A routine is a sequence of actions that a person follows regularly. The game of softball is full of routines, and they are a critical piece to a player’s success on the field. Many athletes don’t even realize they have a routine until someone points it out. Routines serve many purposes and vary from position to position. The primary purpose of a routine is to mentally and physically prepare players.
A softball player’s routine on game days serves a critical function. Whether batting, pitching, fielding, or catching, most players have a routine. Next time you watch a softball game on TV or in real-time, pay attention to what the athletes do when they are between the lines. When a player is absorbed in her routine, she is zoned in, is mentally and physically prepared, and it will be hard to stop her from succeeding.
Routines develop over time and start at a young age. Softball players should always practice the way they intend to play. Teams and players should challenge themselves to make everything game-like. When on defense, practice getting into the ready position for every single rep. Players do not take a play off during a game, so don’t do it in practice.
Pitchers are incredibly routine based. Please pay attention to pitchers and what they do when they receive the ball from the catcher and how they walk back to the mound. The chances are that they are walking the same route back to the circle without even realizing it. This action is routine. If a player needs to use a Rosen bag during a game, they should use one in practice. If players add things to their game-day routine without practicing them, this could lead to a loss of rhythm, and when a pitcher isn’t in, or can’t get in a rhythm, they will have a hard time adjusting and this will affect their performance.
Most hitters will step into the box the same way every single time. The routine for hitters is going to vary, but if you watch a game, you’ll notice hitters do the same thing in between pitches and when they enter the box. This routine is also critical to the success of a hitter because it’s getting them mentally and physically ready to compete against the pitcher. If a hitter rushes into the box and skips over her routine, she will be anxious with her swings and reduce her chance for success.
Routines are evident and crucial to the game of softball. It is encouraged to practice the way you are going to play. If players and teammates understand their routines and how to be consistent with them, they will be successful. Routines lead to readiness, which will lead the players to success.