featuring Mike Candrea,
University of Arizona Head Coach;
8x NCAA Champions, winningest coach in NCAA Division I Softball history (1500+ wins);
4x National Coach of the Year; named the Pac-12 Coach of the Century;
Distinguished member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Hall of Fame (1996);
2x US Olympic Softball Coach (Gold in '04, Silver in '08)
with Stacy Iveson,
University of Arizona Assistant Coach/Pitching Coach;
former Head Coach at Pima Community College and Yavapai College, 4x NJCAA Championship Coach (two at each school); 2004 NJCAA Coach of the Year
and Caitlin Lowe,
University of Arizona Assistant Coach;
member of the 2008 US Olympic Team (Silver Medal); 4x All American at Arizona
Mike Candrea provides exclusive in-depth access to four days of practice with the University of Arizona softball team. Coach Candrea introduces you to the general practice structure he uses and the philosophies and techniques that he integrates into every workout. You will also see how the team focuses its strength and conditioning program toward building softball players who are more complete athletes.
This all access video shows you how to maximize game-like repetitions of all facets of the game in every practice drill. The coaches' open mics allow them to actively commentate on the drills, sprinkling in coaching tips along the way. You'll also get to hear them strategize through different situations.
Practice: Day 1
Individual infield and team defense play is the focus of the first practice, which gives players numerous reps and throws along with situational play. Each day, practice begins with an active warm-up that includes dynamic stretching and arm care to help maintain the health of the athletes. After throwing, the infielders pair up and work glove drills such as picks, short hops and backhands while the outfielders pair up and work on long toss and footwork drills that are outfield-specific.
After glove work, players work on a ground ball progression for both fielding and throwing. Candrea rolls the players a variety of ground balls to simulate different game situations, such as underhand flips, glove and backhand feeds. The progression moves to ground balls off the bat. Infielders man their positions to field and throw to different bases in a rapid succession, providing many reps in a small amount of time.
Coach Candrea adds a high-intensity drill to work on bunt and bunt defense. This prepares players both offensively and defensively for game situations. Set your players up to get more outs at second base on bunts to help eliminate big innings.
Practice ends with a live batting practice. Players are put into groups of five, with a runner at each base. The batters get three rounds of five pitches. Each round, batters work a different situation. The base runners work on base running leads on each pitch and hit. There's minimal standing around and players are learning or reinforcing what they know on every pitch.
Practice: Day 2
This practice focuses on infield positional play, pitchers' fielding practice, outfield play, and throwing to bases in various situational play. The practice builds on the individual work from day one and adds a more game-like progression.
Day two's practice begins in the weight room. Strength & Conditioning Coach Rob Harris, shows you a softball-specific workout used to develop strength and flexibility. He provides the benefits for each exercise and shows how to adapt each exercise to help with injured athletes.
Infield practice features footwork and glove work from rolled balls and ground balls off a fungo. A pitcher's fielding practice allows pitchers to be the fifth infielder without sacrificing their pitching mechanics. You'll see how Candrea teaches throwing from every position in the outfield to every plausible location on the infield, creating players who are comfortable with playing every outfield position.
The team transitions into 21 Outs, a great game-like drill for putting the entire defensive workout together with active runners. Additionally, the team works on defending bunts, first and third situations, and rundowns.
Practice: Day 3
Day three features a full batting practice along with a bunting station, followed by pre-game infield and outfield, and then a live controlled scrimmage. Throughout the practice, some type of competition is built into every activity, which gives you a better understanding of what a motivated, competitive team scrimmage looks like.
Softball-specific activities begin with batting practice and you'll get a drill to help your hitters identify balls and strikes. Batting practice is divided into four groups working simultaneously to minimize down time and maximize repetitions. Learn to be an active coach during batting practice with techniques like charting if hitters are hitting strikes and taking balls.
After batting practice, Candrea shows you the pre-game infield/outfield routine he uses to get his team ready to play.
The bulk of this practice consists of an inter-squad scrimmage. The unique thing about Arizona's scrimmage is that the coaches predetermined the conditions by picking which hitters, runners, counts, and situations they want to see. This puts players into more challenging situations in order to make practice more difficult and stressful than the game. Candrea, while coaching third base, gives insight into how he coaches runners and hitters. You'll also hear Coach Iveson's interactions with the pitchers and catchers.
Practice: Day 4
The final practice begins with Coach Candrea talking about different aspects of coaching and preparing his team. He addresses topics like building progressions, developing culture in practice, and creating a season-long plan. The emphasis in p