Dedicated to Softball Girls with Big Hearts & Big Dreams
Jan 28, 2019
In general, I believe we are way too focused on the physical aspects of softball with too little focus on the mental aspects. We believe that we should have the mental aspects of the sport already ingrained in our brains. The truth is that the game of softball helps to further refine the strength of our mental toughness into other aspects of life, but it’s not something that comes naturally for players.
In just a couple of weeks, Aubree Munro, one of the greatest catchers to ever play the game of softball, will be coming to Buffalo, NY for a speaking event, luncheon, question/answer event, meet & greet and autograph signing. Aubree is not only a professional softball player but is also on Team USA. In her time as a Florida Gator, she won 2 collegiate NCAA national titles. She also plays professionally in the NPF and won multiple gold medals in the World Championships playing for Team USA. The question begs, why not host a hitting or catching clinic with someone of this caliber? Let me explain. I believe that the mental game is far more important than the physical game. I have been to NUMEROUS camps and clinics that the best of the best have come to instruct in my 25 years of coaching and playing. I firmly believe that a player is not going to become an incredible Division 1 athlete through 1-3 hours of a single camp with the greatest person in the world is instructing. It is difficult to get one on one intimate time with that person. Are those camps worth the money? ABSOLUTELY. But they are worth the money for a completely different reason than many parents think. They are worth the money for the spark that the famous camp instructor will give the girls to motivate them to become better and for the mental aspects of the game that they will learn.
Yogi Berra was quoted saying, “90 percent of the game is half mental.” Someone could have the greatest swing in the world but lack the mental confidence to produce in games. I was listening to a podcast with one of the greatest hitting coaches in the world that said that all good athletes will reach a time where they will be tested mentally. The ones that become the great players are the ones that can stick it out and find a way to push through it. We should be preparing our athletes to better handle these types of situations. That is what separates the good from the great.
I am reading a book called, The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. In the book, Coyle uncovers the reason there are talent hotbeds that breed professionals in specific talents whether it be a sport, music or something else. He explains that there are very little differences between the areas of the country or the world that breed great talent in a particular area and places that do not. One of the key pieces to growing greatness in a community is to have something ignite the passion within. When people think of the talent bed for softball players, we think of California. People from California are surrounded by professional softball players and top collegiate players. That tangible motivation helps to spark their motivation. You might wonder why one person will internally flourish and another teammate grows out of love with a sport. One person’s passions may have been ignited intrinsically while the less passionate person might not have had that same spark to fuel their passions. In talent hotbeds, there is an incredible surge of intrinsically motivated people from a person that was an outstanding role model. The book describes a great example of this with Anna Kournikova. She is a Russian tennis player that at 17 years old made it to the Wimbledon semifinals, and because of her great talent and good looks, she grew incredibly popular. That popularity grew a great motivational spark in Tennis players across Russia. In 1998 there were 3 Russians in the top 100 for tennis but by 2007 there were 12 in the top 50! All of that passion came from one spark. Imagine what that would be like for our area. One person could be the spark for your daughter to grow in love with the sport and get as much from it as she possibly can. That is why I have invited Aubree Munro to come to speak at our area. We need more people to light the fire in our area so that our players develop the passions behind the sport they love to be able to withstand against the mental barriers. They need to imagine themselves standing on the medal podium at the Olympics to provide the intrinsic drive. Munro is an incredible role model and has earned every bit of her story. She has overcome some big challenges along her journey. I am so excited for her to share her story with Buffalo.
When I was a young girl I distinctly remember Dot Richardson, a USA softball great, coming to Buffalo. I met her, got a picture with her and listened to her speak. That single event became a defining moment for me in my life. I realized what softball could be if I began to work hard. I could visualize myself in her place playing against the top competition in the world and that fueled me to work hard and take the sport seriously. I got to see the pride that she held wearing USA across her chest and later watched her win Gold in the Olympics on TV. Currently, we have been gaining our softball heroes from collegiate athletics on TV. Because softball has not been in the Olympics for a long time, we have not fully experienced what it is like to see our top USA softball players represent our country, but I remember watching them as a young kid. It was magical. It is a huge stage.
So as you’re sitting around wondering if it’s worth it to pay the money that is less than a lesson fee for your daughter to hear one of the greatest softball players of all time as she comes to your backyard, imagine if this was the spark that your daughter needed to ignite the fire that will burn from within to get her even more passionate about her dreams. Give her the tools she needs to withstand mental and physical blocks in life. Sign up at bit.ly/aubreemunro .