Willingness to change

One of the biggest challenges facing any player trying to improve his/her game is getting out of the comfort zone in order to change what they’re doing. Before that can happen, though, first the player has to be willing to change.

I just saw this with one of my pitchers this week. She’d been struggling with getting the hang of staying loose and following through at release, due in no small part to a horrible “pitching coach” she’d had before who apparently didn’t know anything about pitching. She was pretty much stuck in one place. So I had to have “the talk” with her about working on what I wanted her to do. I told her no pitching at all in the next week, instead focus just on getting the arm to do what we’re trying to get it to do.

Lo and behold, this week she came back and had it nailed! I was so excited for her, and she was pretty pleased with herself too. And as promised, with the strong follow-through she had both speed and accuracy.

The key was that she was willing to make the change, and worked hard at it. Without that willingness, we’d still be stuck.

So I guess the point is you (if you’re a player) or your students (if you’re a coach) not only have to understand what to do but also have the mindset to go after it like a lioness hunting for food for her young.

Ken

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on December 8, 2006, in Coaching, Hitting, Pitching. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I think being mentally prepared is the hardest thing for any athlete. I believe most of that has to be put on the parent to prepare them, especially at the younger ages. Coaches see the kids just a few times a week, but most of that is structured around a practice or game. There isn’t much time in the week where the coach can get into the kid’s head to stress the importance of being mentally prepared, how to be prepared, what to expect and so forth. I’ve been trying to prepare my daughter for a couple of years and she is 10 now. I am not saying she is still prepared for everything, but I can state that I am seeing a difference in how she approaches the game in comparison to others I am sure do not have the parental involvement that my daughter is receiving. I get to ride with her to and from the games and practices and therefore have the opportunity to give her advice on what to expect for the day and review what happened duting the day. I think ! that ti me in the car is so valuable. I was concerned in the beginning that my talks with her in the car, or at night before bed, or during the day when I paused the tv to discuss what popped into my head, was being ignored by her – that she just thought I was lecturing, but I see the difference it is making now – two years later. I have always told her that what she does today is preparing her for the future. She might not see the success today or tomorrow, but she will eventually see it. Well, I’m happpy to say that I think I was preparing her for the future and it is finally beginning to pay off. Getting back to the original topic – I believe it is the parents that need to at least help push that willingness to change. If a kid is being told how great they are all of the time, why would they want to change? There needs to be a balance of giving the kid confidence by talking about the positive things they do, yet nuturing a willingness to always want ! to get better. Coach Ken put a saying on the Mundelein Thunder website that stated ‘good is the enemy of great’ and I loved that one. How easy it is be to become complacent. Parents, get in your kid’s heads and tell them to go all out for it. Go hard 200% of the time so you don’t look back and state, ‘I wish I had…’ Even if you didn’t play sports yourself, use your work and school experiences as examples of how you learned you needed to work harder to get ahead. Get into their head now to prepare them for the future. Prepare them to know they need to get better and therefore they will want to get better. They need to be taught the willingness to change.”Thanks,Mike

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  2. Mike, those are some great points. It seems like all too often the parents want to depend on the coach to do everything. But parents are definitely very important to gaining that mental edge.I think the other thing that’s important is for both parents and kids to not be so focused on the immediate results, especially at the younger levels. At 10U there are many ways to gain a result like a hit for a batter or a strikeout for a pitcher. But as they get older, it gets tougher and tougher. If you’re not using good technique, or don’t understand the game, it will show up later. If parents can keep that in mind they can be great assets. Ken

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  3. Great Post. I believe that Team sports in so many ways helps prepare those involved for life in general. I see what Mike is doing as being a Farmer. He is planting seeds. And I believe that in Sports just as in Life, “you reap what you sew”. The earlier you get you crop out, the better chance of “Harvest” before the frost comes.

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  4. This is a informative article. Gracias for the info.

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