Excellence, success, we're all after it. However, you won't achieve it if you can't do the little things right. Bruce Barton said, “Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things.”
The funny thing about “little things” is they often become BIG things. So if you want to do big things right, like win games, or even championships, make sure you take care of the little things!
3 Reasons Why Little Things Matter
As mentioned before, little things often turn into big things, so never let them slide! Little things added up over time create BIG results, good or bad, depending on whether or not you take care of them, so make it a point to do them well.
You must walk before you can run. In other words, you can't expect the big things to go well for you when you don't start with the little things first. Do the little things right day in and day out and eventually you will find yourself doing the big things right too. However, it doesn't happen overnight. Be patient with yourself. Start small, keep taking those baby steps, and eventually the big things will come.
Little things, that happen daily, give you the opportunity to make excellence a habit. Big things usually happen less frequently. So if you want to create the good habits necessary for success, the way to do that is through the little things that happen often. Success comes through a series of baby steps taken over a long period of time, not by doing one or two big things every once in a while. Stop focusing so much on making big things happen. Be diligent about doing small things well over and over and over again.
Think about it. How are you doing on the little things? Do you make it a point to do them right? Or are you overlooking them in favor of “more important” things?
Fastpitch softball is simple… hit, run, score. Throw the ball. Catch the ball. But simple and easy are not the same thing! With so much to cover over the course of a season, with so much to teach, it's very easy to let the little things slide. I challenge you, however, not to.
Here are 7 “little things” teams let slide far too often. I know they may not seem that important, but remember, little things become big things. Do them right!
Is your dugout neat and orderly? Or are bags and pieces of equipment thrown about leaving the dugout looking more like an obstacle course than a well kept space? There are several reasons a neat and orderly dugout is important. ..
–It makes it easy for your team to get in and out quick during innings –It's just plain safer (you don't need someone getting hurt because they tweaked their ankle on a ball or other pieces of wayward equipment laying on the ground)
–It means you're taking good care of your equipment which means you'll get to use it longer
–It shows you care about what you do and have pride in and respect for the game
If you see players walking on the field, ever, this is an area that can improve. You should see hustle in and out of the dugout. You should see hustle between practice stations. You should see hustle in and out of water breaks.
Hustle also means running through the bag, not to it. Finish with the best you have. Never stop short. Never let up. Never give up. Finish strong. This mindset is not only important for running, but in how you play the game.
Hustle keeps you in the game from beginning to end. Hustle shows you care about what you do and how much you WANT to be there. Hustle shows you're willing to give your best even when it's not required by someone else.
Hustle matters. Hustle wins games!
MOBILE DEVICE USE
The use of mobile devices is so much more common now more than ever. However, a player's need for it on the field has not increased one iota since back before mobile phones were common. Yet, players often stay attached to their device right up until the start of practice or game. Even while their teammates help set up, players are still focused on their phone! I've also seen players go in their bag to check their phone during/throughout a practice or game. There is really no need for this. There's no reason players can't put their phones away at least 10 minutes prior to start time and keep them away until after the team is dismissed for the day.
When I was in college, swearing was not allowed. When our local high school teams play on TV, coaches often remind them about their language. Players trying to get recruited often watch their tongue if scouts are in the stands. If it's good enough for you do to when you want to be on your “best behavior” it's good enough for EVERY day. Again, we're talking about creating the right habits that will help you be successful when it matters most. This means practicing these habits daily vs expecting yourself to just do them right once, on the ONE occasion when it really matters. If it's good enough for your most important day, it's good enough for EVERY day. If swearing isn't acceptable in front of the umpire or in front of your most important spectator, it's not acceptable on the field at all.
From my experience, most leagues have the same appearance rules from game to game. Shirts must be tucked in, certain jewelry is not allowed, etc. Rules don't change from week to week or game to game so players know exactly what's expected of them. Therefore, there is no reason for games to be stopped because a player is improperly equipped.
If you're a player trying to secure playing time, get this right without being told! If you can't even bother to show up to the field the way you're supposed to, why should the coach trust you to do what you're supposed to do during the game? If you want your coach to trust you with bigger things, like playing time, make sure he or she can trust you with the little things, like showing up to the game properly dressed!
Plus, a neat appearance, like hustle, just shows that you care about and have pride in being a softball player!
SHOWING UP ON TIME
This is a skill that translates easily into life. Coaches agree, if you're on time you're late. Showing up on time doesn't mean you're at the field when practice starts. It means you're already ready to start training BEFORE practice starts. Your bag is put away, your equipment is in it's proper place, your shoes are on your feet, your shoelaces are tied, and you're ready to GO when the coach calls everyone up to start practice. Showing up on time allows you to get the most out of your training, minimizes distractions, and allows the team to get off to a good start each day.
Team yells are typically done at the start and at the end of a game or practice. Therefore, make it a point to always start well and end well.
Your “before” team yell should be your best, most enthusiastic yell. It sets the tone for your practice or game. If you were heading into the championship game, what would your yell be like? Do that every time. If you want to be a champion, you must train like one daily.
At the end of your game or practice, no matter what the outcome, no matter how good or bad the day went, no matter how tired or how energetic you feel, give a great team yell! Do it as if you just won the championship game. Don't allow outside circumstances to affect how you do this simple task.
One of the biggest problems players and teams have is they allow less than ideal circumstances to affect how they perform. When things don't go well, they don't play well. Obviously this is a problem.
You can practice overcoming this starting with your team yell. Don't allow how you feel at the beginning or end of a practice or a game affect how you do your yell. Make it great every time. Practice giving your best yell no matter what. It's the first step in learning how to give your best when you play no matter what adversity comes your way. Your team yell gives you an opportunity to What about you? Where can you get better? What little thing can you be more excellent at today and every day? Get started now by choosing ONE thing and making a point to do it well every chance you get. To your ultimate success on and off the field.
Stacie started playing fastpitch softball at the age of 9 and Founded All About Fastpitch in 2004. Stacie also served as the Chief Marketing Officer at Softball Performance. She currently blogs about Fastpitch softball at StacieMahoe.com. Her perspectives on the game as a former player, current coach, and current softball parent provide unique insights on various softball issues. Visit her website at StacieMahoe.com
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