Recently, I had a Blog request from softball guru, Cindy Bristow. She is very, very informative and knowledgeable in the game. You all should give her a follow on twitter (@CindyBristow). I personally think that I can definitely learn more from her than she can learn from me, but I’ll do my best to answer your question Cindy!
“ @cindybristow Love to hear how your training & playing in Japan has made you better physically and mentally. “
Right, so I’ve been playing in Japan for the last 6 years and will be going into my 7th season this year. My time over there has flown by. Initially, I thought I would be there a year maybe two years, but playing over there has allowed me to get to know myself as a pitcher, an athlete and has truly helped me fall in love with the game all over again.
In Japan, I play for Toyota. And we love too Practice, and I mean LOVE to PRACTICE. Sometimes I’ll be out there and be thinking… there isn’t anything else I could possibly do, but other days time flies by! Because our practice schedule is the way it is (basically 9-5), it forces you to focus at different things during the day and in certain moments. Also, I don’t have an American coach, so it is pretty much, me an interpreter and my fellow American @natashawatley trying to figure it out. We have spent many hours discussing softball, strategy and foreigner issues. The extra practice time, has allowed me to work on the little nuances of the game, that I wouldn’t normally get to do in the states. Nor would I even think about when I was at home, because there isn’t time to think about it.
An average day of practice starts at 9:30 we always start with a quick meeting for announcements and then we warm up for 45 minutes including agilities and a pretty good team sprint warm up. Usually about 10:30 we start throwing over hand for a good 30 minutes and do our everyday drills and throwing situations. After this we do a full team defense. Every position throws to every base everyday. Yes! Even, outfielders throw to bases every day! Even catchers throw to bases every day. After a full team defense we work on our team defensive plays. Or any other defense that the team needs extra of situations, bunt defense, etc.
In the afternoon:
I start the second session in the bullpen. I do a pitching work out. Once, I finish my pitching session, they are usually still hitting. At this point the trainer has a work out for all the pitchers to do. There are a lot Pitching specific exercises. Some days I’ll do an extra lift depending on what the week holds. Every one else is hitting at this time. And, they hit and hit and hit.
When everyone is finished we all rake the field and clean the balls. After this it is individual practice time. This is when you get extra defensive work, bike, watch video, get treatment etc.
Playing in Japan has challenged me in a lot of different ways. They think of the game differently there. It is very detail oriented and for lack of a better word they nick picking the pitcher and catcher to death. It’s been really hard and frustrating at times but at others it’s been very rewarding. I have had to learn to perfect my pitches by location and by breaking point. It’s a challenge…. but the challenge is what makes the game great.