Softball game analysis is generally considered an inventory on technical, tactical and physical skills. An interesting and useful angle is to look at how all aspects of the game can effect each other and the level of importance to success for each one. Following is a full analysis that was done as part of a yearly training plan in my study of the game. This includes some components that we don’t always think of when we are getting ready for the season. Keep in mind that this analysis is for a high level program and would not necessarily apply to introductory teams.
As you can see from the image, power , strength and speed are high on the level of importance to success at a competitive level the game. Hitting and throwing are the two most used skills in the game which of course will often determine wins and losses. Agility and coordination compliment the top skills. Balance you can see is not at the top of physical skills as you would see in a sport like gymnastics where it would be critical to success. It is something that players don’t have to consciously think about in training.
You can see by the graph that this is at the top of the list for importance. This gets more crucial as the level of the game increases and the competition is at the same level as your team. At the introductory levels of the game, technical and tactical skills would be more important as they are not yet mastered to the same degree. The new player would in the early stages be more focused on fielding the ball than what to do with it after and the game situation. A higher level player has already mastered technical and tactical skills.
You will notice that the importance of focusing on the technical skills is not as high as the other skills. As mentioned with the mental skills, at this level, technical skills should be mostly mastered. Throwing, fielding and hitting are the top rated technical skills because they happen most often and have the most opportunity for errors. You will see that hitting is high, however without a good mental skills plan, players will not be able to perform to their potential at the plate.
Although at this level, these skills are not as high in the softball game analysis as mental skills, a majority of the time at practices is spend on these skills. Many of them will be automatic, and new tactics are often added as the team improves. It is important to focus and perfect tactics before adding numerous that are sort of well executed. For example, there are a few plays for runners at 1st and third. Try not to include trick plays until the sure plays are well learned. Fundamental Softball perfection is more effective than many plays that are executed sort of well.
The amount of money spent on equipment is incredible. The reason that the playing field is one of the top of the rating scale is obvious as we have all played on the field that has dips and hazards. Be sure to have the players inspect new fields so that they are aware and don’t get hurt or encounter a surprise as a ball skips past them on a hard surface. The glove though must be at the top because if it doesn’t fit the player, she can’t handle the ball properly. An outfielder needs to have a glove that is a bit longer than an infielder because they need to have a longer reach. It can not be too big though because depending on their strength of the wrist, she will not be able to handle it when fielding the ball. Infielders generally have a short movement of the glove and the ball is most times close to them when they field it. As a coach, I would go to the store with players to help them to pick out a glove because often the store employees are not educated in the equipment they sell.
Bats are not as important in my opinion as they are given credit for. It needs to be the right size and weight for the player and needs to be approved by the governing body. I do know though how it feels to get a new bat and feeling like I am going to hit better because of it. It feels good. Teaching the mechanics and having a good mental skills plan though is what is going to be the most important contribution to success for this skill.
There are many factors in the environment that will effect the game. Of course weather is the most important. That’s why most coaches have the weather app on their phone. We can practice in different conditions to prepare for competition but we must have safety as a rule. The ball will be slippery and so will a bat during practices in the rain. All players should be wearing helmets anyway during hitting practice but especially when it is wet. Field conditions are generally not in our control. It is important though before competition and practices to make sure that the team knows the conditions to make any adjustments that might be necessary. The other factors can be practiced by bringing people or other noise sources out to training to provide the distractions that the team will need to work through.
At the higher levels, nutrition is often a regular part of the players daily considerations. Good nutrition though will assist with recovery in between games and provide energy during training or competition. Notice that season nutrition and hydration are the two top rated factors. Being a summer sport, heat is something we deal with daily. By staying hydrated even when not at the field, it will not be as much of an issue during competition. Ideally, supplements are not recommended because players should be eating a well balanced diet which is more than sufficient for the average player unless under the supervision of a doctor.
The reason most softball players start the sport is because their friends are playing. We need to keep this part of the game in mind as we are planning our season. The feeling of belonging is an important part of any team sport. Observe how the team interacts when together and considering a team liaison can help to keep everyone on the same level. It can also help to make sure that any concerns are addressed for players and coaches.
Key Performance Factors:
Following is the overall picture of my softball game analysis and how each part of the game can effect success as the competition level increases.
Softball Game Analysis Conclusion:
At different levels, different parts of the game will be important. As mentioned earlier, at the introductory level, technical and basic tactical skills will be more important. Mental considerations will be more about confidence and self esteem as players are learning this complicated sport. As players gain more experience, the focus will shift to more towards the mental game. Be sure to consider the level of your players as you modify the ratings to fit your team.