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.
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.
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.
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.
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.