If you are a player and have played for some time, you have probably heard something like, “There is always a little girl in the stands who wants to be just like you someday.” That statement couldn’t be more accurate, and it applies to all softball players at every age level. It doesn’t matter if you are a community ballplayer, club player, high school, college, Pro, or Olympic player, there is always going to be someone younger than you in the stands who wishes and dreams of taking the field in your cleats one day.

Everyone’s softball career is a journey. There will be many ups and downs, good days and bad days, laughs, tears, championships won, and games lost. We can guarantee you there has never been a player who has never struck out, made an error, gave up a home run, missed a ball behind the plate, lost a game, etc.

The game of softball is full of failures, and it will be frustrating at times. Sometimes it’s hard to keep emotions in check because we expect so much from ourselves and our teammates. When you strike out, it wasn’t your bat’s fault. As tempting as it is to throw your bat, think twice. Think about the little girl in the stands who could be watching you. You don’t want her to see you do that because it will make her think it’s okay for her to do the same.

It’s okay to be frustrated, but there is a right way to go about it, and everyone handles it differently. Here is a list of some healthy ways a player can deal with frustrations while on the field:

  1. Take a deep breath and count to ten: We have all heard this one before, but have you ever actually done it? Try it sometime. By the time you get to seven or eight, you will realize you aren’t that mad or upset. Sometimes we need something to take our mind off what is bothering us. The deep breath will help settle your heart rate down too.
  2. Jog to the fence and back: In-between innings when your team is up to bat, take a quick jog. The run is an excellent way to remove yourself from the crowded dugout for a short amount of time and get your head on straight. Give yourself a gentle jog or sprint, whatever you need, to the fence and back to be upset. But once you get back, you need to have your emotions in check because it’s not fair to yourself or your teammates to hold onto anger or frustration for an extended period.
  3. Rip up a Cup: One of our past teammates showed us how to do this in college, and it’s a huge help. Whenever she would get frustrated with an at-bat or a fielding performance, she would go to the back of the dugout by the trash can and rip up a cup. The action helped her remove herself for a short amount of time and mentally get back into the right mindset for the game we were playing in. If you don’t have a cup, find something that you can use to distract you from the game, which is the ultimate goal. 

You are going to get frustrated at some point during your softball journey. It’s inevitable. If you never get frustrated, chances are you won’t be in the sport long enough for it to happen. Softball players at the highest levels get continuously frustrated because they have high expectations set for themselves. There are times and places to handle frustrations, and there is always a way to handle them without internalizing them to the point where you explode. Try one of the tips above next time you find yourself frustrated during a game. It’s okay to get angry and frustrated because it means you care; it’s not okay to make it known. Keep in mind there is always a little girl in the stands watching you, wishing and wanting to be in your cleats one day. Don’t disappoint her.