With the excitement of great preseason matchups, and our Huskies off to a good start, we were interested to know what our young athletes were thinking. We lead with the question, “Who is your favorite softball player”? There were crickets. We were shocked that 150 young ladies who aspire to play college ball, have NO COLLEGE ROLE MODEL. This was a huge wakeup call because growing up in California we worshiped the UCLA softball players. It was going to UCLA games that sparked our vision of playing ball in college. Meeting our favorite player after the game, getting a picture with her, and having her sign a team poster that hung on our wall growing up kept our vision of play college softball alive on a daily basis.
It is easy for coaches to see value in playing games, and practicing. It is much harder to see the value in watching a game. The truth is, watching the best of the best take the field is honest, pure, information playing out right in front of your eyes. It is not a skill video online, it is not coach dad trying his best to translate the video to you, it is not your instructor nit picking every wrong detail. Watching a game allows them to see with their own eyes, allows them to make their own opinions, and forces them to think creatively about softball (as long as they don’t spend half the game staring at their phones lol). Watching the best offers up dreams of what could be, shows the good and bad of the sport, and has the ability to draw in lifelong interest in the sport.
Now, girls are not going to learn some advanced mechanics from just watching, but what they can study is: How do they warm up? How consistent are their cuts off Live BP? What do players do in between pitches? How do they react after an error? How do they celebrate? What pitches are throw and when? When is small ball used? These are examples of things girls can pick up and implement immediately in their own game. They will quickly learn that every player on the field has a job, and players in the dugout are always engaged.
GAIN CONFIDENCE & MOTIVATION
Last spring as we were finishing up lessons at a local Seattle park, a Little League tee ball game was beginning. We decided to stick around for a few innings and it was pure entertainment! Six-year-old boys were walking around the field like pros. The infield consisted of 4 foot tall ballers with batting gloves dangling out of their back pocket, sunglasses sitting on the bill of their hat, and a fat chunk of Big League Chew in their cheek. The hitters confident as can be, stepped up to the plate like Mike Trout, but end up hitting the tee more than they did the ball. Where did all of this swag come from? They were simply mimicking what they see on tv and at the ball park. If the only thing our girls gain from watching college softball is POSITIVE, CONFIDENT body language, that is more than enough. Watching and simulating their favorite athletes will help open up their mind to a new level of excellence that they can reach.
CATCH SOME GAMES!
College season has kicked off and ESPN has launched a HUGE TV game schedule, not to mention games that are streamed online. There are also so many options to watch college ball in our very own back yard! We have every level of college ball available to us here in the Northwest. Links to some college schedules are below:
- ESPN Softball Schedule
- University of Washington Schedule
- Western Washington University Schedule
- Central Washington University
- University of Puget Sound Schedule
- Pacific Lutheran University Schedule
- St. Martins University Schedule
- Bellevue College Schedule
At the end of the day, we don’t want to be someone’s favorite player anymore. We are humbled that some girls chose us as their favorite players. Now they only choose us because they spend time with us, because we are who is teaching them to play. They need to start following the carrier of someone currently walking the path they want to take. These girls need to get out of the facility, off the field, and get out to watch and STUDY the game.