Friday, June 8

The Real Secret Behind Alabama's Softball Title

Winning a National Championship is never an easy feat and it certainly wasn't so for the Alabama Crimson Tide softball team this week in Oklahoma City. After going down in game one fairly convincingly against the hottest pitcher and team in the tournament, Oklahoma, Monday night Alabama was just seven innings away from another disappointment at the NCAA Women's College World Series.

But something magically happened overnight to the Bama team and they came out in game two a different team.

As I say often...success is a choice and so, apparently, is winning a National Championship.

In addition to some tremendous on the field adjustments Head Coach Patrick Murphy and his staff employed the Bama girls brought an incredible energy, enthusiasm, focus and a skyrocketed expectation for victory.

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As Alabama had been close several times before in the OKC the team's motto for the season was "Finish It!" And finish it they did in jumping out to an 8-1 lead in game two against a virtually un-hittable Keilani Ricketts (the NCAA Player of the Year).

Almost as exciting was Oklahoma's last inning five run comeback to make it close. Alabama won it all with another comeback in game three winning, arguably, the most exciting softball championship series ever.

So what is to be learned from both Alabama and Oklahoma?

1. Both teams never gave up and never gave in. They got to the championship series because of their talent and their character. Champions simply never stop competing.

2. Alabama made critical adjustments in the batter's box that served to take away one of Keilani Rickett's main strengths...the outside corner on her devastating curve. All great players and teams must make constant adjustments to maintain their edge and give them the best shot at victory.

3. Alabama got incredibly noisy on the bench. Their energy became contagious and absolutely spilled out onto the field and got into the Oklahoma players' heads. This energy literally shifted the momentum back over to Alabama's side and was the outside emotion of the inside thoughts (cause and effect).

4. I guarantee you that inside each of the Bama players' heads were nothing but positive, "can do" thoughts. Their internal conversation was all about "finishing it" and the expectancy for success. Their ultimate success was not an accident. It was the result of design...including incredible mental toughness and rock solid self-confidence.

5. There was an absolute absence of doubt on the Alabama team, starting with their coaching staff. I would suggest that immediately after game one Coach Murphy was already minimizing the loss and framing it as but a challenge to be overcome. Alabama played hard and lost. Game over...let's make some adjustments and come out tomorrow and win (one game at a time, one inning at a time, one pitch at a time). This is a huge reason why the Crimson Tide came back, and one your athlete needs to learn. Any adversity she faces can deflate her or pump her up to rise to the challenge like Alabama did.

In the end Alabama refused to lose. They willed themselves to victory against a tremendous opponent. They chose victory...this is the Alabama Advantage.

In the bigger picture each of the players on Bama won something much greater than a National Championship...they learned a life lesson they will never forget: If you work hard enough, keep believing long enough and never give up dreams can and will come true!

Congratulations to both teams for putting on a phenomenal show of effort, competition, sportsmanship, drive and passion. They demonstrated for three days what makes the game of fastpitch softball so great!

Your athlete and her team can use the Alabama Advantage whenever they choose to. Remember, success is a choice!

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