Friday, January 6

The No Limit Softball Player in 2013 - Part 1

As fastpitch softball players begin preparing themselves in the weeks and months ahead for the 2013 season one thing is clear...each player will choose by their beliefs, thoughts, feelings and actions just how successful her season will be. Will hers be a memorable season, one that sets her apart from the majority of the team as a true game changer...or will her season look much like the previous season in which she has occasional flashes of greatness but for the most part blends in with the rest of her team as an average player.

As I write about in my books the goal of being her best looks like being a consistent peak performer, but being consistently great is no easy task. It takes a high level of both physical and mental mastery to, not only, overcome the adversities the game throws at her but to actually thrive in the face of adversity.

In this three part series I will go into great detail of what it will take for your athlete to truly become a "no limit" athlete; where all things are possible for her. In my heart of hearts I believe that every young athlete can be as good as they want to be. Yes, for some that path may be shorter than for others. Nonetheless, I will explain exactly how to become a "no limit" athlete in three parts: "The Physical," "The Mental," and "Putting it All Together."

The Physical

The foundation for any "no limit" athlete is to recognize the factors they do and do not have control over. One's effort, attitude and mental focus are certainly controllables. We know that no two athletes have exactly the same bodies and physical skills, so what can your athlete do become a "no limit" athlete in the physical sense?

1. Develop a detailed physical training plan. Know her strengths and weaknesses. Does she need to improve her strength, her speed, her quickness, her command of sport specific skills? Make sure her physical training plan puts her on track to turn her physical weaknesses into strengths.

2. Mastering the physical is a choice that requires hard work. How committed is she to getting stronger, quicker, faster? Is she putting in the 30-60 minutes each day to work on her weaknesses? Most players don't. Once her regimen becomes habit she will see massive improvements that will catapult her game performance.

3. Believing the physical training is working. Because a well designed physical training program will be physically and mentally fatiguing your athlete has to believe that all her hard work is paying off. Her belief will motivate her to work harder and stay on schedule. This also requires patience as all physical improvements develop slowly but surely. Remember, a little improvement each day over time equals massive growth!
Michael Jordan, the ultimate "No Limit" athlete!

4. Doing more game related repetitions. This may sound like a simple task, but in my experience few girls ever do it. This looks like grabbing mom or dad, sister or brother, a teammate or neighbor to help with 100 grounders each day, 100 swings each day, as a pitcher throwing 100 pitches each day; as a catcher blocking 50 balls and making 50 throws to 2nd and 3rd base (and if not each day at least three times/week). Softball is a game of reps, so the more she takes outside of her regular practice the more her mastery will accelerate. Is all this easy to do combined with school work, other sports and a social life? Perhaps not...but again the choice is hers as to how good she wants to be. A "no limit" athlete makes the time.

Is she a "game changer?" Give her the tools to be one here.

5. Be the best you. Because no two athletes are the same it is vitally important that your athlete recognize the focus is on her being the very best "Chloe" or "Angie" she can be, and not comparing herself to a teammate or opponent. Being a "no limit" athlete means working her hardest to be the best you, given her unique body and innate skills.

6. Physical mastery is a challenge. To really get the most from your athlete's physical training she needs to look at the activity as a challenge. How hard can she work? Can she challenge herself to do 5 more reps...10 more reps. The "no limit" athlete never lets the unseen competitor work harder than she does. Make it fun, make it a game...win the challenge.

7. Bring it with passion. Physical training is much easier to endure with a smile on her face. If she can tie her hard work into tangible on the field results her motivation should carry her through. The "no limit" athlete always sees the end game; meaning she always recognizes that the effort she puts in today will yield the desired results down the road.

8. Begin it now. Whether her season starts this weekend or in three months begin it now! Small but steady physical repetitions to improve her strength, speed, agility, quickness or game skills add up over time...so don't wait to get her physical training plan into action. The sooner she starts and builds muscle memory and habit the easier it will become.

9. Make it easy. I'm not suggesting that you enlist 17 private trainers for this process! Your athlete can do wrist rolls to improve her wrist and arm strength for 10 minutes while watching TV. She can do 200 jumps with a rope for 10 minutes before dinner or when she gets up in the morning. If you have stairs in the house she can climb them anytime to increase her foot quickness and leg strength. The easier it is the more likely she will do it.

10. Keep track of her progress. Keeping a training journal is a good idea. It allows your athlete to not only follow a written training plan but also to record how she feels about her effort and how her body feels. Each time she goes on the field she will progressively feel stronger or quicker and her results will absolutely reflect that. Having a plan and recording its success will serve to further motive your athlete to continue her hard work on her way to mastery.

The bottom line...physical training is a choice. It is easy to make excuses about not having the time or energy to workout (particularly if she is a teenager). But if she has clearly definable goals for her softball career use those to help motive her and keep her focused on the big picture. Remember, the "no limit" athlete is also the no excuse athlete!

Read "The No Limit Athlete - Part 2, The Mental"

Thanks for reading!  -- John Kelly

Every athlete needs a high level of sports confidence to be successful on game day. Does your athlete have it? Take her sports confidence to the next level with the Sports Confidence Blueprint program...a proven step by step formula to skyrocket game performance and game confidence!



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