How often has a team that was supposed to win come up short at the end of the day. Why did they come up short? This is sometimes the million dollar question. The answer to this question might be that there is one thing that might be missing in the game. That missing ingredient is softball humility. To simply believe you are the best and that you will win because if it is not such a bad thing. The difficulty is that your opponents might disagree. They have nothing to lose and you may have everything to lose.
Softball Humility Considerations
Some of the reasons that the team thinks they should win include:
- they are better on paper than the other team
- they have the best record in the league
- they have the best pitcher in the league
- they have the best hitters
- the team is older and more experienced
- its a home game
The opponents might not be as skilled as the team but may be more focused on the task at hand and may actually believe that they can win. I was coaching a team at a high level, one year and at the playoffs we were beating a team that without question was supposed to win. One of the coaches on the other team said to his coaches,. “We have a problem here, they believe they can win!”. We did not win that game but we sure did give them a scare. More recently my team did beat a team that they were “not supposed to beat”. In fact we mercied them 7-0 after 5 innings. Because the team believed that they “could” win.
So. If you the team is supposed to win a game, be sure to look at the things that can hold them back before the first pitch. One thing you need to do is to realize that your opponents did not have a meeting before the game to discuss how they will give the game to you the way they are supposed to. If they are well coached then they would have had a meeting before to discuss how they will win and use any information they have accumulated through their stats on your team to enhance their chances of winning.
It is important for high level teams to play as if their opponents are the superior team. This will keep the team focused on each play without taking their skills for granted. If your team is far superior to the opposition, the coach can use the game to improve on defensive plays that don’t always get to be used in a game such as different one and three plays. Or you can have batters practice their running slap in a game where they may have more confidence.
It is important that you explore this option after you have improved your lead enough that you are sure you can maintain it or regain it if you lose runs unexpectedly. The important thing to remember though is that if your opposition is well coached, they will continue to press hard and play like they can still win the game. Teams need to have respect for their opponents and their abilities because every team seems to have the ability for the wheels to fall off once the game momentum appears to be changing direction.
Mental training along with a respect for the game will be an extra tool in these situations where the team believes that they should beat their opponents simply on the circumstance. Instill humility early and it will carry the team through the season to the playoffs where it will add to their stability.