Every pitch is a new day
One of the challenges with fastpitch softball is how difficult the game can be from a mental standpoint. A little failure here, a little failure there and things can start to get overwhelming.
Last night something occurred to me to help change that thinking. I held a ball up high and asked the students to imagine it without any seams. I then asked them what else is yellow and sits in the sky? A few seemed to think it was a trick question, but they eventually got that I meant the sun.
I then started moving the ball at arm’s length from hip high to overhead, and asked “What does the sun do each morning?” They replied various versions of “rise.” Then I kept moving the ball down and asked, “what does it do each evening?” Most said “fall” instead of set, but they got the idea.
Then came the point. I asked if they’d ever had a tough day, where they couldn’t wait to go to bed. They’re teenage girls, so of course they have. I asked, “But then after a good night’s sleep you felt better the next day, right? The world looked a little brighter.” They agreed.
I told them each pitch is like a brand new day, full of possibilities. Whatever happened the day/pitch before doesn’t limit the possibilities of today. They understood.
Tonight I told a girl named Hannah that story. Later we played the “High Fives” hitting game, and she got in the hole with -4. One more bad hit and she’d owe me five pushups. But she kept battling back, and eventually got back to -1 when we had to stop.
I complimented her on her mental toughness, because I really was trying to sink her. She told me she remembered what I said about the sun, and didn’t focus on what would happen if she missed. Instead, she focused on that pitch and that pitch alone, independent of everything else, and said it it worked for her.
If you’re looking for a way to explain playing one pitch at a time, give this one a try. And if you have your own way of explaining it, please share!