Your Fix to Prevent ErrorsSoftball is all about fundamentals. Have you ever taken the time to analyze the game? It's a game of errors. The team that wins is often the team that makes the least amount of errors and doesn't beat itself with errors.
Serving the wrong pitch, throwing the ball two inches too high, mishandling the ball while fielding it or making the wrong decision in action are all the things that cost you runs and even games.
Errors are bound to happen in a game where everything happens so quickly. It's a game of reactions and quick decisions. Once the ball is delivered by the pitcher, you have no more time to think.
You've got to trust your ability to read the situation in an instant, react appropriately (choosing the right skill to execute at that moment), and train your "muscle memory" to properly execute that skill without errors. In almost all cases, all of this happens in less than one second.
Reading the situation and reacting appropriately without making errors is easy in a no-pressure, controlled environment such as in practice. However, doing the same thing quickly under pressure in a game is totally different story. It's much harder. That's why softball is a game of errors.
How do you minimize errors and make sure you can perform under pressure?First, you make sure you have proper mechanics for throwing, fielding, hitting, bunting and all other techniques. Second, you've got to make sure that when you execute a skill under pressure that your technique is the same than when you do it (or practice it) in a controlled environment. You achieve that by working on the fundamentals long enough that it becomes second nature. In other words, until you do it without even thinking about it, even when you do it quickly under pressure.
Your fundamentals must be right.
I've been working with my 16U team for 5 months now and most of what we have done on the technical side has been mostly on the fundamentals of the game. The players keep asking to do more advanced drills and plays but I will not until the fundamentals are right.
Right now, they are starting to look good in practice but when you push them a little (add some speed and pressure); they still revert back to some of their "old habits." This means that the "new stuff" isn't yet in their "muscle memory" and we have to keep working on it.
Learning fundamentals takes time. Keep working on it. It will be worth it once the season comes around.
Marc Dagenais, MHK, CSCS, is a softball peak performance coach. or for more FREE Tips on how to increase performance and develop talent, please visit www.softballperformance.com and sign-up for my “Softball Performance Secrets Journal”. You can also contact through the website.