5 Second Softball Transition
Today I am going to talk about the transition from one play to the next. This could be while on the field or during an at bat. The 5 second transition that I am talking about is inspired by the 16 second cure that was developed for tennis by a sport psychologist by the name of Dr. Jim Loehr. I am going to use the same idea, and break it down to a 5 second transition for softball as players are re focusing for their next defensive or offensive action.
Pitchers have 10 seconds from the previous pitch to send the next one, this means that so does the defense and the batter. My 5 second transition is one that will prepare the player to be focused and ready to go before the next pitch. Here’s how it works.
I am using the acronym ABC for the transition move. A is for awareness or awareness of how your feeling or what your anxiety level might be. Are you happy, disappointed or not sure about the previous play or reaction to the ball. This would be 2 seconds. It would become easier as you get better at reading your emotions and feeling your anxiety levels. As you are doing this, you are taking a breath in through your nose. So, a 2 second breath in through your nose as you become aware of your emotions.
The next 2 seconds are for the B part of this transition. Breathe. Allow your breath to go out slowly through your mouth as you are calming your nerves and preparing not for the action but for your readiness for the next action. So 2 seconds, breathe out through your mouth preparing for the next step.
The C in the transition is the 1 second it will take to gain control and re focus onto your task at hand. This might involve a cue word or looking at something specific that focuses you quickly on the next pitch.
So just to recap.
A – Awareness
B – Breath
C – Control
This is not something that a player would be able to do right away unless they have some experience in mental training skills. And even then, it might take some time to zone in on anxiety levels and be able to ready the nervous system and mind. It’s also something that would need to be worked on and if the player is a pitcher, there would then be 5 seconds left for the signal to be relayed back unless they got really good at it and could do it with self talk while they are preparing to take the signal.
With good mental training skills and rehearsal, any player could be as prepared for every pitch as they were for the first pitch of the game. I know that for pitchers it can be difficult especially for new pitchers to maintain a good positive mindset for the entire game depending on how the game is going. The ability to reset for the next pitch is one of the best tools they can have in addition of course to the skills as a pitcher. I also know that pitchers have many tools at their disposal and this is just one more they could potentially use.
Players can experiment with this transition as they go. They might find a different amount of time that works depending on how much time they have and how quickly the pitcher gets the signal from the catcher during a game. If players work on it through the regular season, they will be ready to implement it for the for the big game. I would recommend that for season games players experiment with it. Or if it is a travel team that only plays tournaments, pick two tournaments during the season. Break your season into 3 segments then pick 2 tournaments to treat as a championship tournament. Then in the tournaments between the 2 that are designated, refine and make changes if needed.
For the final and most important tournament, players would try to use the transition tool without making changes. If they are attempting to make changes or trying different things, it may distract players from the task at hand which is to play to the best of their ability, using all of the refining that has been done through the season.