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.
For many of the softball players I work with, and likely many around the country and the world this fall marks a serious time of transition. They started the year on teams that they had been on for a year or more and now find themselves on new team. Their former teams were marked with tremendous friendships and they knew exactly where they stood with the coaching staff. This weekend I watched many of these new teams finish the final games of this fall season, and frankly it hurt to watch many of them struggle.
If I could speak to those teams, I would say to them that just like an airport, teams are a “zero sum game.” You can’t see the romantic homecomings at the terminal gates, without also realizing that just beyond that couple there is a heartbreaking scene going as a family is separated. Planes cannot land, if they don’t first take off from somewhere else.
For those of you on new teams my advice is simple, remember the good times you shared but let go of the grip those old teammates have on your heart. Don’t spend your time comparing the players/coaches/parents of the new team to those people. Accept the fact that they are different. Embrace those differences. Look at each one of these teammates and realize that they are now in your life for a purpose and figure that out. Find what it is that you can learn from each of them.
For those of you who have lost great friends and have new teammates now on board. Try to imagine how they must feel, and how heart broken they must be for they are the ones who had to board the plan and depart from another town, another city, another team and they now find themselves smack dab in the middle of your team. Don’t wait for them to make the first move, and don’t just try and meet them half way, be the initiator. The one who opens your heart, is willing to accept the situation and reach out to them first, and reach out often.
Our former friends/teammates will always have a dear place in our heart, nothing can change that. But our new teammates can as well if we just let them. But teams can’t function effectively if players are still playing in their hearts with teammates that are miles away. There is sadness in leaving, but their can be happiness in new beginnings if you allow it.
There is an interesting phenomenon in life, that perhaps I’m the only person who has ever noticed it. It seems to me that when people practice something, they get better at it, and they start making it look easy and attractive to others. I know that may seem absurd, but that is the pattern I’ve noticed.
For instance I see young pitchers start practicing and the first couple of practices are hard. They get blisters on their finger tips. They get winded really easily from having to drive off the mound so much. But as they practice more and more eventually the become pitchers. Not kidding, it seems that it really works.
Same goes for hitters that I work with. At first they hurt my ears by hitting my batting tee over and over. They start complaining about blisters on their hands. But after weeks of hard work they start actually making the swing look easy. Eventually others besides their parents actually call them hitters.
Sometimes those pitchers/hitters do so well as a result of their practicing that they make it look like something that others want to try. Am I crazy or have you noticed that too? Not that you can really answer me, well you could reply or comment but nobody every does for these blogs. It’s not like it’s Facebook or something.
The problem I’ve seen a lot lately, is that all too often players, parents and coaches are practicing the wrong thing. It all starts innocently enough with some excuses that seem legitimate at the time. After that is practiced, then it becomes more of a group event. After it has been rehearsed enough people get really brave and start actually broadcasting it. Loudly.
Are you still with me. I’m talking about quitting. Surely you’ve seen that to. You know where the player/parent doesn’t like having to sit the bench for 5 minutes of a game so they decide that they won’t come back to that league/team/coach, but they feel guilty so they just slip away quietly at the end of the season. But now that they’ve practiced the next time quitting is a little bit easier. This time when the coach doesn’t give her exactly 52.5 innings of pitching time like they promised they would months ago, they justify quitting during the season by saying “we pay to much money for her not to pitch” or “we paid to much money on her new bat and lessons for her to bat 8′th instead of 5′th.” Pretty soon those people don’t just leave at the end of the season, or even leave by just telling off the coach, pretty soon their guilt about quitting is gone completely and they are bold enough to start recruiting others to quit with them. “Aren’t you unhappy too? If you leave with me then we’ll really make a point.” I even heard of a family that comitted to a team, and then literally quit after the very first practice.
For everyone reading this I assure you that you will become really good at whatever it is you are practicing. If you are practicing pitching you will become known as a pitcher. If you are practicing hitting you will become known as a hitter. If you are practicing quitting, then you will become known as a quitter. It gets easier. It’s just how life works.
My best advice to you is to instead practice not quitting. Honoring your comittment. Sticking to your word. You know all of those things that you admire seeing in others, but are afraid to try yourself because it’s hard. Yes it’s hard to honor your comittment when the team is falling apart, but the more you practice it, the better you get at it. Pretty soon you are known as the person that never gives up. You know the one that everyone else admires. The choice is yours, you will eventually be, whatever you are currently practicing to become.
The more I hear the word “fair” used in conjunction with the word “not” on a softball field, the more I’m beginning to see it as a 4 letter word. One that should be avoided at all costs, and stricken from one’s vocabulary.
The world is full of situations that aren’t fair and we all recognize that, yet somehow we allow players to get by with the notion that everything in the softball world should be fair. The truth is that situations are neither fair nor unfair, they simply are. Any time spent analyzing the fairness of the situation is time lost that could better be spent adjusting to and dealing with the situation.
You are the best hitter in the world, and yet the coach is “unfair” and bats you dead last. Did you ever stop to think that by batting dead last you get the least respect from the opposing team’s pitchers so you likely get better pitches to hit? Do you really want the fairness of having to handle the exact same pitching focus that is afforded to the #4 hitter on the team, and the expectations of everyone on the team that you will produce big hits every single at bat?
You hit a solid line drive that travels 175 feet on a rope, a rope that ends in the glove of the center fielder. While the player on the opposing team closes her eyes, and dips under the pitch badly. Her ball travels 78 and a 1/2 feet as a popup, one that drops 1/2 foot beyond the arms of your diving second basemen in right field. Is that fair that you killed the ball but didn’t get a hit, while they had a blooper and did get a hit? Or is it simply a matter of odds that as you spray your line drives around sooner or later one will be straight at a player, and the odds that the other player’s consistent bloopers will sooner or later happen to drop right outside the reach of your fielder?
Another player is seemingly gets “special” treatment from their parents, while you seem to be challenged every single time your father looks in your direction. Is that un-fair to you? Or is it really un-fair to the other player who’s parents have given up trying to help them grow and develop because it takes to much work.
One of your friends is on a great team. One where they have several awesome players, and they win every game. The players all get along and bake cookies for each other every weekend. While you are on a team that is struggling to ever win, and players yell at each other on and off the field. Is that really fair to your friend that she takes a back seat while the other players carry the team and lead it to greatness? How is that preparing her for the real world, where she will be on her own, while you get the honor of stepping up and becoming a leader due to necessity, and while you don’t win all of your games you are becoming prepared to win the game of life.
My advice is to stop using the word “fair” in any context other than fair/foul in regards to softball. Adjust to whatever situations you are faced with as they come at you, in a way that best prepares you for the future and allows you to build the kind of character and reputation that you would like to be known for. In other words “deal with it and move on.”
If you love the mental game, you will love reading the series of posts I made to the Fastpitch Blog entitled WINTALITY. This series of 8 articles helps players at any level refocus and adjust their “vision.” Check em out: http://fastpitch.tv/?s=wintality