Watching NCAA Softball this week was AWESOME to say the least. As a coach and student of the sport I of course spend my time watching the players and the plays after contact is made with the ball. I realize that games are won on errors however I do believe that they can be minimized if players can through all of the distractions maintain the same focus on the same things that always happen the same way 🙂
From a fielding perspective. The ball is hit on the ground in the infield. The defensive player who the ball is traveling towards has 2 things to consider. Well more if there is also 1 or more runners on base. Where am I going to throw the ball after I field it? How fast is the runner? Is there someone on base to catch the ball and make the play. There is one thing that is the most important though. Field the ball. Without the ball none of the other things can happen.
What often happens is the defender momentarily looks up at the runner which lifts the upper body which lifts the glove from the ground which gives the ball a clear path under the glove or an option rather than going into the glove. It could bounce off of the glove or the foot or even go out to the side. If the focus is only on the ball until it is in the glove then the percentages just went up for making the play…. perfect!
From the hitting perspective, If the hitter can simply focus and think about hitting the ball then the rest will follow. Far too often, the batter is thinking about the end result and possible consequences or successes that can come with it. If the only focus is on the ball then the batter can make adjustments if necessary and have a good at bat. That ends once the contact is made though. Then the focus is on first base and the base coach and its the fielders turn to focus on the ball.
Now we know that no one is perfect. Striving for perfection however can move us closer.
How good is that?