Strength training confidence contributes to softball confidence more than we often consider. To ensure the best success, softball players need to take advantage of as many resources as possible, and train in as many components of the game that they can. When you think about the Physical, Mental, Technical and Tactical elements of softball, it can be overwhelming as coaches work with young players to improve skills through their softball career. The development of a well rounded athlete begins with the first time a player picks up a ball or enters the local gymnastics program as they learn fundamental movement skills.
Strength Training Confidence
Being a well rounded athlete requires many abilities in order to attain success. Most softball programs will focus predominantly on the technical and tactical components of the game with some consideration given to the physical and psychological requirements. This is often due to the tradition of the game or the limited knowledge and resources available to coaches and trainers. In order to enable an athlete to be great though, all of these elements are important in their development.
When you consider a sport like ours, there are so many technical and tactical skills in the game that including physical and psychological training might be overwhelming. The time commitment of being a coach does not always allow us the ability to spend extra hours in the gym, classroom or even on the field providing additional training. For this reason, I recommend that you encourage your athletes to participate in other sports and to even seek additional training through outside sources when they are ready.
For youth, coaches and trainers should be developing as many sports skills as possible. The great thing about physical training though is that strength training does not have to be specific to any sport and in fact should not be until the age of specialization, which is 14-15 years old for softball By participating in overall strength and conditioning, softball players can ensure that they are as prepared as possible to not only prevent injury but to maximize their potential in this great game.
The benefit of adding strength training is not only a technical and tactical benefit but a psychological one as well. An athlete that feels competent and self assured will feel less apprehensive about learning a new skill as they progress. With the self esteem that has been acquired through their training with a qualified coach or trainer, they will be more likely to continue in their attempts at learning the skill until they achieve it because they “know they can”.
The psychological skills, although known to be important is not something that is always a part of youth and even adult training. By including mental training as a part of a youth program, the perceived abilities with not only the technical and tactical skills but the physical skills as well are generally higher. This is likely to occur also as a result of increased self esteem, confidence and motivation as a part of learning skills like goal setting, cue words, relaxation and more.
If we can think of the development of our softball players as training, we can then include all types of activities in the game and not simply one or two. This would be most beneficial as youth grow into competition either at the highest levels or participating as a recreational athlete. With a good background in strength and conditioning, young softball players will continue into adulthood with a positive self perception which will give them confidence as they participate in the game or in whatever sport they chose.
You will find that a well rounded athlete, will not only be able to execute softball skills with ease but will feel confident in the execution even if it is not as successful as they had hoped. An athlete at any level who feels strong, fast and powerful is going to feel competent in almost any sports skills. Give your athletes a head start by incorporating strength and conditioning early while adhering to Long Term Athlete Development guidelines and you and the young softball player will not be disappointed.