The season is done. Now what do you do? This is the time for Softball Reflections.
This is the time to reflect on the previous season and evaluate your successes and things you want to improve on. The most important thing in the development of any team is that they improve from season to season. It is even a good idea to look at the first season you worked with your team and compare it as well to the season you just finished.
What kind of stats do you keep? Things as simple as the score book can be useful tools in your preparation for the next season. Some teams do not keep track of what happens with the batters when they go up or how the defense plays during the game. What you do for sure most times though is keep track if a runner got on base and if they scored and how many outs were recorded each inning. You can even do something with that.
Use your score book to check the following:
- Keep track of on base percentage for each athlete
- How many strike outs were there for each athlete
- How many times did they hit to get on base and how many times did they walk
- How many runs were scored against you with 2 out
These simple things can give you good information. You can tell that your defense may be anxious when there is 2 out and is having difficulty finishing the inning if there are many runs that score with 2 out. Maybe some mental training is in order for the next season so that your team can learn to remain calm and maintain their composure with confidence when they have 2 out to minimize any damage.
Your batters on base percentage can tell you that if it is not good then maybe they are having trouble seeing the keeping their eyes on the ball. I say eyes because many times batters will only use one eye as they are looking to the side rather than turning their heads to see the pitcher. It may tell you that they are having difficulty distinguishing between a ball and a strike or maybe they are nervous at the plate. Talk to those athletes to perhaps get some insight into what they may be thinking during their time at the plate.
You may also keep track of more that that on your score sheet. Things such as throwing errors are critical information for the improvement of your team. If you see a pattern of throwing errors then you know the team needs to work on their throwing accuracy and maybe velocity which comes with good mechanics. How many balls and strikes for each batter will tell you how your pitcher is doing with their strike percentages. Do they have difficulty when they have 3 balls on the batter? Another reason to work on mental training with your team.
Talk with the team
The best way to reflect on your season and prepare for your next one is to have a debriefing meeting with your team. Take an hour and ask them how they felt the season went. What did they thing was good about the season and where do they feel the team can improve. This will not only give you good information but it will also make the players feel like they are a part of the process. And they should be. That is how you can develop a team that does work together from the bottom up. There is no substitute for the feeling of unity with your players in a common goal.
There are as many stats programs as there are team names in this game. The best way is to devise your own stats system. What do you want to keep track of? How complicated is it? How simple can you make it that you can have others assist you. One thing you want to try to make sure of is that the stats are as objective as possible. That way it is easy to record and there can be no judgement errors. A simple throwing error is a ball that is thrown over the first baseman and is not caught. Pretty easy. It doesn’t have to be super intricate, jut something you can compare to previous performances on.