There are hundreds of thousands of softball players all across the country. Most of these players have dreams of representing their high school teams, attending their dream college to play, and some even aspire to go to the Olympics or play in a Professional League one day. It is encouraged for softball players to set goals and to have dreams. No dream is ever too big, and if your dreams don’t scare you a little, then they probably aren’t big enough.
The game of softball is full of repetition. Think about how many times you have thrown a pitch, hit a ball off a tee, taken front toss, made a throw to first base, stolen a base, given a high five; the list could go on and on. To be successful in softball, a player must buy-in and master the concentration and discipline of repetition.
Repetition is the action of repeating something. In softball, almost every aspect of the game is repeated until the 21st out is recorded. Sure there are different outcomes of every pitch thrown, but the majority of the game is put on repeat. Mastering the concentration piece of repetition is the most challenging, and some players will never fully master it.
It can be challenging as a coach to get players to buy in and show up mentally and physically for practice days. It’s easier for athletes to show up ready to go for games because, in their minds, games are exciting and allow them to show off their skills and development. Softball players don’t get better in games; they improve the most at practice and with the extra work they put in off the field at individual practices or in the weight room.
The one-percent (1%) Mentality is a beneficial tool for softball coaches to enforce and for elite players to instill in themselves at practice. The purpose of practice is to work on and improve a specific area of the player’s game. The 1% Mentality should be addressed as a goal before practice and revisited after a practice. If every player buys into the practice plan and improves just 1% that day, and every day they put their cleats on, they will continuously improve. A 1% improvement in each practice can make a difference for a team. It can also be an advantage when everything is on the line at the end of the season.
It can be challenging to improve 1% every practice. It may not happen every single practice, and there will be days where players lose that 1% they may have gained. Those days are going to happen, and players shouldn’t be discouraged if they do. They will need to learn how to regroup, refocus, reset goals, and get after it the next time.
Goal setting is a massive piece to improving 1% every day. If players set a goal about something specific, they will keep that thought in the back of their minds throughout the practice or game. When softball players focus on specific areas of improvement, they are more likely to lock in on the reps. Always set goals before practices and games and revisit them after. If players achieve their goal set for the day, they have improved 1%, continuing to elevate their game.