This is an interview I conducted with Chelsea Whalley-Brennan, Program Manager of PFX Athletics. Recorded from Clermont, Florida at the PFX Athletics Spring Games – Produced By Gary Leland
“Mesurement of Success” Written By Shannon McDougall
When you think of the word success in the context of sports, the first thing that most times comes to mind is winning. The first question that most people will ask when you told them you were just playing or coaching a game is “Did you win?”
I believe there are numerous ways to measure success. Yes the outcome of a game is one way however when we can include the successes that make us a better player and a better person on the field you have to think at the end of the day they will bring you success in as many ways as winning a game will. Here are some things to consider:
- Improved Softball Skills
- The ability to use sport skills off the field
Improved Softball Skills
We all have a starting point at the beginning of the season in softball. We may be starting as a beginner way up to an advanced elite player. The thing to remember is that there are so many components of this game that there is always something that we can improve on. Either as a coach or a player.
As a Player
If you can break down your skills and look at what you improved on and how you want to get better, it will allow you to focus on the process. There is no doubt that everyone improves on skills to some degree in a season. It may be the precision of the skills or the ability to execute with more confidence under various conditions. When yourecall improvements, write them down in a journal so you can reflect on them and maybe even use them for planning your success for the following season. You may need to use your coach to assist you in this activity as they are constantly observing your skills, as I am sure you are aware.
Skills Improvement Check list for Players:
- Technical skills
- Tactical skills
- Mental training skills
- Getting along with team mates
- Relations with officials
- Relations with the coaches
- Work ethic (focus during practices and games on working hard)
- Self direction (ability to work hard without being told to)
As a Coach
As coaches, we need to always be reflecting back on a season and documenting the things that we want to improve on. It may be our relations with our players, it may be our abilities to manage a game or how to ad variety to practices so that our players learn and have fun at the same time. This is our successes. We often use the scoreboard because that is what the associations and spectators or parents use. We need to ensure that we are focusing on our coaching and leadership abilities as much as our players abilities because we are the ones that can have the most productive influence on how they improve. As we know the number of areas that can be improved are many. I measured my success on my teams by the number of returning players. Yes I had successes on the scoreboard however my biggest goal was to develop players and I was very successful at that.
Some Skills to improvement checklist for Coaches:
- organization skills
- technical knowledge
- tactical knowledge
- player relations
- mental training skills
- mental training skills knowledge
- relations with officials
- relations with parents
- physical skills knowledge
Ability to use sports skills off the field
There are so many skills from softball that can be taken off the field and into our daily lives. When we learn to interact with others during a game or practice it is much like interacting with friends or family when at school or home. When that game is an important one like in a tournament, we need the skills to be able to perform stressful conditions. How many times have you encountered stress away from the field? Have you considered using relaxation or cue words for example to get through that situation? You would be amazed at the similarities. The complexity of this sport demands that you think of at least 3 things all at one time while doing one of them. There are also many rules that need to be learned. When you find yourself feeling like you can not learn something new at school or work, think about how many things you need to know about this game. I bet the number of things is not that different. There are 12 rules in softball but many, many more sub rules. That is a lot of information. You have to admit you are pretty smart if you can play this game.
The main thing to remember when evaluating your season’s success is that it is YOUR success. You need to ensure that you do not compare yourself to others when considering what you have been able to achieve from the season and EVERYONE does achieve something. If you are having difficulty finding something, talk to team mates or coaches or supporters. You will find that in many leagues even officials will notice improvements because they love this game as much as we do.
Write down your successes at the end of every season and write down areas where you would like to improve. This will give you something to focus on that is not outcome oriented for the net season and something to look at when the season ends. Review them throughout the season as well to see how you are doing with them. And give yourself credit… (a high five) you have learned and done much more than you likely think you have.
Isn’t this game great!!
Issue 35 of The Fastpitch Magazine Published By Gary Leland
I am happy to bring you this month’s issue of the Fastpitch Softball Magazine, which is now available on your Apple devices, and available for Android devices too.
Welcome to issue 35 of the Fastpitch Magazine. The Fastpitch magazine has been bringing you more fastpitch softball than anyone on the planet for two full years.
This month Mitch Alexander writes about “USSSA Elite Select All american Tryouts”
Bill Plummer says “NCAA Crowns 3 National Softball Championships”.
Charity Butler writes “6 Tips to Increasing Your RBI”.
Arron Weintraub’s article is about “Awareness”.
Jen Cronebeger writes “Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist”.
The Exclusive video this month is my interview with LSU Head Coach, Beth Torina.
Michelle Diltz is back with “Part 3, Preparing for Battle″.
Keri Casas is here with her article “Creating a Foundation”.
Dr. Sherry Warner returns with “Leg Drive and Weight Lift”.
Robb Behymer writes “Your Legacy Starts Here”.
As well as my 10 Questions interview with pitching legend and former Olympian Lisa Fernandez.
All this and more in this months issue.
Choose from iTunes, or Andorid
This is an interview I conducted with Head Coach Cheryl Milligan of The Tufts University Softball Team “Jumbos”. Recorded from Clermont, Florida at the PFX Athletics Spring Games – Produced By Gary Leland
3-Time Olympian Lisa Fernandez answers my 10 Questions. Written by Gary Leland
Olympic Gold medalist (1996, 2000, 2004)
Hometown: Long Beach, California.
Q. How old were you when you started playing softball?
A. I started playing softball when I was 7 years old, for the little miss softball fastpitch association. Prior to that it was just sports clinic and rec ball.
Q. Was there anyone special in your life that helped you become a great player?
A. My parents were instrumental in my career. My Father is cuban and played semi-pro baseball over there. And my Mother grew up playing slowpitch. So I was always around the game.
As I continued to grow and develop, I’d have to say Dot Richardson. She really took me to the next level. I played with her on the Brakettes, and the Nationals team. We were teammates since the early 90’s.
Q. How do you get ready for a game?
A. I’m so superstitious its crazy, from when I get up to what I eat to how I get dressed to what I watch on TV. Whatever makes me feel like I’m going to have that extra edge against my opponents.
Q. What do you like to do when you are not involved with softball?
A. Well before having children, back in the day competing was the priority, so anything that was low key. Reading books, going to movies, relaxing spending time with friends and family.
Q. What factors do you feel have influenced you the most to become the player and you are today?
A. Physically I don’t think I’m different than anyone else, but from what people have said it’s my mentality. I’ve been blessed with some physical skills, but I have pushed myself farther than most would go. To me I have a growth mindset, its about learning and maturing, and growing. Failure is nothing more than a way to inspire me to become better.
Q. What is your favorite softball memory?
A. Of course, everyone might say the championships and the medals, but for me it was the loses. I remember some heartbreaking loses that made the biggest impact on my career. I found the inner message within each one, that helped me learn what I needed to know.
Q. How much value do you place on mental training? Do you have any advice for others in this area?
A. I think mental preparation is huge. I think visualization is huge. I think that’s what seperates the good from the great. Physically all these athletes are talented but it’s really the mentality thats going to show who’s going to get the job done under pressure. What do you do when no one’s watching?
Q. What is the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome in your playing and/or coaching career?
A. Probably the biggest obstacle was when I was maybe 13, I was told I would never be able to pitch because my arms weren’t long enough that I wasn’t built for it. Yet once again my parents were very instrumental in teaching me work ethic and that I better make up for those differences in my mental toughness. How hard was I willing to work to be able to be the best that I can be.
Q. What is life after softball for you?
A. I’m still in it! The game is in my blood, I’m coaching at UCLA and I can’t see myself doing anything else.
Q. What was it like coming back to your Alma Mater as a coach at UCLA?
A. Well I think that’s many players dreams. There was a reason why I picked UCLA as a recruit. To me it’s the greatest institution that provides both academic excellence, and the ability to take you to the next level physically with athletic excellence. The bruin family has done so much for me, I’ve always been able to hit up the “405” and there I’ve got a place I’m welcomed with open arms.
The 2015 WCWS has been so rewarding. It’s been an honor to be here as a coach to help these students reach for their dreams.
I have people asking me all the time for information on illegal softball bats, and which bats are currently approved. I found the ASA Non-Approved Bat List and added the file below. I hope this helps in making your next bat purchase, and don’t forget to visit Softballjunk.com to take $30 Off! Promo Code: fptv30.
ASA Softball – (February 18, 2015) This list depicts the previously ASA certified bats that failed an ASA sponsored field audit and that also carry the 2000 or 2004 ASA Certification Mark. This list is intended for informational purposes only.