It may just be a rumor at this point, but I just heard that we are in the 21′st century and that any good website provides a discussion forum so that followers can contribute ideas ask questions and learn from others. Can that be true?
If the rumor is true then I would hate for Cross Training to be the last site in the world to provide this interactive capability so I’ve added a new Discussion Forum page. Seriously! It’s right there at the far right of on your menu bar and you can even upload your own avatar for the discussions. I know right that’s only been around for 10 years and I already have it here now. Check it out.
All kidding aside I sincerely hope that the new forum will provide more interaction between those around the world and myself.
The heart my students have for this game.
The willingness of my students to do whatever it takes to become champions on and off the field.
Take Lauren and Kady for example, the two young ladies in this intro video. Both are great young players. Both could be comfortable kicking other players butts in the age group they are at. But they are both committed to kicking players butts when they are 22 (10 and 11 years from now.)
Not only are they willing to do what it takes to themselves become champions they are willing to do whatever it takes to help me shoot videos so that others can learn and improve. Oh they could just keep what I teach them a secret, but then who would they compete against? They both want to be driven by their competition to continue on the path of learning. To continue on the path of playing the best and rising above them. We’ve wanted to shoot these videos for a long time, but the weather here in hot-lanta GA just hasn’t cooperated. We finally had a break in the clouds long enough for them and their parents to zip straight from school, change in the car so that we could shoot the upcoming episodes that will be released via Fastpitch Illustrated Magazine. If you aren’t already a subscriber the link is just a few inches on your right.
So how do I accomplish what is needed each month to produce an article and great video training to go along with it? My students.
I don’t mind the show, nor the staff nor the dresses. My problem lies in the fact that the vast majority of the brides seem to have put about $37.50 into their “relationship” yet are ready to drop $20,000 for a dress. Their dream romance seems to stem from having the fairy tale gown, rather than the fair tale marriage.
In fact I’ve actually watched shows, did I just say that out loud, where the “brides” are choosing the dress and don’t even have a fiance. Not kidding, I’m not sure I can understand the concept of caring more about the dress than the groom. I guess it’s harder to find the perfect gown, than a man who will spend the rest of his life loving you selflessly and sacrificially. Reality TV, here is a reality check … there is no fairy tale romance without the work. Ladies if you ever listen to anything I say … Say NO to the dress and spend the time building a solid foundation instead.
Here is how it ties into softball ….
Say NO to the new $300 bat and say YES to a $20 batting tee and a bucket of wiffle balls and DO THE WORK.
Say NO to the pretty new batting gloves with comfort pad and air conditioned grip and say YES to putting in enough practice that you develop blisters.
Say NO to the $200 sunglasses to wear in the outfield and say YES to running until you are sore learning how to judge the ball and block the sun with your glove.
Say NO to the new glove and say YES to wearing out the leather on your old glove learning to field and dive.
Say NO to worrying about how pretty the $4.72 trophy looks and say YES to the knowledge that you left everything you had on the field to earn it.
Say NO to a new color coordinated pair of cleats that help you look prettier standing around and say YES to learning how to be aggressive on the bases and actually producing runs.
Bats, helmets, gloves and cleats are tools that are needed for the job. But at the point that you put your hope in the “stuff” instead you are like a bride buying a wedding dress with no groom. Say NO to whatever that fairy tale items is that you believe is going to make you a princess on the field (your dress), and say YES to DOING THE WORK.
What is the difference between a good team, a great team and a championship team?
Great question, but rather than write it all out for you I’ve created a video for this particular post
One of the interesting things that makes us human is our ability to quickly categorize people we don’t know. We lump them into convenient categories that we’ve formed based on our past relationships. “She is a hitter.” “She plays SS.” “She is to serious.” “She is to silly.” “She doesn’t practice hard.” “That coach is strict.” We feel good about ourselves the faster we “size up” new people. Gives us a sense of accomplishment. Forget about these new people for a minute and think about yourself though. Are you really that simple a human being? Could anyone really identify all that makes you you within 15 seconds? Could they capture who you are with 1 phrase? Could they even capture all that makes you a unique person on this earth if they watched you for 1, 2, 5 or 10 practices and games?
I doubt it. We know that we are unique. That we ourselves are more complicated than others give us credit for, yet we still try and judge the “new people” that come into our lives based on very little input. If the new girls has a few bad plays “shes not very focused.” No questions asked if she had lost a loved one earlier in the week. If you make a few bad plays and hear any laughter “they are mean.” No questions asked if the existing team was really laughing because a coach had tripped over something on a different area of the field.
We celebrate New Years because they offer a new begginning. A chance to correct the mistakes of the past year. A chance to challenge ourselves to do better the coming year. Take advantage of the opportunity that 2013 is about to present to you. Commit that 2013 is going to be the year that you quit jumping to conclusions about new people that come into your lives, and onto your teams. Commit that at least where you have control you are going to do everything you can to become a true teammate. Not someone who knows how to pass an egg the right way, or pass oranges under your chin correctly but someone who truly works to build a cohesive unit.
The following is a list of questions from Doc RobynOdegaard’s book “Stop the Drama! The Ultimate Guid to Female Teams.” Print the list out and take some time during your team practices and get togethers this coming season to go through them together. Let everyone see who you really are, and give them a chance to show you who they really are.
If you really want to get to know others ask this one:
One final thought as you prepare for this coming season … “a car’s windshield is much larger than its rearview mirror.” While it is good for us to reflect on where we have been, we shouldn’t dwell on the past. Yet more often than not I hear players referring to what things used to be like on their old team. How their old teammates acted. How their old coaches conducted practice. How players acted in the dugout. Bringing that kind of baggage to your new team isn’t helpful. Focus on what is ahead of all of you. Where all of you are heading together as a team. 2013 is coming quickly. Whether it is a Happy New Year or not depends on what you make of it.
No? Well do you at least have any purple spots? Seems rather silly, but the fact is that the world needs more purple cows. But we are programmed from a young age to just fit in. To be a “normal” cow. To not allow others to see our purple spots.
3 of my 4 grand children are now at the age that they are starting to play with blocks. Each of the 3 has a completely different idea of what they are supposed to do with them. One likes to just set them up beside each other. One likes to stack them. And you can probably guess what my grandson likes to do … you guessed it he loves to knock them down. 3 very precious children, 3 very unique personalities. But that doesn’t “fit” into what society wants so when they are in first grade they will begin to be graded on whether their towers look like what the teacher expects of them. They will be told that when they are given a piece of paper instead of drawing the scenery that is missing from the paper they are supposed to color inside the lines. They will be told that skin is supposed to be colored with the tan color, not the violet color.
Basically they will be “indoctrinated” into what they are supposed to do, supposed to think and supposed to feel in order to be “normal.” Don’t get me wrong I don’t want my grandson walking around class in 12′th grade knocking down the towers that others have constructred. But I sure don’t want my grand daughter believing that houses have to be built up in the air and that she can’t build hers sideways if she chooses. But
Seth Godin’s book The Purple Cow wasn’t written for them, their “Pops” will do his best to be sure that they become the individuals that God intended them to be. His book was written for people just like you. To challenge you to show the world your purple spots instead of blending in and hiding what makes you different than others. To challenge you to be remarkable instead of ordinary.
What is that you are hiding from others? When did you stop being the you that’s in your head and start worrying about blending in?
What do you uniquely bring to the team that others can’t?
Are you encouraging others to show their uniqueness or are you more comfortable in a herd of black/white cows?
Whether you are a coach, a parent or a player I encourage you to take some time and think about what a team full of purple cows might look like. Go out there and quit blending in, show the world your unique “AWESOMENESS.”
If you are anything like me you hate making mistakes. Only thing I hate worse is immediately reading something new that would have helped me avoid the mistake. I’m going to share my most recent mistake … which involves running my mouth when I should have just been silent.
Last Friday evening I was hosting my 7th annual Christmas Batting Extravaganza. 4 straight hours of batting and competition at a local batting cage. Shannon Murray one of my former students and assistant coaches, is now a senior in college and came by to visit, hit and speak about her experience in the recruiting process and her experiences as a collegiate player. She did a fantastic job. After she completed I asked the 20 players that were if they had any questions for Shannon while they had this opportunity. Then I made a huge mistake.
I paused for an entire 1 and 1/2 seconds and when nobody shot their hands into the air I said “Wow, you have such a great chance right now and none of you want to take advantage of it.” Paused for another 1 1/2 seconds and proceeded to say “Ok lets get back into the cages since there are no questions.” Two huge mistakes on my part in less than 5 seconds.
The first mistake was that I answered the question “Why didn’t they ask questions?” in my head with a variety of negative assumptions:
Fortunately I recognized right away that was the wrong thing to do. These were great young ladies, most of which I personally selected to have as students. So I followed the advice I had just read earlier in the week and asked one of my students instead of trying to fill in the “why” for her. Her responses was something like “I thought of a question, but then I forgot it. Then I thought of it again, but then I forgot it again.” Very honest answer. Not learning from the prior mistake I followed up with another negative response to the next “why” in my head with “blonde moment.”
I returned home. Excited that the event had gone so well except for “in my head” the fact that the girls were to “intellectually lazy to even ask questions about what could be the most important pending decision of their softball lives.” I slept restlessly and awoke about 3 hours later. Decided I might as well read some more of the book that I’d been having troubles sitting down. Fortunately for me the author reached off the 2nd page I read and smacked me in the face with the answer I needed.
“Now if I have to think about what I want to say while someone else is talking, who is listening. Ahhh now there’s the problem: no one is listening because when one person is talking everone else is thinking about what they want to say. No wonder we can’t communicate.”
The problem wasn’t a blonde moment. The problem wasn’t that they didn’t care about their futures. Shannon had done such a great job communicating that she actually held the attention of 20 teenage ball players late at night. They were so focused on her and actually listened that they didn’t have time to formulate a question. The problem wasn’t them at all, it was that I could hardly take a breathe before I had to move on and fill the void of … silence.
Whether you are a coach, a parent or a player I highly recommend picking up a copy of “Stop the Drama: The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams” by Doc Robyn Odegaard. It is filled with practical explanations that will help you, like me, understand the silly things that we do that lead to drama. Things like filling in the “whys” in our own heads with negative responses instead of asking why. Things like the fact that if you want good questions, good responses you have to take the time and allow people to think. Even though the silence can be deafening while they are.
When you sit on the outside of the fence watching them play, have you ever wondered what goes through players heads? I do. All the time. I wonder if they really love the game. Is their mom/dad forcing them to play. Are they just playing to be with their friends. Is it simply something to keep them busy. A way to earn a letter to add to a jacket. I work with so many amazing young players that some certainly could fall into any of those categories. But I’m also blessed to work with many young women who truly are as passionate about this sport as I am. I’ve even met some that love it even more than myself. More often than not I have to guess what they are thinking though. Every now and then, like recently, a young woman is actually able to vocalize her thoughts. The following essay was written by a young woman named Taylor Wynn, and I was so moved by it I asked her for permission to share it. I’ve never used my blog to share something from someone else, but in this case I think Taylor so nailed the very essence of the game that I didn’t have a choice.
Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend by Taylor Wynn
It is the middle of the fifth inning; the score is tied at five. The sky is beginning to turn black with a trifling rain starting to fall. The crowd is silent, trying to take in every play. The game is in the hands of one girl, the pitcher, a sophomore, a freshman to the team; me. The catcher calls a screwball, painting the inside corner; a strike to end the inning. We have hit the time limit so all that is left to do is score to end the game. We are in the middle of batting when the bottom drops out and the sky begins to roar. The game ends in a tie, but the final score is irrelevant. I walked off the field knowing that my team, my coaches and my parents were proud of me. Softball is more than just a sport, more than just a bat and a ball; it is my life.
Softball is a very physical. It requires a significant amount of strain on the body. It is running and conditioning. Teams often play up to five games in one day. Pitchers are frequently needed to pitch in several of those games. This not only takes a physical toll on players, but an emotional one as well. Players have to possess a massive amount of endurance. To play softball and be good at it, you have to have passion for the sport. Without passion, there is no commitment. Without commitment and passion, there is no effort. And without effort, it is a waste of time.
Softball is often compared to baseball. Although very similar, the two sports have many differences. Softball is played on a much smaller field than baseball, which is sometimes mistaken for being easier. It is the complete opposite. While it may be easier as far as running the bases go, the players in the field have to have a much faster reaction time to get the runner out. Pitchers throw the ball underhanded rather than over-handed. That makes a big difference with movement of the ball; letting it go up as well as down, left and right. Pitches are thrown from forty-three feet rather than sixty feet. Depending on the speed of the pitch, batters need faster bat speed. A one hundred mile per hour fastball in baseball is equivalent to a sixty mile per hour fastball in softball. That is major league speed.
Softball is emotion. We all know that girls are slightly more emotional than boys. Getting drama-filled girls to work together is a task in its own right, but in the end it teaches us all teamwork. All softball players know that when it comes time to step onto the field everything gets put to the side. Drama, family problems, relationships, school, none of it matters once you step onto the dirt. It is all about doing everything you possibly can and working as one unit to come out on top.
Not only does softball keep you in shape and give you physical fulfillment, but it teaches its players numerous other things as well. It teaches teamwork. A team must work together to be victorious. It teaches participants how to set goals. If goals are never set, then they can never be achieved. It has the power to teach players sportsmanship and how to encourage others to achieve their goals. A team cannot be successful if they do not work together to reach their goals. Softball teaches responsibility. Not only are players responsible for all of their equipment being present when needed, they are responsible for the way they act on and off of the field. On the field, players must show responsibility for the way they play throughout the game. A player cannot make an error then turn around and blame it on someone else. Off of the field, players, especially in uniform, must carry themselves in a respectful manner. I played softball all throughout high school. Come game day, we wore our uniforms to school. That day, we had to be the most well behaved students in the school. Not only were we representing ourselves, but we were representing our coaches and our school as well.
After that game, even though we did not come out with a win, I walked off of the field with my head held high. I knew that I had just proven myself. They knew I could do it now. I had the respect of my coaches and teammates. I was on top of the world.
Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
That means that you were crafted by God. Many times the circumstances we find ourselves in, or the people we are surrounded by make us feel like junk. But that’s not true, God doesn’t make any junk. You are one of His masterpieces.
Sometimes we ourselves feel like junk, even though we know we have been created by God. You may feel like you have let God down, but the good news is that’s impossible. You were never holding God up.
Go show the world the amazing masterpiece that is you.