Five Loan Wolves (Peter, Olivia, Jane C, Alison and I) were at practice in Clapham common today, taking advantage of playing on the pitch we will be playing on against the Barracudas.
A new training tool was in use today, a cheap tennis racket (designed for kids- it was the best I could get at 9.30am in Clapham High Street, on a Saturday morning)! It was used to launch tennis balls high into the air so that we could practice fielding fly balls. I think it proved useful, although it certainly is different catching a (small) tennis ball versus a softball. A few times, people managed to get the ball in their glove, only for it to bounce out again! Each of us had multiple times at bat, and practiced running to first base. I think we all learnt that it is a very bad idea to hit the ball straight back to the pitcher. Next we did some throwing and catching drills basing ourselves on the marked out softball diamond. After a while it seemed to really improve both our throwing accuracy and strength, plus our ability to catch the ball whilst standing on a base.
It wouldn't be a proper Loan Wolves practice in Clapham if a number of things didn't happen.
1. Like always, the ball managed to roll into the main road by the common a few times today. My softball got run over again (I think that it has as many lives as a cat), but at least it was only a car. Near the end of the practice, the ball rolled in the road again only for it to just miss being run over by a huge 12 wheeler truck. Even after Andy's recent comments about how tough a softball really is, I'm not so sure that it would survive being run over by such a vehicle.
2. As we haven't had huge numbers coming to practice, we usually do without a catcher. This proves problematic, especially when doing batting drills, as when the ball is missed/left it normally at the very least goes way behind the plate, or at the worst (see point 1). We have tried to stop the ball in a number of ways with bags, but it seems however they are positioned the ball always bounces over them. Today I found some spare traffice cones, and so we used those, to make what looked like a makeshift wicket behind the plate. It did actually stop a few balls, so I think that we might have found a solution.
3. Lack of Softball equipment. We had 4 gloves between 5 people today, and only 2 softballs, although we did have 2 bats. I can only stress once again how useful it is to have one's own glove. The phrase 'Beg, borrow or steal' (well maybe not the last one!) comes to mind.