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Building Ballpark Stars
11 December 2012

Softball & Baseball WA FOUNDATION CORE workshop, 12th December2013

story by Tim Widdicombe

Two and a half years ago I attended a Rowing Developing Champions workshop at the Department of Sport and Recreation. This workshop was co-presented by Kate Bobridge and WAIS athletes Amber Bradley and Jesse Phillips. Since that workshop I have been able to use the skills I learnt in my emerging international rowing career. Today I was able to return the favour and co-host a workshop to a group of budding young Baseballers and Softballers with Kate.

It was a very large group of kids, almost 30 young athletes, and ranged in age and experience from 12 year old club players to 16 year old state team stalwarts. Luckily we had help on hand with the likes of Luke Hughes, major league baseballer, Tim Kennelly, Perth Heat star, and Leigh Godfrey and Jodie Stephenson from the Aussie Spirit Softball Team. Having some of these young ballers’ heroes available for advice was definitely a help to both Kate and I, and the young athletes themselves.

The plan for today’s workshop was to cover the core foundations for my success modules; ‘Understanding Me’, ‘Managing Me’ and ‘My Pathway’. The ‘Understanding Me’ and ‘Managing Me’ modules were run simultaneously as they involved teaching the athletes to understand their moods, feelings and stresses and how to manage the performance impact of external factors like these. The athletes were also taught how to understand their individual strengths and weaknesses and were encouraged to try and focus on eliminating or reducing their weaknesses to improve themselves as players. We also looked at managing time and priorities to get the best out of ourselves.

After a short break for some dinner we moved onto the ‘My Pathway’ module. This was all about goal setting and the athletes learned to set a major goal that may take several years to achieve, but also to set smaller goals that they would achieve and tick off their lists on the way.

As the workshop wound up I walked around the room to chat to some of the kids and their mentor players. Whilst most had a major goal of striking it rich and playing Major League baseball or National Softball representation, it was great to see that almost all the young athletes had set a goal to finish school or to gain entry to a college or university. This was very encouraging, that these kids were willing to continue on their sporting pathway of success but were also still able to keep an eye on the bigger picture of having a life waiting for them after sport.

Hopefully the lessons learned from today’s workshop will stick in the mind of at least one or two of these young athletes as they did for me and we will see them on an international stage for years to come!

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