The game of fastpitch softball is one of the most fun games to watch, especially when it is our daughters are the fastpitch softball players playing the game. We have always said that it is the perfect combination of an individual and team sport, where the two aspects rely upon the other for ultimate success.
So what does this mean? This means that each individual softball player MUST remain accountable to their teammates for their performance on (and off) the field. The game is as much mental as it is physical, and today – we offer 10 tips for your fastpitch softball players to help make them the very best they can be as a player, and as a teammate!
- Ball FIRST! As with all things in life, priorities will make or break us. We have to ‘bloom where we are planted’ so to speak, and in fastpitch defensively or offensively, it means your first priority is the ball. If you are always moving toward the ball, always following the ball, keeping your eye on the ball, it will lead you to exactly where you need to be. So keep it simple, and repeat the mantra BALL FIRST in your head while you are playing. And remember the ball is your friend…it’s one of the main reasons you are on the field. So keep it simple. Ball first.
- There are More people invested in your success than your failure. As a young ball player, it’s easy to get down on yourself, or to feel like you aren’t good enough, and to feel like people are mad or disappointed in you. The real truth is….the vast majority of the people that you are surrounded by want to see you succeed and be happy doing it! The coaches, the umpires, the parents, the tournament directors, they all invest their time in YOU because they believe in YOU, and because they LOVE TO WATCH YOU PLAY! They’re only hard on you because they know just how amazing you are and want you to be able to see it as well.
- You’re only as good (or bad) as your last play! What does this mean? It means never rest on your laurels, it means have a short memory, it means whether you make a game winning play – or strike out looking with two outs and the tying run on the 3rd in the last inning of the championship game…it’s the NEXT thing you do that really counts.
- Confidence is humble. In sports, and in life – confidence is key. But confidence is not loud, or boastful, or obnoxious. Confidence doesn’t gloat. Confidence doesn’t intimidate, or belittle others. Confidence – the real kind of confidence that will enable you to do great things in life, comes from hard work, persistence and is built by accomplishment and hard-work.
- You’re team is only as good as your weakest teammate! Have a teammate struggling? Making errors? Maybe a teammate doesn’t seem to be trying as hard as everyone else and you are frustrated with them? It’s your job to help lift that person up! It’s your responsibility to make every member of your team feel valued and important and to be a friend. It’s easy to sit back and blame others, but that doesn’t fix anything and it won’t help your team.
- Practice like you play! What you do in practice is what you will do in games. And that’s the truth. This isn’t saying you can’t have fun and kick up some dust with your teammates. Practice should be fun. But the hard work in practice is what will turn into success when it really counts and teams and players that practice hard…get it done on Game Day!
- Overthinking is your enemy. One minute you miss a ball that takes a bad hop, and then suddenly you turn one error into two, or three, and then you’re in a slump. Overthinking! If you struggle with the short memory, or are overly hard on yourself, go to a song. (YES SERIOUSLY) Pick a song that makes you feel happy, and sing it in your head. (Or out-loud, or hum) When you find yourself going down the rabbit hole of over-thinking – go to your song.
- Learn from those better than you! Yeah, it sucks sometimes to admit that people are better than us, but the reality is that these are the people in life and on the field that we SHOULD LEARN FROM! Watch them, mimic their work ethic, learn from them….Surround yourself with people whose goals match yours.
- Say thank you! To your coaches, to your parents, to the umpire who gave you high 5, to the mom from the other team who told you that your hit was good, to your teammates. Be a grateful person.
- Have fun & Smile. Listen, sometimes it’s all you can do in life. And if you can’t find anything to smile about, and you aren’t having fun…then by all means move on – because YOUR ATTITUDE IS CONTAGIOUS!