Maintaining Focus & Situational Awareness

The median length of time during which thought content remains on target is approximately 5 seconds. On average, people engage in about 4,000 distinct thoughts in a 16 hour day.


Hold up, WHAT?? Read that again.


This stat is also referencing adults, so I imagine the time that a thought remains on target is even less for youth.


With that said, it is super important for you to give yourself the grace and patience to take things (especially new things) in steps. Focus on one area of play that you can work on, rep, get down pat, then build from there. If you feel overwhelmed, even when doing school work, take it and break it into chunks so that you don’t feel like you are drowning in an ocean of information.


Have the independence and respect for yourself to respectfully let a coach know if he/she is pouring too much information on you at one time:


“Hey coach, do you think I could work on tee for a little bit so I can feel what you are wanting me to do before hitting in the cage?”


or


“Coach, could you show me first what my legs should be doing then move to my arms?”


I’ve also mentioned before that it’s super important to, when in doubt, build your skills from the ground up. If the feet/legs are messing up, are not in line, feel wonky, the likelihood that your core, upper body, arms, are going to be on cue, is slim to none.


Situational Awareness: The ability to assess environmental surroundings specifically in competitive environments and make appropriate decisions based on the situations, often under pressure and time demands.


A.k.a. Game IQ.


I have to tell you I feel like this is one of the most under developed, most looked-over aspect of the game. Players all too often are spoon fed (wrist bands for all play calls, coaches yelling out the next play on behalf of the players, lack of practicing situational plays, etc.) This all becomes blatantly obvious the older a player gets when she has a hard time keeping up with the pace of the game, has no idea how to base run, and crumbles under pressure situations.


The best way to practice game IQ on your own:


  1. Watch more softball.


  • Watch the plays/pitches called

  • Watch the ways the girls interact with each other between pitches, innings, batters.

  • Take note of the base running. The really good teams are super aggressive and hardly miss an opportunity to advance to that next bag (UCLA is incredible at base running, it’s borderline unfair how quickly they take advantage and exemplify any teams mistake on the field)

  • Ask yourself based on the situation and the position you play, if you got the ball hit to you in the air, or the ground, where the play would be. Where does the ball need to go, what do you feel would be best in that situation?


2. Speak up! Find your voice


  • No meek, quiet, unsure players on the field. Seriously, coaches are looking for players with game IQ. You can avoid, or make up for a lot of failures, if you know a lot about the game and speak up for yourself.

  • The best way to learn on the field is to say what you are thinking, if you are wrong, learn from it and say it differently the next time.

  • So belt out those plays in your room, flash the number of outs, encourage that ‘teammate'

  • Make mistakes at practices, but do not let those mistakes silence you.

  • Be aggressive at practice on the bases. Not only is it a huge learning opportunity to see what you, and your speed is capable of, but it also forces your teammates to get better at making those plays against opponents. Stretch the limits, push the boundaries, learn.





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