At COLLEGE ATHLETES CONNECT, 360U gives our athletes an opportunity to learn from the game's best. 360U conducts on-going surveys with current and former collegiate softball players to share their experiences, feedback and give advice to all of our 360U softball athletes and families!!
5.10.17 In today's survey, we asked our college athletes:
How important is and how do you control the mental part of the game?
Growing up, I never realized how important the mental part of the game was. I was only taught the fundamentals and how to physically be a better player. Now as a college athlete, I’ve found that the mental part of the game is what separates the good players from great players, and average teams from championship teams. Controlling the mental part of the game is by far the most difficult aspect of softball. The most prevalent way that I control the mental part of the game is by constantly reminding myself that I can do what I put my mind to and that I will, despite what happened in previous plays or previous at-bats. I have done it and I will do it.
Controlling the mental part of the game begins with a positive attitude towards anything that you are doing in the game of softball. It is so easy to get caught up with a bad at bat, or a play you messed up on in the field. I have found that to be successful you have to let it roll off your shoulders and keep moving on with the game. Reflect on what you can do better at the end, before you take on your next opponent.
The mental part of the game:
While most people say sports are physical I would argue it's more mental. Before each game we talk about how on paper we may be the more physically talented team, but we need to beat them mentally. If you are in a bad state mentally it affects your ENTIRE game. I can't stress this enough. If you have a bad at bat don't take it to the field and vise versa. If you are mentally tough you put yourself a notch above the competition.
The mental game is 100% more important than any physical talents. To be mentally involved requires hard work and dedication to push yourself and your teammates to be better. The most difficult part is staying strong mentally when things get tough on and off the softball diamond. The best way to control the mental part of the game is by trusting in your teammates and your coaches because softball is a team sport. All the talent in the world won't take you anywhere without your team. That is why the mental part of the game is so important.
It is extremely important to control the mental aspect of the game. Without the control, and mental toughness in the game it is very apparent that is what can set a team apart from those who are more successful. The two leading components that decipher a winning team is the physical and mental side. You can physically compete against any team however, if you don't have the mental grit it can cause a lack of focus, quiet atmosphere in the field, or negative effects towards your teammates. The steps I take to stay mentally tough is to constantly refocus through visualization, reflecting on my game goals offensively/defensively, combatting negative thoughts with positivity, and creating lots of energy in the dugout and on the field.
3.28.17 In today's survey, we asked our college athletes:
Explain the importance of everyone playing their role on the team, even bench players.
No matter where you're placed everyone holds a very important role. Many athletes associate the bench with a negative reputation. The bench is meant to act as the most energy filled, positive place for all your teammates. On the field every individual maintains loud vocal communication, positive energy and focus. The same goes for the next relief pitcher, pinch hitter or pinch runner. Each role is equally important as everyone has a purpose, and contributes in different ways to ensure the overall teams success.
Players have to understand that there are so many key components that make a team successful. Only 9 players can be on the field at the same time, but every player provides a part. Cheering in the dug out, pinch hitting, and pinch running are all so important. You were obviously put into a situation for a reason at that moment in time, roll with it and own it.
Softball is a sport where all positions and all players must work together to work towards a common goal. There is never a game or situation where one person will cause a definite win or loss. All members of a softball team must be engaged and ready to contribute, whether they are starters or bench players. Everyone will have an opportunity to help their team in various ways and it is crucial that each teammate knows their role and how to best make their team successful. There are only nine spots that can be filled on a field at once, but at the same time, no successful team has ever played with only nine players. It is so important that everyone contributes in some positive way and this unselfishness will ultimately be most beneficial to the success of a team.
I never realized the importance of roles on a team until I had knee surgery the summer after my sophomore year of high school. I was absolutely devastated, but I didn’t want to miss any tournaments with my team, so I went to every single one even though I couldn’t play! I learned more about the game of softball sitting out than I ever have in my life. Constant communication on the field and the dugout is so important in order for a team to be successful. Another person in the dugout is just an extra voice, and an extra set of ears and eyes for your team. Softball is not just about going out and making plays. It is a team effort and it requires effort physically, verbally, and mentally. Even if you are not on the field because of an injury, it is important to be selfless and continue cheering on your teammates. It is not all about you, it is about your team, your family.
2.28.17 In today's survey, we asked our college athletes:
What is the best advice you can give to youth/high school softball players?
A mistake or error is the best learning opportunity for players; try not to get upset from it and be willing to correct it for the next time.
Let yourself fall in love with the game. Softball will take you on some of the best journeys, meet some of the best people, & teach you so much about yourself as a player, but more importantly, a person.
Work on your own outside of practice. This is where you will separate yourself from others. Whether its in your garage or standing in front of a mirror going through your swing, every little bit counts.
My advice is not to complain. It may be cold out there, it may be early, and maybe you are tired, but you will look back one day and realize how much fun it really is and you'll miss those 8am games and games you played in the snow.
To invest the time in your future goal of being a college athlete early, the time you put in and dedicate will be what you get out of it.
Stay humble, stay focused, stay blessed, stay hungry, and you will reach success.
1.16.17 In today's survey, we asked our collegiate athletes:
What did you do differently growing up to separate yourself in front of your coaches?
When growing up, I made sure to give it my all and try my hardest at every single practice and game to show my coaches how much I cared about the game and the team.
I was always the one who was willing to contribute to the team in any way needed. If my coach wanted me to be in a position I don't normally play, or I was just hitting that game I always worked at that position the best way I knew how to.
When I was growing up I did my best to out work those around me to separate myself in front of coaches.
Personally introduced myself whenever the opportunity presented itself, stayed very loud, positive/upbeat, and constantly supported teammates or celebrated the little things in each play or at bat.
I always stayed after practice to get extra reps, or I would practice on days when there wasn't a scheduled practice.