As the spring season gets underway, I feel it is important to speak on the topic of in-game awareness and mental preparedness. How many of you have watched your son’s or daughter’s teams in the past and seen a player field a ball and either throw it to the wrong base/person or have no clue what to do with it??
The game of baseball, and especially the game of softball, happens way too quickly for its participants to act in the moment, or make split-second decisions every time the ball finds them! Mental preparation for this game begins long before the players take the field! At the youth ages, (7-14) it is primarily the coach’s responsibility to make sure his or her players are prepared to play this game, not only physically, but mentally!! Yogi Berra said, “Baseball is 90 percent mental, the other half is physical.” Take from that what you will, but solely focusing on drill work, fielding, hitting, pitching mechanics etc… is not enough!! Especially these days, where kids have so much more going on in their lives, distracting them from the task at hand while on the ball diamond.
Challenge your players to know the game they play, inside and out. I am amazed at how many young and young adult baseball/softball players lack basic baseball/softball knowledge! It did not used to be this way!