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Three Games, Three Lessons

Failure is the secret to success, you’ve got to learn from your mistakes to set things right. Just like playing softball, don’t be afraid to make mistake but learn from them to get better and wins softball championships.

Today was our first official outing of the season.

We went 1-2 for the day.

There was a fair bit of nervousness, rust, and lack of cohesion on the field during the first two games.

We certainly didn’t play up to our potential in the first two games making several mental, baserunning, and defensive errors.

But, you know what, that’s alright with me and you will read why below.

We did finish with a strong showing during our last game, had a decisive win against a pretty solid team and I saw
more of what I consider to be my “real team”.

In the meantime, each game allowed me to remind the girls of important lessons on their path to excellence.

Here are the three lessons of the day:

Lesson #1 – Every loss, bad performance, or mistake is an opportunity to learn and get better.

You have to analyze what you did, ask yourself how you can do things differently, and improve for next time.

That’s how elite athletes get better. They get a little better each day.

You often learn a lot more by making mistakes and losing than you do when you win. It’s very easy to “forget” about
your errors when you win.

Lesson #2 – A softball season is a marathon, not a sprint

Just like in many endurance events like long-distance running or cycling races, the winner is usually not who led the race most of the way. Smart runners pace themselves and perform their best in the last part of the race.

Softball¬†is no different. You’ve got to use the first few competitions of the season to gain experience, learn from
your mistakes and get better, and get ready for the key competitions later in the season.

Lesson #3 – Warmin-up the mind is as important as warming up the body to perform well.

Following our first 2 losses and feeling the frustration of my athletes over how they played, I felt they needed
to regroup, refocus and learn to have fun again.

So, before our third game (we had about 2 hours between each game today), instead of doing a traditional physical
warm-up, I sent them to do a “mental warm-up”.

More specifically, I was sent away to play 2 little fun games as a group. The purpose was for them to get together, have
fun, refocus and regroup for the next game.

We did NOT do any physical warm-up whatsoever besides playing catch with each other 3 minutes before the start of the game.

And you know what?

They came ready to play. They were focused, relaxed, united, and definitely wanted to play great.

That “mental” warm-up did more for us than any physical warm-up we could have done.

They played their best game of the day because they were mentally ready or “warmed up”.

These are 3 important lessons that they will remember and that any team should reminder.

Overall, this was a good and productive day for my team.

Why?

They gained experience.

They learned from their errors and mistakes.

They got better.

They were able to bounce back.

I saw very positive things on the field in the two games we lost despite the numerous errors we made.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marc Dagenais, MHK, CSCS, is a softball peak performance coach that helps players and teams hit with more power and be more dominant on the softball field.