Reflecting on the Season
Guest post by Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog
Now that fastpitch softball has pretty much become a 12-month sport, it’s amazing to look back on how much work and preparation goes into such a short season. Whether you’re a high school coach with a spring season who gets his/her players from the end of February to the beginning of June, a travel coach with high school players whose season goes from early to mid-June to the beginning of August, or a travel coach with younger players whose season starts around mid-April, it seems like you wait forever to get things going then it’s over.
If you’re a player it probably goes even faster. There’s dragging yourself to practice day after day, weekday games and weekend tournaments, thinking it will never end. Then one day you look up and it’s time to say goodbye to your teammates one last time. Where does the season go?
It’s a lot like they say about parenting – the days are long but the years are short. Sometimes it seems like a tournament day lasts forever, especially if you’re not doing too well. Yet before you know it it’s time for tryouts once again.
Before you move on to 2011, though, take a few moments to reflect on 2010. Did you achieve your goals? Not the “win a tournament” or “become state/national champion” stuff, but your personal goals as a coach or player.
If so, that’s awesome. Congratulations on some great work. If not, however, now is the time to think about why not, and what you can do to change it for next year.
As a coach, did your team work together and support each other, or did they suffer from in-fighting and bickering? If it was the latter, perhaps it’s time to pick up some books or DVDs on team building.
Did you find your team over-matched at times? Was it because you were in the wrong tournaments, or you just weren’t as well-prepared as you could’ve been? If it was the former you may want to re-think your tournament selection. If it was the latter, learn from what your opponents there did and step up your game to match.
For a player, were you the player you wanted to be? Did you hit in the clutch? Did you run the bases aggressively or did you hug the base, afraid of making a mistake? Were you willing to dive after balls or did you pull up short and let them drop?
If you weren’t the player you thought you could be it’s time to start planning how you’re going to get there. Practicing more instead of making excuses is one key. Seeking out help from a qualified instructor or coach is another. Ultimately, though, it’s embracing the idea of hard work, even when it’s not fun, in order to succeed at the level to which you aspire.
Sports psychologist Jeff Janssen has a great exercise that works for both players and coaches. At the beginning of the season (like now), picture that you’re at the end of the season banquet or party. When the coach gets up to say a few words about you, what does he/she say? (If you’re a coach, what does your team captain say about you and the season?)
Think about what you’d like to be known for, and how you’d like to be viewed. Then figure out what it’s going to take to get there. Your path for the next year is pretty much laid out for you.
A little reflection is good for the soul. Take a look at the big picture, where you succeeded and where you fell short, and resolve to make 2011 even better.
Anyway, that’s the way I see it.