Watching NCAA Softball is always AWESOME to say the least. As a coach and student of this great game, I of course spend my time watching the players and the plays after contact is made with the ball. I realize that games are won on errors, however I also believe that those errors can be minimized. If players can maintain the same focus through all of the distractions that occur during competition. This is the ability to execute softball fundamentals ball first.
There are skills in the game such as fielding, hitting, baserunning and throwing that happen during every game and sometimes even the same way. Focusing on softball fundamentals are the foundation for success. What I mean is focusing on how to field, hit, throw and run are basic that need to be solidified before moving to more advanced skills.
From a fielding perspective. The ball is hit on the ground in the infield. The defensive player who the ball is traveling towards has two things to consider, and more if there is also one or more runners on base. Where is she going to throw the ball after she fields it? How fast is the runner? Is there someone on base to catch the ball and make the play? There is one thing that is the most important though. Field the ball. Without the ball none of the other things can happen.
What often happens is the defender momentarily looks up at the runner which lifts the upper body which lifts the glove from the ground which gives the ball a clear path under the glove or an option rather than going into the glove. It could bounce off of the glove or the foot or even go out to the side. If the focus is only on the ball until it is in the glove then the percentages just went up for making the play…. perfect!
From the hitting perspective, If the hitter can simply focus and think about hitting the ball then the rest will follow. Far too often, the batter is thinking about the end result and possible consequences or success that can come with it. If the only focus is on the ball then the batter can make adjustments if necessary and have a good at bat. That ends once the contact is made though. Then the focus is on first base and the base coach and its the fielders turn to focus on the ball.
Now we know that no one is perfect. Striving for perfection however can move us closer.