Daily Archives: August 4, 2008

A little downtime is in order

When I first started coaching, around 15 years ago, it was not unusual for softball players to take several months off between the end of one season and the beginning of another. Many of the teams, at least in the Chicago area, wouldn’t hold tryouts until the spring before the upcoming season. The reasoning was you’d get a better look at where the player really was, rather than what you speculated they’d be come.

Obviously, that’s not the case anymore. These days there may only be a week or two between the last game at Nationals and tryouts for the next season.

That’s probably unavoidable. Everyone is competing for players. But once tryouts are done, consider shutting down for a little while. No practicing. No lessons. No coaching for coaches.

Zillions of articles have been written about the importance of taking vacations from work, to clear the head and recharge the batteries. But in softball, there is often an obsession with getting right to it and getting a head start on the fall, or next year.

Don’t do it. If you’re a player, take some time off. Let your bodies, minds and spirits recover. Recharge your batteries and let the absence of softball make the heart grow fonder.

If you’re a coach, you may need it even more. Let your mind relax. Shake off the old season, and do all the stuff you’ve been ignoring all summer — pull some weeds (which is what I did today), take the dogs for a walk, work on that project you’ve been putting off, take your significant other out to dinner for two instead 42, play some golf, or do whatever you find relaxing. You can check in places like this and other blogs, the www.discussfastpitch.com discussion board, and Web sites with good information (see the links on the right side). But don’t obsess.

Take a little time off and you’ll find your game is better and your mind is much more ready for the long haul when it is time to start up again.

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