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Great Softball Learning Opportunity

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One of the great things about growing up in the Chicago area during the 1960s and '70s was the opportunity to watch a lot of professional baseball on TV during the summer.  At that time the Cubs played all their home games during the day, so while we were off school there was a pretty good chance of catching games. While those of you who remember those teams can certainly argue about the quality of ball being played, we were still able tolearn a lot by watching what the pros did.  Even if we weren't paying full attention, a certain amount seemed to seem in through osmosis. That opportunity is coming up now for fast pitch softball players.  The NCAA Division 1 playoffs are upon us, and with them the opportunity to see high-level gamesfrom many of the best teams in the U.S. While pretty much every team always strives to play the best ball it can, when the playoffs come everything gets raised to another level.  Players run harder, dive more and extend themselves more because they know they either get the job done or go home.

Players these days don't seem as interested in watching games on TV.  There are too many other distractions — texting, the Internet, video games, DVDs, streaming video and the list goes on.  But it will be a whole another year before this opportunity comes up again.  So how do you take advantage of it? Parents, you can sit down with your players and watch some games with them.  Watch the techniques the players are using and see if they're aligned with what you're learning. Study how the pitchers throw the pitch, and what pitches they throw in various situations.  Look at controversial rules calls, and discuss the reasons behind a pinch hitter, pitcher change, or defensive substitution. Coaches, why not bring your whole teamover to watch a game?  Pop some popcorn, order some pizza or have everyone bring some snacks. If you want to condense the time frame and/or get into deeper analysis, DVR a game and fast forward through some parts while slowing down others.  It makes a great rainy day activity.

If there is a local favorite team you can all root for that team.  If not, why not have players "adopt" a team and report on good plays and bad decisions they see?  There is so much learning to be done, yet it can also be fun. And that's the key.  Unlike free-flowing sports, where the requirements are fairly straightforward, with softball there's a lot to learn  and most of it is conditional.  A team will only face so many situations in a given yearPsychology Articles, especially if the opponents aren't so hot.  But watching college games live or on TV you can start to teach your players the strategies and decision-making process that may pull a few extra wins for you.

Take this opportunity to learn and it will pay huge dividends come this summer.


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Marc Dagenais, MHK, CSCS, is a softball peak performance coach that helps players and teams hit with more power and be more dominant on the softball field. To get tons of great FREE softball drills to boost your game, visit us at:

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