Episode 28 – Taking Risks
On this podcast I am going to talk about the benefits of taking risks and when is it most appropriate in this game. Some would refer to softball, and also baseball as a percentage game. We know what’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen depending on the specific execution of a specific skill in response to a specific action.
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Now back to taking risks. I believe that by allowing our players to take risks at practices and during exhibition games or practice games, we are allowing them to create their own instincts. The common approach is to always want them to perform as close to perfect as they can through conservative actions that we know will get results. There’s nothing wrong with that. Especially when you are in a championship game and everything is on the line.
What I am recommending is that you allow time for players to take risks in the game. It might be during a specific drill at practice or you might pick a game and invite them to play their hardest and take some risks to see what they are capable of. Make the plays they think they might not be able to make. Not only does this let them test their limits, and give you a better understanding of their limits, but it’s fun as well. What player doesn’t want to enjoy the game every moment they are on the field.
I have been at games where I see a shortstop throw hard to home to get a runner that’s half way down the third base line and the coach yells at her to throw it to the pitcher and to not take that chance of an errant throw that advances more runners. I was disappointed not only in the amount of control over her moves that the coach was exhibiting, but because I saw the look on the face of the athlete that was excited at the thought of getting that run at the plate. I believe she was very capable of making that play.
What we need to know is that we don’t need to control every aspect of the game during every moment of the game. The more of the game that we can give back to the athletes, the more they’re going to feel like they own it and the more they’re going to start to mould it for themselves. We’ll never know what their true capability is until we let them show us and show themselves. There’s definitely a time and a place for this type of freedom and creativity. But the point is that there is a time and a place.
For some it might be very difficult to see them make mistakes when we think those mistakes could have been avoided. But why are we trying to ensure they avoid the mistake. It’s possibly because it’s an error and what we know is that errors lose games. A term I heard in a clinic is to allow our athletes to fail forward. Learn from mistakes and get better every time.
Well that does it for this edition of the softball academy podcast. Don’t forget to visit my web site at softballtutor.com. and if there is anything you would like to see there or anything you would like me to talk about here simply send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org See you next time.