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mental training for softball

3 Softball Pitching Necessities

Youth Softball Pitcher PitchingBy Stacie Mahoe

There are 3 things that can help softball pitchers a great deal.  In fact, these 3 things are practically necessities for great softball pitchers.  No, I’m not talking about speed, a great change up, and movement, though those things are most definitely beneficial to pitchers.  I’m actually talking about 3 things that are completely unrelated to the physical task of pitching a softball.  What are they?

Selective Hearing

One of THE most talked about players on a team is the pitcher.  When they do well, they can get a lot of credit.  On the flip side, when things go badly, they can often get the blame for a lot of it (even if it’s not necessarily from teammates or coaching staff). People will definitely talk and if a pitcher hears it all and focuses too much on the negativity that can surround that position, it can be detrimental to their confidence, their focus, and ultimately, to their performance.

Also, pitchers tend to have at least one parent who will try to “coach” them from the stands in some way shape or form.  While, as a parent, I completely understand that this parent is really, truly trying to help, I also know, as a former player who was on the receiving end of those “helpful” tips, that the good intentions of parents are not what comes through on the other side.  Too often I see pitchers (and other players too) who lose focus on what’s important, get frustrated, or lose confidence in themselves because of their parent’s “help.”

So having the ability to filter out the “noise” or distractions as a pitcher is critical to your success.

Tunnel Vision

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Softball Pitching: The Panic Face is Not Allowed

Fastpitch Softball PitcherBy Stacie Mahoe

Have you seen that look on a softball pitcher’s face before?  The panic look?  I know I have…and when I’m on the other end of that look (in the batter’s box) I KNOW I have that pitcher beat!  I KNOW I’m going to hit the ball and make something happen.

One thing great pitchers know how to do is avoid that panic face at all costs. Great pitchers know how to keep “bummed out” feelings from showing on the outside.  Great pitchers can keep the same demeanor and just keep throwing even when all hell is breaking loose around them (in other words, when their defense is making errors left and right).  Whether they just struck out the side and are feeling confident or it’s the middle of the longest inning ever and they have reason to be frustrated, they look the same on the outside.  This is such a powerful skill to master, but it’s not always an easy thing to do, nor does it come easily to everyone.

So how can you get better with this?

Well, it starts with awareness.  Some pitchers may not even be aware of the signals they are sending with the look on their face or the change in their body language.  This is something that coaches may need to point out and work with their pitchers on.  If you’re a pitcher, get some feedback from your coaches or even our teammates about what they notice about you when you throw a mistake pitch or when you get frustrated or upset during a game.  What do you do?  How does your body language or facial expression change.  Knowing what you are currently doing or how you are weak in this area is the first step to making improvements.

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Mental Game: There Will Always Be Critics

fastpitch softball baserunnerBy Stacie Mahoe

If there’s anything I learned during my experiences with softball as a player, as a coach, and as a parent is that there will ALWAYS be critics and people who try to bring you down.   Just remember, the more time, attention, and energy you spend on those people the less time attention and energy you have to focus on improving yourself!

I’m not saying you can’t ever get upset by it or ever get mad or frustrated about it.  Those feelings are natural reactions. It’s part of being a human being. However, if you let this type of “outside” influence affect you day in and day out, you are never going to reach your full potential.  You have to have enough faith in yourself and what you do and in where you’re trying to go to in order to stay focused on what’s really important vs getting distracted by the obstacles and challenges that most certainly will arise as you progress through your season and your career.

This is why it’s so important to sit down and really think about what you want and where you’re going.  Doing so makes it even easier to see things that are taking you away from that direction.  Without a focus and directions it’s very easy to get off track and actually end up moving farther from your goals.  Mental game training is not something to be taken lightly. It’s a very important part of any athlete’s performance, yet often times we spend most, if not all of our time on only training ourselves physically.

Don’t forget to train your brain as well as your body. It’s definitely a critical element in softball performance and can be difference between being a good player and being a great player.

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Mental Training for Softball – A Super Mental Routine for Hitting Success

By Coach Marc

Everybody agrees on how important the mental game is in softball.

In order to perform at their best, an athlete wants to be “in the zone” (a state of mind where you are focused, confident, under control, things feel effortless, etc.). That state of mind is also known as  being “in flow” or the “ideal performance state”.  It allows to deliver your best performances.

Developing mental routines is one of the most powerful technique that you can use to get “in the zone”.  Here’s a video that explain how to develop a super mental routine for hitting success.

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Softball Mental Training – Habit of Success #2 – Commit to Continuous Learning

By Coach Marc

Here is the next habit of success to help you achieve all your dreams in the coming year.  Commit to these habit of success and you’ll experience tremendous success.

HABIT OF SUCCESS #2 – Commit to Continous Learning

Someone once said that the day you stop learning, you stop living.

A common characteristics of the most successful people in society is they are lifelong learners.

They have developped the key habit of continuous learning,  the habit of continuous personal and professionaldevelopment.

Just as you exercise physically on a regular basis to remain fit and healty, you must exercise mentally on a daily basis to become better and better in your chosen field.

There are all kinds of way to learn. You can read books. You can watch instructional DVDs. You can go to clinics or attend a seminar or a workshop. You can listen to CDs or downloaded audio material. You can surf the net. You can observe experts.

These are just a few examples.

Commit to continuous learning and you’ll experience more  success than ever before.

 

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Becoming A Top Softball Player – You’ve Got to Want It

By Coach Marc

Earlier this week, I was having a discussion with a very talented teen athlete.

Like many kids of that generation, she has it easy. She is used to get what she wants and do what she wants.

We were discussing her life goals and she mentioned she want to go far in softball.

However, she somewhat believe that it will naturally happen.

I had to wake her up and tell her that many talented athletes never go anywhere because they either don’t have the desire or they aren’t willing to work and make sacrifices for it.

It’s only a very small majority that do make it at a high level.

I think as coaches and parents, we need to really emphasize  that to our athletes and kids – especially those who are both talented AND somewhat spoiled.

They have to learn to make sacrifices and work for what they want.

Do they really want it? That is the question.

Something to think about and that needs to be drilled in the head of kids at earliest age possible.

 

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