Failure another step toward fastpitch softball success

Normally when I tell stories about my fastpitch softball students I like to share success stories. It’s always inspiring to hear how a player overcame adversity and experienced success. And it’s not too bad for self-promotion either.

But today I want to share the stories of a couple of fails from over the weekend. Unusual, I know, but bear with me. The reason I’m somewhat happy about these failures is what they will ultimately do for the two girls involved.

Both of the girls in this story are 14U pitchers, and both have experienced a lot of success in the past year. Maybe a little too much. This past weekend, though, both got rocked. Admittedly it was pretty cold, so I’m betting that had something to do with it.

Regardless, for each girl a team served as a reminder that we still have a lot of work ahead of us. I think that’s a good thing, especially right before going into the long, boring off-season, because those experiences will provide some inspiration to work hard and get prepared for next season.

For these two girls, the bar was set a little higher. Both are great kids and hard workers so I doubt it would’ve been much of an issue anyway. But now they can put a name and a face on the opponent they’re preparing to battle, which always gives it a little extra juice. They’ll work hard to disguise the changeups better, to add speed, to add movement to breaking pitches and so on. Because they know if they don’t, someone out there will be making them feel bad next summer.

So many coaches and parents are afraid of failure. They don’t like to see their kids go through any adversity. Yet it’s human nature to need a little adversity to drive us to get better. It’s like the old saying that you can’t forge steel without a lot of heat. 

Another thing I like about the struggles these girls went through is it showed them it isn’t fatal. Sure, it feels bad at the time. But they both got through it fine, and they now know a little more about themselves.

The final thing is that we can be sure they faced a quality opponent in those losses. When you’re winning all the time, and dominating in the circle, you have to wonder if you’re really that good or if your opponents are a little weak. Facing quality opponents gives you a level-set, and shows where you need to be versus where your are.

So yes, it’s not much fun to lose, and to fail. But those failures are critical to achieving ultimate success. As long as you don’t make a habit of them!

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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 October 31, 2012, in Coaching. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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