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Softball Performance Tips – Surviving the Tryout Season

By Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

softball-tryoutsYes, it’s hard to believe we’re already in the thick of tryout season. All the comfort of knowing what the days ahead will look like is gone, replaced by that feeling in the pit of your stomach over all the uncertainty that will be dominating your thoughts for the next week or two.

That feeling applies to both players and coaches, by the way. For the players it’s obvious, especially if you’re trying out for a new team.

Suddenly you’re being judged and evaluated by a group of strangers who don’t know your track record. You have to perform right here, right now if you want to be selected. It can be very nerve-wracking, which doesn’t help your performance any.

Yet it can also be stressful for coaches. You can look at all the skills you want, but it doesn’t answer how a player will perform in a game situation, what type of teammate she will be, how high maintenance her parents will be, what kind of game knowledge she has, etc.

In both cases it can be tough because you’re presumably making a long-term decision. Choose correctly and you’re in good shape. Choose poorly and it could make for a very miserable year.

The big key to survival is actually the same strategy for success in a game — focus on the process instead of the result. You can drive yourself crazy worrying about what might happen, especially when it involves things beyond your control. Instead, you want to focus on the things you can control.

As a player, focus on this event, right now, and no others. If you’re fielding ground balls, focus on your process – see it in, get your hands on it and make the throw. For hitting, see ball/hit ball. If you miss, let it go immediately and focus on your next opportunity.

In other words, do your best. Give 100 percent and let the chips fall where they may. Just keep in mind that even if you do your best you may not be selected for your dream team — even if you ought to be. That’s something beyond your control.

As a coach, know what you’re looking for ahead of time. What’s important to you — speed, power hitting, game sense, good person — and what you’re willing to give up. Set up your priorities but remember you may not get your ideal players so be prepared to be flexible. Most importantly, remember that whoever you choose, you’re going to have to live with them the next year. Stay with your vision and you’ll do ok.

Tryout season can be stressful. But if you focus on the right things you’ll come out of it ok.

Anyway, that’s the way I see it.

 

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