Wednesday, April 12, 2017

5 Ways to Perfect Your Play*

Five Ways To Perfect Your Play

Step One: Focus
You are not going to be able to make it very far if you cannot focus on your task at hand. You can't let the other teams' cheers and shouts affect your playing. They are shouting to distract you, they are shouting to make you play miserably. Focus on the game and only the game. Your catcher should be keeping your pitcher in check, making sure she doesn't overdo herself. The catcher should be calling out the plays. You need to take that call and focus on where the ball is needs to go.

When batting, you need to focus on the ball and nothing else. Swing your bat until you feel the ball connect with your bat. Receive your instructions from your coach, and then focus on the ball. Watch the pitcher's wind up, watch the ball in her hand until she releases it. Watch it all the way into the catcher's glove if the pitch is not good enough to be hit. If the pitcher serves you a strike, focus on the ball, focus on the swing of your bat, watch the ball hit the bat. Don´t watch the ball after you've hit it; run. That is your next focus point. This game is a game of wits and focus.
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Step Two: Coordination
In order to run the bases, in order to swing a bat, in order to chase a pop-fly, to pitch, to catch, you need to have coordination. Whether it's hand-eye coordination, or eye-feet coordination, you need to have it. Have you ever tried to run the bases as fast as you can while dizzy and unstable? I have, and it is not easy. What about catching a fly ball? You cannot catch a fly ball if you do not have the coordination between running and watching. You have to trust that your teammate will be there to back you up and to keep you from running into one another or a fence.

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Step Three: Trust
Trust. Trust is one of the most important things on the field. If you cannot trust another teammate, you will not be focused on the game, you will be focused on your teammate, the game, what you can do to try and do better than her. Outfielders' have a strong relationship with one-another. They will run to back each other up, they will call out ¨MINE¨ or ¨GOT IT¨ to avoid a collision. They will also shout out, ¨FENCE¨ or ¨LET IT GO¨ if you are nearing a fence or if the ball is obviously too far and unable to be caught. You have to trust your base coaches to make the right decisions when they say “Round Two” or “Stay.” You have to trust that your pitcher will be able to do her job, just as every girl should. Your team should be your family, there should be love, kindness, and trust in one another as a family, not just a team.                                                                     
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Step Four: Respect
You need to have respect for the game. If you don’t respect the game, then you will not be a successful softball player. You need to have respect for your teammates and yourself. You need to have good sportsmanship for the other team. If they take a loss, you do not rub it in their face, you do not make fun of them for it, you shake their hands, say good game, then celebrate with your teammates. Bragging about your win to the team you just beat is rude and disrespectful. Respect is a must in this sport. If you do not have respect for your coach, your coach will sit you. It does not matter if you are the only pitcher, they will find a replacement.

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Step Five: Durability
Softball is a contact sport. You may not think it, you may think, oh all you do is catch a ball and run the bases. Sure, we do that, but we also have to tag runners out, avoid the tag if you are the runner, there’s the occasional collision when there is a miscommunication. A catcher’s job is one of the hardest. They are covered in pounds of gear, they have to catch every pitch and throw out every runner that they can. If the catcher fails at her job, there is no game. I personally am unable to play softball. I am a catcher and when I was twelve years old, I am now seventeen, I was injured by a base runner that was my responsibility to tag out. I separated my hips from my spine that night. It was the fourth inning, my team was winning by three, and I was getting the last out of the inning, so I hoped. It did not really go the way I planned. I ended up leaving the softball field in an ambulance that night because I was paralyzed. Five years later, I can walk, but its a daily challenge for me. With every step I take my hips will pop, and it is terrifying to know that one of those pops could potentially paralyze me for the rest of my life. You have to be able to get up and keep going, you cannot take every scratch as if it is a life threatening injury. Having endurance to run around the bases and the durability to play the game.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Softball versus baseball

Rise and Shine

Casey Africano of Notre Dame has some strong words for the sport known worldwide as ‘Softball’. The video is titled “Softball is learning rather than failing”. It is a very inspiring video that definitely speaks to me on a personal level. “I felt like I was failing coach”. Africano’s words speak to me on a personal level because when I played softball, I was severely injured and for me, I needed to hear her words to hold on to hope, and to have faith. To get back up and to keep fighting. Softball is definitely a difficult sport to play, especially when playing for a college. You have a lot of pressure on your name and all you want to do is play perfectly. The doesn’t happen though. It’s the same way in life, you want to achieve greatness and have your name known. You want to be perfect in your life, but that doesn’t happen. You don’t get to really choose what goes on in your life.

The video also follows the story of an eleven year old girl named Hannah who was diagnosed with cancer. I love the way Africano intertwined the two subjects. The game will knock you over, over and over and over again, as she says, but you also need to get back up. You  need to bounce back, you need to succeed for yourself. Your worth is never based on what you have done, what you have succeeded in, it is based on your personality, it is based on your attitude. Never let your inability to do something define your worth. And definitely don’t let it break you down. “If you judge a fish on it’s ability to climb a tree, it will lead it’s whole life believing it is stupid”. I like that quote because it references to how if you judge someone on their ability to do something that is not first nature, you won’t think they are worth much. It is very hurtful to yourself to judge your worth on something you are not able to do.

“Rise and Shine”. That is a phrase that i choose to live my life by. I do not really know where it originated from, but the way i see it, if you wake up in a good mood, you will have a good day. Stay positive, don’t beat yourself up over little things throughout your day. Don’t tell yourself you are worthless because you can’t hit a ball or because you tripped running the bases. Failure to do one little thing does not make you a failure. Take it from a softball player especially, Africano had the fear that she was failing coach until someone told her otherwise.

To go a little off topic of the video, i often think of my friend whenever i’m struggling. Even through all her bullying, even after everything she went through, not once did she lose faith and not once did she tell herself that she was worthless or failing at life. I think it is very important that you keep your head up, continuously tell yourself that you are worth it and you do matter, that no matter what happens in your life, you will make it through.