Feb 5, 2012 9:56 AM
It's February...the start of a new year when all things seems possible. Whether you are basking in 75 degree California weather or the wintery 20's in Detroit the 2012 softball season will be here before you know it.
As a coach the beginning of a new season is always exciting because every team and every player starts off with a clean slate, with thoughts of championships and .500 batting averages dancing through our heads. And the truth is that phenomenal success for your team or athlete is entirely possible...it really is.
It all gets down to what level of effort, dedication and attitude she brings to her game. After coaching for over a decade and having played ball through college I know that any player can expect to get out of the game exactly what she puts into it. You see the harsh truth is that "the game" doesn't care who wins. The game doesn't care who gets a hit and who makes an error. The game will giveth and taketh away without regard for who the players or teams are. The definable variable for success in a difficult game is personal choice.
Here are 10 surefire ways to turn the new season into a memorable one for your athlete:
1. Inspire yourself and others with your effort. Bring 110% effort each time you step on the field and stand out from the crowd.
2. Work harder than everyone else. Put in the time for more grounders, more swings, more pitches. To be great you have to be willing to want it more.
3. Work equally as hard in your mental skills training. Question your assumptions and beliefs about yourself that may be limiting your performance.
4. Trust yourself more. If you are trying a new position, new hitting or pitching mechanics, or advancing to the next age level be willing to step outside of old comfort zones and embrace the opportunity in front of you with a "can do" attitude.
5. Set measurable goals you can track during the season. When you are tired or mentally fatigued during a game or long practice remember your goals and push a little harder.
6. Understand why you play the game. What motivates you? Find the underlying motive as to why you play and you will unlock the true secret of success.
7. Play the game with passion and joy. Once you know why you play and you trust yourself enough to give 110% have fun playing. Playing with passion brings great energy, focus and joy. Play the game with a pep in your step!
8. Be a relentless student of the game. "ABL" (always be learning). Greatness comes from understanding the game on the path of mastery. You can learn from playing or watching. It is always the little things that make the different between good and great.
9. Focus on your effort not the results. It is easy to get caught up in the results in such a numbers oriented game. However, know the factors you have control over (effort, attitude, focus) and the ones you do not. The irony is if you work hard at the things you can control the results you desire will come!
10. Support her unconditionally. This last point is aimed at parents. Remember that your athlete's journey towards mastering a very difficult game will take time. Be patient with her, celebrate her efforts, and be sure you help her to keep the game fun by keeping her perspective balanced.
Your athlete will get out of this great game what she is willing to put into it, with stellar physical and mental training and effort. She can truly be as good as she wants to be because the game doesn't care; the game does not play favorites. It will give her every opportunity for greatness whenever she is willing to accept the challenge!
I wish you and your family an awesome 2012. If your athlete can embrace these 9 tips (and you the last tip) she will be well on her way towards creating her best season ever!
For over 75 fastpitch softball specific articles on how your athlete can reach her true softball potential visit us at Softball Smarts, where you can also sign up for our weekly FREE Softball Smarts Tips.
Thanks for reading! -- John Kelly
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