The more the mind has to think…

It has been proven that the mind can truly only focus on one thing at a time.

That leads me to believe that the more the mind has to think about the less the body moves.

It’s true whether it’s dancing, or softball.

With that thought, here are four tips that might help you parent/coach a child in the sport:

1. When giving instructions to a player ask her what needs to be done if a ball gets hit to her. This can give you and her assurance of her responsibilities instead of a blank stare.

Also, this helps the player know to pay attention because she might be asked a question.

2. Make sure you are practicing at “game speed” or above. I see lots of coaches work their infield and outfield at a slow-methodical pace; this is nowhere near the speed of the game.

This is also why teams often look slow, or a step behind in games.

3. Ever wonder why your team (or daughter) can look so good in practice and be less-than-okay on game day? One of the reasons might be no element of surprise. A lot of errors occur because players are not “in the moment” and expecting the ball.

You might hit the ball to each player in their position in practice letting them know when the ball is coming, but that’s not true to the game.

The element of surprise causes lots of errors. Try mixing it up; don’t tell where you’re hitting the ball. Use drills that teach your players to expect the unexpected.

4. Drill your players physically and mentally during practice. The more you rehearse plays and situations the more they become second nature so players can act instinctively.

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4 comments on this post.
  1. Bob C.:

    My only feedback on #2, I am not sure I agree with practicing at “gamespeed” and I think that is somewhat relative on various factors. If the girls can’t accomplish a task rolling the ball from the coach to the infield, they certainly are not going to be able to accomplish the task at game speed against a bat. I am not saying that is not the end goal (gamespeed), but depending where the development cycle is at is how you approach the practices and the drills. Not everyone is 18U/G.

  2. coachmikeq:

    Good point, Bob. Everyone’s not an 18U player yet, but for those girls that want to be someday they will eventually need to get up to game speed in practice.

    Thanks for commenting.

  3. Kent:

    My own observation of teams who practice at game speeed play much better in real game situations. Anticipation is essential in any sport and the more a player can mentally visualize and anticipate the better the reaction time and manueverability.
    Kent

  4. Joe:

    I think your right. the way you practice is the way you play.

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