eighth. She a member of the 2007 C-USA All-Freshman team and was twice named All-Region. She was voted to the 2009 C-USA All-Tournament team as well.
Jennie Finch Softball Camp at Radford University
Larissa Davis participated in the Jennie Finch Softball Camp at Radford University, in Virginia. Larissa and another girl were picked out of their group to demonstrate their pitching skills. As Larissa was pitching, Jennie said, "Larissa has a violent wrist snap." After Larissa was finished pitching, Jennie said, "You pitch really well."
"It's Time To Pitch"
Cheerleading, basketball season is over; girls are ready to start back pitching. How many times have pitching coaches heard "I have a daughter that is thirteen years old, can you have her ready to pitch within three weeks?" My answer "You bet." Not so fast my friend as one famous sports announcer would say.
Anyone who has never pitched a softball, especially parents, has no idea how difficult it can be but, every year you hear the same question from them. Don't get me wrong, I am not being mean spirited, I am just telling like it is.
If you want to get good at anything you must devote time to it. The more productive the time spent on anything the better the results. The number one question I am asked from girls and parents is how to increase speed. My answer to them is to pitch the ball correctly and the speed will come provided you do all of the other drills and set goals, and I want to stress HIGH GOALS, during your practice sessions. Pitchers must challenge themselves, especially if they are working alone. They must have a plan and stick with it. Know what is going to be done before the pitching sessions are started.
Pitchers need to practice a minimum of three or four days a week. If for some reason you can't get outside because of the area you live in during the fall and winter months then you need to work on your spins and speed and work smarter not harder and you will be prepared when you can start your sessions outside. Bottom line there's no excuse for not practicing. Pitching requires hard work and dedication I can't express that enough.
Parents must motivate their daughters to ensure they do their work outs and may even need to participate as well. In most cases the pitching Instructor or coach usually only sees a student one day a week. Pitching is a partnership between the student; parent and pitching coach it takes the three of us to make her a great pitcher and that should be our goal. If for some reason you must push your daughter to practice than I would say she doesn't want to pitch it's you that wants her to pitch. If your daughter really wants to pitch she will be coming to you with enthusiasm saying "Mom, Dad Lets Pitch."
Yes, it's time to pitch and I wish all of you the very best this coming season and more. To all the parents be patience and supportive. When you walk into the circle for the first time on game day the majority of you will be nervous, and it will take time for you to get into your rhythm. Win or lose it will be a lasting experience for you and one you will treasure for a life time. Let this be the foundation for your future success. Good luck and "always remember practice and commitment make the difference, and always strive to be better today than yesterday."
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