We've (Team USA Softball) has lost to Japan in the past two Olympic Gold Medal games and it's about time we talk about WHY!
None other than Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist, Natasha Watley, is the PERFECT person to ask this question to as she has spent the last 13 years (after her 2008 Silver Medal) playing and now coaching in Japan inside their professional league.
The Japanese culture have mastered these two things:
DISCIPLINE - They practice 6+ hour practices every single day and they treat it as a full-time JOB which it is!
RESPECT - not only do they bow to the field before every practice and game they compete in, they give the most respect to the game by becoming as great as they can be at it. --and THAT is their biggest motivation
Now you may not know this, but teams in Japan are owned by LARGE corporations (like Honda and Toyota which we've all heard of) and their pro teams are a large line item in their budget because their mission is to be able to...
Have you ever looked at something, turned your head, and said: "What if I could use that thing to help me hit?!"
It's totally okay if you haven't...
I honestly think it's one of my crazy superpowers. Some of my students call me weird, and honestly, I'd agree with them.
I think my weirdness started when I went to a Notre Dame Softball camp at the age of 10 or 11 and at one of the hitting stations we used something called a "ChuckIt". We were told works on improving your barrel-whip.
In case you're curious and want to look it up, yep, it's a dog's toy. This is what my honest brain said when I picked it up: "How the heck is a DOG TOY supposed to improve my swing?!"
Guys, I was totally proven wrong...
You want your FASTEST part of your swing to (clearly) be at contact, and if you hold the "Chuckit" with one arm, take a swing and the ball "whips" out of the Chuckit at that point (contact) it will go up the middle. At first, I was extending my front arm (left arm and WEAKER arm!)...
COVID HIT US HARD! ...I'd be surprised if someone said they're not lacking a bit more confidence than normal!
Confidence comes from doing HARD things and doing whatever it takes to accomplish them, but being cooped up in the house under quarantine, addicted to social media, and having our phones and Netflix at our disposal 24/7 makes it pretty tough to do that.
Studies show --"Those who fail regularly, but keep getting up and trying again anyway, are better equipped to respond to challenges and setbacks in a constructive way."
So...I decided to give you a list of 10 resources (and a bonus of course 'cause I just couldn't stop myself!) that I have either created or learned that softball athletes can use *at their disposal ;) * to help boost your confidence RIGHT NOW. Some of these require HARD WORK, but I promise the harder it is, the more you're going to be proud of yourself and feel like a million bucks!
Here they are (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER!):
Have you ever wondered WHY your athlete may struggle with motivation from time-to-time? People are asking me this question a lot and my first response is always: "Does she have any goals?"
Oftentimes, the answer I get is "I don't really know."
How would you answer this question?
First off...I need to tell you there should be ABSOLUTELY no shame in not knowing the answer to this yet...most people don't!
And today, I'm going to share with you WHY it's important to know, and how you can start being a huge motivator in your athlete's life when you do!
Studies show, if someone has a goal and are constantly being reminded of where they're headed, they'll be more inspired to put the work into that goal, even on the days where it's hard and they don't want to. HECK when I wasn't inspired to practice on my own in high school, I remember my dad saying: "I thought you wanted to play D1 softball. If you did, you'd practice today."
Call it tough love...
Sometimes I sit and reflect on WHY I am the human being that I am...like WHY do I always set terrifying goals for myself that add insane amounts of nerves and butterflies to my tummy in the process?!
WHO MADE ME LIKE THIS?!
I'll tell you right now, it was my "Day Ones"...my parents.
They've always told me to reach for the stars.
And for that, I'm a go-getter.
They've always told me to walk before I run.
And for that, I'm a planner.
They've always told me to surround myself with people that are better than me.
And for that, I'm always elevating myself.
They've always told me to be humble.
And for that, it's always been hard for me to talk about myself.
They've always told me to work hard for the things I want most.
And for that, I WILL ALWAYS REACH FOR MORE!
I would never have reached the heights that I did in this game, and I most certainly wouldn't have had the confidence to start my very own training business without the guidance my parents gave me my entire life....
Tee work. Some people hate it, and I absolutely love it.
When a pitch is thrown in one of the nine hitting zones, an elite hitter’s body knows how to get there.
How the heck does it just know?!
Because the hitter repeatedly put their body in that position THOUSANDS of times before. Because they’ve taken thousands and thousands of reps, they have created a subconscious swing, so that when their brain decides to swing at a specific pitch, their body already knows what to do.
Think about yourself walking, or even breathing. You don’t have to think about doing it, it just happens. That’s a type of muscle memory. Your muscles remember what they need to do because they have done that specific movement over, and over, and over. Your legs know which muscles have to move when your brain decides to walk.
We want our bodies to know what to do when we want to swing at a high and inside pitch, for example. The more times I put my body in that position to...
Not many people know who mine is, but here it goes.
Whether you’d like to admit it or not, everyone has someone that they look up to. I think the term “role model” is seriously underrated. People say it’s cliché to have one, but I think they are too proud to admit it!
Everyone needs at least one human to learn HOW good people in this world should look and act in certain circumstances, especially the tough ones.
She will probably never know this, but Caitlin Lowe (4x All-American outfielder at Arizona Softball and USA Softball Olympic Medalist) was mine. Some of my favorite memories were hanging with my dad at night and watching her play on TV (and not tell mom that I stayed up super late!). I can’t remember what age I fell in love watching her play, but all I know is I grew up idolizing her.
She would rope hard slaps to the fences, lay down the most beautiful bunts and steal every...
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