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Preparing for Softball Success
4 April 2016

 

WA Softball: Foundation Elective Workshop

4 April 2016, Mirrabooka State Softball Complex
 
Story by Maia Simmonds, WAIS athlete, World Championship and World Cup Australian Rowing Team representative

 

 

On Sunday morning Heather and I met up with the softball group out at the State Softball Complex at Mirrabooka. I was excited to be working with softball for my first Developing Champions workshop as I grew up playing softball and was with my team 8 years before the rowing took over! The girls were a mix of players from across different State age group teams and this gave everyone a great opportunity to learn from players they might not regularly come into contact with. It was really helpful to have some of the U19 girls there to give an insight into their routines and the self-management that their longer playing experience has allowed them to develop.

 

We started with identifying how much we thought about and practiced mental skills. Unsurprisingly it wasn’t an area many of the girls felt they often worked on. We discussed how routines pre-match help control and focus mental energy as much as they helped us warm up our bodies and hone bat/ball skills before the game. Replicating a well-known routine before high-pressure games or in a new location can ensure confidence and focus from the first pitch.

The girls discussed and outlined how each of their respective teams used their preparation time. It was interesting for everyone to learn that the U19 team allocated a 20 minute window for athletes to do any individual routines that they found helpful. It is certainly important to know that different things work for different people and one of the fascinating parts of a team sport is learning how each of your teammates works and what they need.

After a break three somewhat willing victims put up their hands to play a swift round of celebrity heads. During this game I learned that "visible eyebrows” are a valid physical identifier for narrowing down possibilities. And that apparently Taylor Swift has them!

This led us into a discussion of role models (more of the sporting genre, though T Swift is always up there), and what we admire in those people. We talked about how the girls saw each other and how they saw themselves and whether those aligned. This led us into discussions about personal branding and social media presence, which are important, even when you feel that your sport isn’t highly visible. We talked about how positive social media can be when used well and that a good check is to think about whether you’d want your grandparents to read what you post!

Lastly we had a look at nutrition. Coming from a lightweight rowing background this always has to be pretty central to my life so it was interesting to get an insight from a sport played across a longer time period and particularly to think about nutrition across tournaments with multiple games in a day. One of the most important things for the girls is fluid consumption across long multi-game days and also planning ahead so they have enough fuel for the day.

 

It was a great morning and I loved having the opportunity to meet the girls and learn the intricacies and different skills that are important in a team sport like softball. Hopefully the workshop gave them some new ideas to think about over the winter period and help them to prepare for a great WA performance next season!

 
 
 
 
 
 

   
 
 
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