The problem with playing down

Now that fall ball is cranking up in earnest, teams are beginning to test themselves in games and find out who they really are. Some are finding they are better than they thought; others are finding they have a lot of work to do.

One of the things you’re likely to see are some serious mismatches in playing ability. If it happens because better teams didn’t know there would be a wide range of ability that’s one thing. But if they’re playing down just to trophy hunt, they’re doing themselves a disservice.

One of the biggest problems with playing below your actual level is it gives you a false sense of how good you are. Sure, you may be defeating or even blowing out teams that don’t hit, field or pitch too well. The trouble is that can lead you to think you don’t have to work on those aspects of the game yourself so much. After all, you’re winning, right? So you must be good.

Think again. Because one day you’ll run into a team that has been playing at the proper level. Maybe they haven’t won as many games as you have. But when you meet them head to head you find out that they’ve developed their skills because they’ve had to in order to compete.

Winning alone is not the measure of a good team. You also have to look at who you’re playing. Play at the right level — one where you have to be at your best to win — and you’ll develop your team better and faster. And you’ll help your players become all they can be.

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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 September 29, 2013, in Coaching. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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