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Softball Success in the Sun
13 December 2015

 

 

SOFTBALL; Foundation Core workshop

13 December 2015, Softball WA

story by Jesse Phillips: WAIS & Canoeing Australia athlete (K2200m), World Cup & Olympic Games representative

There were 14 budding state softball players eager to take on new learning to enhance their sporting aspirations.

We worked through keys areas, which were:

Self-awareness / Mental States:Stress, Emotions and Ideal Performance States

These areas of understanding are increasingly important for young athletes heading higher and higher up their sporting pathway. The more pressure (perceived by) the athlete, the greater the practice of emotional regulation is required and this is only learnt when athletes have an understanding of both the theory and their own experience of how they handle/deal with stress.

One of softball players' most important areas to train is visual agility (visual Cues, as discussed in the workshop). The stressful components of softball come from so many areas for both batting and fielding teams.

The ball is the critical focal point, but as a batter one must consider field position, pitchers body and subtle change-ups (watching the ball out of the hand), then using depth perception they must judge how long they have to try and make base. Then when on the base, again, from a different perspective they judge whether they can jump to the next base or home. All this is being filtered through the eyes, along with team game plans etc.

That is a LOT of stress; so practicing the elements which can be controlled by the individual becomes vital for athletes with big dreams in the sport.

Self-Management:Priorities, Motivation and Lifestyle Management

When the increasing training load of young athletes grows so does the need for better planning and concrete time management practices - to juggle the increasing demand on their time.

A big help is using annual, monthly, and weekly timetables (available on the DC website here ) as well as a diary for daily changes and updates to any longer-term plans.

These elements can be challenging for some, as they don't come naturally. I have always been a challenged athlete with time management (my problem is I try fit more into a day that can reasonably be expected) often leading to overlaps in travel time and arrival time. Putting me 5-10mins behind my expected arrival time.

I have learnt (and I am still learning) to ensure that with planning practices I can manage these instances to ensure I am on time every time. It is a matter of practice (as it is not in my naturally learnt disposition) and you can get out of the habit after a holiday period or if you have had a break from being busy. Then:Practice, practice, practice!

Goals:Performance Planning for Success

All the girls had high dreams after we completed an outcome goal assessment, such as: "To make the Aus Team", "2024 Olympic Team", "National Team and become a Physiotherapist"

These dreams were then broken down into process goals (or step by step targets) that zoom in on the specifics of how the larger scope would be achieved.

This has always been a critical part of achieving goals, planning, and even more so writing down the parts of your story before they manifest.

When I first started out I would record all of my race times over each of the distances. This would then be a tracked measurement for the next time I raced. This small amount of effort went a long way as it drove me to find out how to get faster and faster throughout my development.

Success is not chance it is planned execution!

For your interest, see here a recent story about Jesse (and paddling partner Steve), and their recent success at a Grand Prix meet CLICK HERE

 
 

   
 
 
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