If you have watched the game long enough, you realize pretty quick that softball. like life is a game of adjustments.
One thing we notice with prevalence especially among the younger players is that it is their failure to adjust that often leads to bad outcomes.
We have a generation of youngsters that do not want to adjust to things around them, and who think that doing the same thing over and over again, will bring different results. NEWSFLASH. It doesn’t!
If there is one takeaway from softball, or sports in general – it is that every situation requires players to be able to have a lenient mindset. They cannot approach every ground or fly ball, every pitcher they face, every teammate, every coach the same way. They have to remain flexible and willing to BE THE CHANGE they want to see in their game.
In fact, softball takes constant adjustments both offensively and defensively.
There is nothing (and we mean NOTHING) more frustrating than kids who come in the dugout one by one, all complaining and whining that the low drop ball they struck out LOOKING on (for the second time), was NOT a strike, even though they watched their teammates before them strike out on the same pitch.
We got news for you kids. If the umpire is calling it a STRIKE, it’s a strike and you better learn to freaking adjust your mindset and approach at the plate.
And you know what? It’s still a strike even if your parents are complaining behind home plate that it wasn’t. Even if your coach agrees that maybe it was a little low in the zone. Even if your teammates think you were cheated. The bottom line is that YOU have to adjust to the game.
The players have to not only be accountable but responsible FOR adjustments. They have to be given the tools to make decisions during the game that put them in the best position to make the play. They have to be vigilant participants in WATCHING the game and learning everything they can from an opponent while the game is going on.
Life is not going to adjust to us. Life is not going to adjust to our kids. If our kids stand in the batters box, and swing the exact same way every time, just waiting for a ball to magically make contact at the exact spot where they swing, they are going to fail.
One of the best things we can for young athletes is teach them how to adjust. This needs to be done in practice, and coaches need to empower our daughters to make decisions during game situations WITHOUT BEING TOLD.
And moms and dads need to stop making excuses when the kids don’t adjust. When kids fail to recognize ways they can succeed, they need to be asked “Well, what could YOU have done differently?”
Coaches need to start early, asking players that same question.
What could you have done differently when facing that change up? What could you have done differently to make that play in the outfield? What could you have done differently to ensure you were covering the base?
What can YOU do in practice, or at home, to prepare yourself better?
So what do we do from here on out?
We celebrate moments of adjustments. We let our kids know that they and they alone are responsible for making adjustments. We hold them accountable when they don’t. We stop making excuses. We hold them responsible for being too rigid, and we give them back the power to make the changes necessary to find success on their own, on and OFF the field.