09 Feb

Secret Formula to Success in Softball?!?

To become successful at anything in Softball as in life you must work very efficiently and do positive repetitive actions (positive reps). Reps done correctly are positive and aid in improvement. Reps done incorrectly are negative and have little to no benefit, even sometimes setting you back. With positive reps we can get our muscle memory to act by itself without thinking about it. Really a key to success to every part of the Softball game. 

So then is there a secret formula to success in Softball? Well probably the closest thing to a secret formula would be doing as many positive reps as possible. One positive rep you can do by yourself is to use what I call the “hidden gem” of softball training. What is that? Well what I consider the “hidden gem” is the bouncy ball better known as the tennis ball. It is a “hidden gem” because you only need yourself, a wall and the tennis ball to do as many positive reps as you want making it a valuable tool for softball training.

Just recently I sent a flipread of the My Softball Journey booklet to a genuinely nice lady I saw in a video about journaling for athletes. Her name is Cortnee White, M.Ed, LPC-Associate for The Institute of Sports Performance, Mental Performance Specialist. She kindly responded with very positive thoughts on my booklet. She said she wishes all Coaches would have their athletes use a journal booklet like mine for every sport. She also said she loved all the tennis ball use and that the tennis ball definitely made her a sharper fielder too. 

The tennis ball drill was the biggest reason for me to create the My Softball Journey booklet. And with Cortnee saying how she loved that drill reminded me how I used the tennis ball to also make me a better Softball player. A lot of my kid days on the farm especially in the summer were spent tossing a tennis ball against the barn, the fence and even the chicken coop. And yes, the chickens were none too happy with me at times. 

I continued into my Softball playing days doing the positive reps from bouncing a tennis ball to become better and better. Back when trophies and awards were given at Softball tourneys (mostly 1980’s and 90’s) I was chosen for many defensive and all-star tourney awards. At the 1985 Montana State "A"  softball tourney in Great Falls, Montana I was selected as an all-star at the Short Stop position. I credit the tennis ball positive reps for most of my over-all success in Softball. That is a heap lot of praise for one type of drill. 

Knowing how the tennis ball rep drills helped me, of course I wanted to share it with the players I Coach. First, I thought the players could just jot down on a notebook some results from successfully fielded tennis balls thrown against a wall. Then knowing how keeping a softball journal can be so beneficial for the player I decided to make it part of a booklet. In the booklet I wanted to make it so players could log results from a tennis ball drill and track daily improvements. This is so important for building self-confidence because the player can look back at some of the things that used to be struggles, they now have become easier. I thought of other drills and parts of the softball season players could journal and "Wa-La" the My Softball Journey booklet was born. 

My hope is you can take some of this good advice here to heart and use the simple things to improve your game. Simple as bouncing a tennis ball, the “hidden gem”, against a wall. Yes, it can be a bit of a struggle in the short term. Crazy bouncing tennis balls can get challenging at times. But I guarantee you will not be disappointed in the long term. Good Luck and have some fun doing your tennis ball drills. 

Play Ball!

-Coach Roth 

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