She Has So Many Tournaments

Often parents will try to find time for a lesson amidst their daughter’s busy tournament schedule.  We are flexible and try to work with them, but sometimes they cannot find a suitable time to get with us.  I simply ask, “What is her goal for softball?”

If she simply wants to have fun and enjoy social time, go play a lot.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  If, however, the kid has big college dreams, her activities must be measured against her goals.

Not long ago I saw a promising young pitcher and was very disappointed in her performance.  She had gotten worse in the weeks since we last saw one another.  Why?  She admitted that she was playing all of the time and had not practiced for about two weeks.  She had gone from tournament to tournament, with a couple of exposure camps in the middle.  I asked when she was going to have time to work on movement, to correct form issues, and to develop her potential speed.  I was pretty tough on her, she responded well, and she got back to work.  A couple of weeks ago she accepted a full scholarship to pitch for a strong D1 college.  There is a difference between wanting to play and wanting to be a great player.

It isn’t always the kid who creates the problems.  A lot of parents are constantly trying to find places for their daughters to play on those weekends when their regular travel team is not in action.  They love playing more that practicing.  If a kid has goals, someone has to be the grownup and help her find time to develop.

One of our extremely good pitchers joined a high level travel team this fall.  Her first question to the coach was how often she would be required to play.  He was surprised, but she explained that she had very high goals and needed a few weekends to work on her skills.  He was impressed.  He agreed to help make that possible because he has a chance to win the country’s biggest national tournament next summer so he knows his pitchers must have great skills and that he must be committed to their development.

When we work with pitchers, I like to help them determine three priorities and then I ask how long it will take to master those things.  Many kids look stressed.  They have to go to school all week, have all of their homework done by Friday so they can leave for a weekend tournament, get home late Sunday, and rush through another week so they can make it to the next weekend tournament.  The three priorities we established seem impossible.  In other words, improving their skills will have to wait, but how long?

We recently talked to two different parents from different parts of the country who want to bring their daughters to work with me for the first time.  I asked each parent if the daughter was having specific problems.  Not at all.  They both have scholarships to great softball schools.  They simply feel that there is room for improvement.  I asked when they could come to Virginia and they both said they would work with my schedule.  Now I know why these kids are successful.  Development is the priority.

This made me look back at the incredible number of kids on our list who have gone on to succeed on the college level.  They did not measure success only by wins and losses.  Championships were just another step in their journey.  Receiving a scholarship was the start of something exciting instead of the end result. Despite their successes, they sensed there was room for growth and always wanted to find ways to reach new heights.

Games are exciting, but games are simply a way to receive feedback on your preparation and to determine new objectives.  Development happens one pitch at a time, one drill at a time, one practice at a time.  Development should be the priority if your goals are lofty.

Note:  Make plans now to join us January 24-25 for the second annual High Performance Pitching Camp between Richmond, Virginia and Washington, D.C.  Our Certified Instructors from around the nation will join us for two days of intensive training and information.  Last year’s event sold out quickly so watch for information.

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