What I love about my friend Bobby Simpson from Higher Ground Softball is that he challenges EVERYTHING that has to do with the the game of fastpitch softball. Nothing is safe. At dinner last night a group of us were discussing the game in general and he challenged several things:
1. He asked some of the coaches how man double plays were actually ever turned during the entire course of a season? In the course of the typical 60+ game season most of the schools were under 10. Then he asked the coaches “So if there are less than 10 plays made in an entire season, why do teams spend so much time practicing them?”
2. Same basic question regarding pick off plays. How many times does the team end up in a pickoff play defensively? Again the answer was very, very few because most teams are conservative. So he askd them again how much of their practice time was devoted to working on something that would so seldom ever happen. At this point most of our eyes were spinning because he was challenging us to really think through every aspect of the game and not just accept the common philosophy of what should be practiced or what should be done.
3. Knowing that I teach slapping, and that one of the other coaches teams is explosively fast and does a lot of slapping he asked us a question I’d never heard before “Why do slappers run towards the pitcher and go past the foul line?” At first I didn’t even understand the question but as we discussed it further I began understanding that what he meant was that from the base bath itself is 60 feet from the back tip of the plate, and if they ran closer to the pitcher then they would have to run further than 60 feet. I love to be challenged that way so we started discussing math and angles and hypotenuse’s (can that even be pluralized?) So we drew it up and used a straw to mark the distance from our imaginery plate to our imaginary first base and what we discovered was that because the angle changes slightly as they approach the pitcher they don’t really have any further to run so I was greatly relieved.

The point of this isn’t to get you to realize that a lot of what we do is based on historical insights that have been taught to us as good or bad things to do in training, practice or in the games. But we all need a Bobby Simpson in our lifes to help us really think through whether we should be doing them or not, or whether a better way exists that is way outside of the box.

Category : Mental advice