Dec 29, 2011 8:26 AM
There is an old saying that defines insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results." This line of thinking definitely applies on the softball field.
Success in a difficult game like fastpitch softball requires that teams and individual players make adjustments in every aspect of the game if necessary. And, as always, it starts with her thinking.
Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:
1. The pitcher keeps throwing the ball on the outside corner (or inside corner) but the batter refuses to swing the bat, finding herself in an 0-2 and 1-2 count all the time, leading to a ton of strikeouts. Unless she makes a conscious effort of adjusting her thinking she will likely continue getting the same results.
CAUSE: Likely she won't swing at that pitch because she believes she can't hit it (little if any confidence in doing so). She fears failure and the embarrassment of looking bad swinging.
SOLUTION: Trust herself to start swinging at the outside pitch, each time increasing her comfort level in doing so. At a certain point (with much practice) she will welcome the outside pitch as her self-confidence soars.
2. The player who refuses to dive for a ball, causing her coaches to question her commitment and desire; not to mention it costing her team runs.
CAUSE: Again, fear and lack of self-confidence win again. She is either afraid of making a mistake and missing the ball (incurring the wrath of coach or parent), looking bad in the process (embarrassment), or hurting herself (because she's never gotten comfortable with the proper diving form).
SOLUTION: Recognize her fear(s) and the fact that most coaches will reward the effort regardless of the results. Embarrassment must be overcome and the pain of diving can be solved by practice and increased mental toughness.
3. The pitcher refuses to throw a certain pitch on a certain count (maybe a changeup behind in the count) even though her coach reasons the hitter is swinging early and will likely never hit that pitch. She shakes off the catcher, throws something different or executes the pitch poorly.
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