10 Tips for the Next Generation of Softball Players
- Practice bunting every time you practice hitting. Some of the biggest situations you’ll find yourself in will call for you to get the bunt down. There’s no worse feeling than not being able to pull through for your team in that moment.
- Learn how to run the bases. Be aggressive, but know when it’s smart to take a risk and when it’s more logical to play it safe. Consider the outs, inning, score, and where your team is at in their line up. Even when you’re not on the bases, think about what you would be doing if you were in the situation.
- Practice being uncomfortable. The game moves very quickly in college and there are a few times where you can sit back and watch things play out. Practice being nervous for at-bats. Practice making throws when the game is on the line. Practice in the rain. Practice when you’re sore and out of breath. If you can make practice more difficult than the game, you’ll be that much more comfortable in a live setting.
- Invest in your teammates. This holds true regardless of the level at which you are playing. You are lucky to be surrounded by others your age who share the same passion you do for this sport. Get to know them off the field. One of the most valuable things this sport has blessed me with is the opportunity to know some pretty unbelievable girls. I personally think this sport would eat each and every one of us alive if we were forced to play it as an individual rather than with a team. Make seeing your teammates the best part of your day.
- Learn how to recover from failure. This game beats you up both physically and mentally on a daily basis. Coming to college has taught me that there will be an abundance of both good and bad days. Learn from the bad ones, and know that the good ones are just around the corner.
- With that being said, don’t make the bad days worse than they have to be. It’s easy to write off a practice if you’re not feeling 100%. Challenge yourself to stay motivated and put in your full effort. You don’t wake up for every game day feeling great, learn how to be successful even when things don’t feel right.
- Learn to love lifts and conditioning. Learn to love putting work in before the sun comes up. If you choose to drag your feet about this part of improvement, it’ll make for some very groggy, dreaded, painfully slow workouts. There’s something cool about working hard while the rest of the world is sleeping. Relish that, and don’t hit snooze.
- Pick up your teammates’ bats every opportunity you get. You’re all in this together, so set the tone that you’re going to be the most selfless version of yourself every time you all come together. There’s never an inappropriate time to give a high-five. Acknowledge the small stuff, and don’t be timid to give compliments.
- Find your own perfect level of confidence. This is something that I think about often in college. While you never want to be overconfident, in order to make it to the highest level of this sport, you need to believe in yourself before others do. There will be people who tell you that you’re not good enough. There will be teammates who make you feel small. There will be times during which you tell yourself you’re not good enough. Let the confident voice prevail, even when you’re not totally sold.
- Take time to reflect on how far you’ve come. Look at where you started, and look at where you want to be. It’s a lot harder to work toward a goal if you can’t remind yourself of the goals you’ve already accomplished in your past. Trust the process. Try not to get caught up in comparisons. Use statistics wisely.
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