As my SEN10R high school season flies by, my final summer season rapidly approaches and college softball is right around the corner, I’ve taken time out to analyze what softball means and has meant to me over the years.
hat does it really take to play?
I’ve looked back and tried to focus on the things I feel are the most important to remember as a softball player.
As nearly every competitive softball player knows, playing this sport is no easy task -- not simply on the field, but off it, as well.
In summer and high school seasons, softball is a lifestyle. We put in hours and hours of extra work in practice or play games every day, have tournaments every weekend and travel nearly nonstop, all while balancing academics and whatever social life we can fit in. It’s clear that softball forces a rigorous schedule upon us. While many of our peers are free to do whatever they want, when they want, we softball players have become accustomed to responding, “Sorry, I have softball this weekend.” Though we may have to sacrifice numerous parties, events and other usual teenage experiences, it's something are willing to do for the love of the game. As I’m sure that many players can account, the sacrifices we endure for softball are ultimately the reasons for our successes. O vercoming obstacles
Unfortunately, softball is a game of failure. However, the most important thing to remember is not how or when you fail, but the manner in which you bounce back.
Softball is a game of perseverance. No one can play a perfect game every single game of their softball career, not even the best of the best can. It’s inevitable that we all have off-days. What is significant, though, is that you work towards preventing that off-day from becoming an off-weekend, off-month, or even an off-season. Overcoming the obstacles that stand before you does not simply come with time. Beating those barriers requires work, training, and putting in extra effort. As I have been commonly told, it is not the work you put in while under a watchful eye, but the work that you put forth when no one is watching. Every player has the ability to ultimately determine their softball destiny surpassing every obstacle along the way. F un
More and more these days, our perspective on the game of softball is skewed.
Too many players are commonly feeling stressed, burnt out, even upset. While I can account to the fact that softball is an emotional rollercoaster, the main reason why we all began playing in the first place was to have fun, correct? Truly, softball can be a job. But remembering to just have fun makes everything so much simpler. When you’re having fun, you’re relaxed, you play with a clear mind and you remember the reasons why we all love softball so much. Play with heart, play with intensity and just have fun. T eamwork
Look around the field, look in the dugout. This is a team.
Softball is a team sport. Though some players may have large impacts on a particular team, any given game cannot be won or lost by a single player. It is important to remember as a player, parent or fan that every individual player has a role that is just as important as any others. Teamwork is the most crucial element in the game. Obviously, a game cannot be played with only one player on the field. Over my years, my teammates became more like sisters. And our team, a family. Having good teamwork creates a trust in your teammates, knowing they have your back. Teamwork isn’t solely about the way a team physically works together, but how it does mentally. Being a good teammate is also about picking up another if they’re having an off-day cheering on the team, picking up the slack that someone else left behind. A team that has chemistry and works together will beat any team that plays simply as a group of individuals. B elieve in yourself (and your teammates)
Having faith in yourself and teammates is self-explanatory.
Softball is 90-percent mental and 10-percent skill. With so much emphasis on the mental aspect of the game, it’s essential that your head is in the right state of mind. Confidence is key. Approaching a situation with an optimistic outlook and believing in yourself or your teammate will more likely result in a positive outcome. I always do my best to keep in perspective that no matter if something isn’t going my way on a particular day, the key is: Regardless of the situation, remain positive, remain focused on the positives and never lose belief in the ability that you or your teammates truly have. A ttitude
Attitude is another critical element in softball.
At many players’ younger ages, poor attitude is a reoccurring issue. Crying, stomping off the field, talking back to coaches, I’m sure many players out there can attest to these examples. However, with age, players see how important having a good attitude really is. Attitude, mannerisms and effort can and usually are determining factors of making a team, earning playing time and can even make or break a college recruiting decision. You never want to look back on a missed opportunity knowing it was because you were “uncoachable”, rude or a prima donna. The best ways to stay in tune with your attitude are to ask yourself how you’re handling critique, keep an eye out on your mannerisms on and off of the field and determine if you would appreciate a teammate like yourself. Though attitude changes with age, it's always best to be positive. L ove the game
Players who have a passion for softball treat every game, every practice and every workout with happiness. We just simply love softball.
Loving the game is looking forward to every opportunity you get to be on the field. It’s having fun playing the sport. It’s urging a parent, a sibling, a friend, “Let’s go practice!” As I have learned over the years, when you have a positive stance on something -- a desire, a determination -- the chances are in your favor that you will have great success. L ifelong memories
Some of the biggest things I have gotten from softball over the years are the memories that I can look back on.
Softball has given me the opportunity to meet a countless number of people, create lifelong friendships, travel the country and experience the game at its best. Good, bad, comical and wild, I have recollections that fulfill every category. With much more softball ahead of me, I am more than excited to experience what is to come and the new memories that will be shaped. Years down the road, if I can take anything away from the game, it will definitely be the memories that are forever ingrained. When all is said and done, the most important thing is to embrace every moment, treasure the friendships and truly take in the experiences that softball brings.