10 Things to Know As A Softball Player

From one softball player to another, I wanted to give you a few things to do and know that can help you become the best softball player you can be. Here are 10 things to know as a softball player (no matter your age or level).

1.Take Care of Your Glove.

Your glove should not look like a pancake. Pay attention to how you care for your glove. Keep a ball in it. When you set it down on the ground, set it down with the palm down. It should not look flat. This doesn’t change no matter how old you are or the level you play at. The way you take care of your glove is representative of how much you take pride in small details of this game. Small details of this game are VITAL for success.

2. Train explosiveness.

Think about it – our game is nothing but quick, explosive movements. Running to first base as quick as you can. One explosive pitch. 10 steps to run down a fly ball as an outfielder. One step to snag a line drive as an infielder. It does no good to run 4 miles. It’s better to do agilities or sprints. It’s better to do movements that are explosive – squat jumps, box jumps, broad jumps, etc. Those types of movements will help create the habit over time to be more explosive in every softball movement you do. Running long distance is great if you are trying to shed a few pounds, but that is not how our sport is played. Our sport is quick and fast. And that’s how you should train.

3. Listen to your parents, they can help you.

A lot of times your parents have the answers to help you make corrections. I know it’s hard to hear, but it’s true. Listen to them. Respect them. Build a relationship with them by communicating with how you would like to be given corrections, how often you would like to hear them or if YOU are going to be the one to go up to them and ask for their help. If they’ve been to lessons, practice and games with you, more times than not they have information that can help you, so develop a plan WITH your parents in how that information will be relayed and shared. They need to be able to listen to you, too, as you coach them on how to coach you where you can HEAR what they are telling you.

4. It’s cool to work hard.

You will come across teammates who don’t want to work hard for one reason or another. They will come up with excuses to get out of practice with the team, practice on their own, and games. No matter what anyone else is doing, know it’s super awesome to work your hardest at anything you are doing. Limit excuses and go out and play.

5. You are not defined as a person based on how “good” you are at softball.

Remember there is more to life than softball. 20 years after you are done playing, your friends will not remember how many strikeouts you had or how many homeruns you hit. They will remember if you were a good teammate, a good friend, and if you set a good example for younger players. Those things are more important than being labeled a “good” softball player. The awards you win or do not win as a softball player is NOT a direct reflection of the type of friend, daughter, sister or person you are. When your softball career is over, you don’t’ want someone saying, “Yeah she was a really good short stop, but I would not trust her as far as I could throw her.” Be loyal. Be trustworthy. Don’t gossip. Stay humble. Be appreciative.

6. Being a pitcher is not about striking everyone out.

Even if you are NOT a pitcher, this is an important one. Defenders – your pitchers are not going to strike everyone out. Get used to it. Make plays behind her. Pitchers – get it in your head that you are not going to strike everyone out, and don’t TRY to. Usually when you TRY to strike someone out, it doesn’t quite pan out how you want it to. Know your pitching strengths and how you get outs. The defense should be aware of your strengths such as best pitch, which side of the plate you throw to and if you generally get more ground ball outs or pop ups.

7. There’s always something to do in a game.

If you are at the ball field on a team, you have a job to do whether you are in the starting 9 or on the bench waiting for your chance. Even if you are injured and are not going to play, you can still contribute. Pick pitches or signs, notice pitching tendencies, pick up your teammates who are down, chart pitches for YOUR pitcher, chart pitches of the opposing pitcher. Get creative with how you are finding a way to still help your team, because in the end, if you are on a team, you are wanting to WIN even if you are not the one starting at your position.

8. It’s good to play multiple sports.

Playing multiple sports makes you a more diverse athlete. Every sport is going to work different muscles and different athletic skills, so the more sports you play, the better athlete you become. Don’t live your life in fear of getting hurt – that can happen anywhere. Be ATHLETIC. It’s one of the biggest things coaches look for when you get older, and you can develop a more diverse athletic skills profile by tackling different sports.

9. With every rep you take, you are either getting a little better or getting a little worse.

If you are going to practice, make that time worth it. The most valuable thing we have is time. So if you are using your time to take reps, take those reps and get BETTER. If you are not paying attention to your reps and just going through the motions, you might even be getting a little worse. Every time you go out to practice, remember that day you are either getting a little better or a little worse.

10. You will not be perfect – accept it.

You chose to play softball. Understand that this choice comes along with the fact you will NOT be perfect. Find a way to balance trying to be perfect with the acceptance that it is not going to happen. The longer you hang on to being up set that you were not perfect in a game, at practice or for a certain rep, the longer it takes to recover and get better/grow. Learn from your mistakes more than you hang on to them. It’s ok not to be perfect. Every person you play with, against, or who you have watched played before and may even look up to, has not been perfect at this sport. You are not alone. Trying to be perfect and the inability to work through NOT being perfect is one of the biggest limiting factors your game can come up against.

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Amanda Scarborough

Big 12 Freshman of the Year (2005)
Big 12 Player of the Year (2005)
Texas A&M Softball All American ('05 & '07)
Big 12 Pitcher of the Year (2007)
WCWS Appearances ('07 & '08)
Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee (2014)
ESPN Softball Analyst
The Packaged Deal co-founder

41 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Great advice esp the point made for players to stay involved during the game. Hard to do when cheering constantly. We are big fans of you, my son says you are one of his favorites in the softball world.

  • Love this article. I will be sharing it with my daughter. Thanks for the motivation.

  • I love this! could relate to every single one. For sure going to send this is all of my team mates!!

  • Thank you for your good advice. I’m going to share it with my daughter. She may not listen to me and her father so I hope she take your words to heart. For one player to another Thank you!
    Jennifer Miniard AKA JenDu

  • I just shared this article to my daughter….she is starting college in the fall and is going to play softball. She is excited but nervous because they already have two great pitchers who will be sophomores. Her biggest issue is trying to be perfect. That has gotten un her way this summer. On her high school team she was the only pitcher and her record last year was 34 and 12 and this year it was 19 and 6. She missed 4 weeks due to a bad car accident and a fractured elbow on her non pitching hand. She got released the day before the play offs and pitched all the way to substate. She works so hard but often has issues due to wanting to be perfect;)

  • As a player, this is really inspiring to me. I always thought that I understood the game and knew what I had to do to succeed in it, but after reading your article I know now that there is so much more than like you said being “good” at softball. I wanted to thank you for opening my eyes to the rest of the game.

  • I am definitely going to repost this to my 12 going on 14U team. Thank you for posting this!! Go Dirt Mafia! =D

  • Yea Amanda I’m working on oneself. I told daughter I’m going to let her fix it without much bickering…but it’s true , sometimes heredity is hard to break if you was yelled at, but I do relax because I know how it feels! That’s why outside of softball I still create the loving relationship of a Daddy/Daughter until I totally be separate the Coach /Daddy. 🙂

  • Amanda I am a pitcher what you have posted has really helped me understand for what Softball is about

  • Amanda-

    Love the site! Great information for the young girls in the softball world. I love your comment about taking care of your glove. I totally agree. Many girls just come into the dugout and throw it on the bench and it eventually becomes flat and not in good condition. Can you go more in depth on the best way to take care of your glove both during games and between games/practices when it is sitting in your bag. Hoping you can share some best practices. Thanks

  • As a player i was wondering if you could give me some more tips for my softball speech for 4H so i can get into one of the best teams in my school were called the Lady Hornets. Plz answer some more of my questions later when i ask some

  • So inspiring.

    Huge fan of you girls.
    You all realy show what softball is all about.

    Believe your skills reached all over the world.
    I’m linving in the Netherlands a state called Tilburg in Noord Brabant. And i coach at Moergestel at softball club Roef! And the kids there love the way i’m using your drills to teach them and inspire them in softball. Keep up the good work. And hope to see you ones in the Netherlands at my club for a clinic. Would be dreams comming true for a lot of girls at Roef! But also in the Netherlands. ????

  • Thanks for the wise words! My 9 year old has found softball to be her passion, but all of these (literally all 10 of your tips) have affected her in one way or another these last two years! Sitting down with her and discussing these tips and coming from such a respectable player is very impactful! Thanks!!

  • My daughter Amanda has been playing softball since she was 6 (started playing on a co-ed baseball team). Her father, myself and many coaches saw a GREAT deal of natural ability in her. With combined efforts of her father and various coaches- Amanda has been playing competitively on many leagues, has been a part of club ball and traveling teams, now in high school she has been playing on the school’s varsity team as a freshman. Her father has always coached on the teams she has played on and she is an amazing athlete. Amanda is a shy 16 year old- isn’t into the girl drama- girl gossip and “the click thing” -she never has been. (There is a lot of that in girls sports) I share this with you because now that Amanda is 16 she wants NO PART of playing softball. Literally has hung up her glove and bat- She won’t say why- has no reason other than- “I just don’t want to play anymore”. Her father and I as well as MANY coaches are SHOCKED.. We can’t understand why? Is there any reason that you can think of and is there a WHY behind this all of a sudden? Thought to ask a young athlete like yourself- maybe you have some words of wisdom and can shed light. I often wonder if her “father” pushed her too hard to play. We have always been very supportive of her playing and will always support her even if she doesn’t want to continue playing. We have coaches calling weekly wanting to recruit her and she wants no part of it? Thank you, in advance for reading my post and for your follow up..

  • This was really great advice i didn’t want to play when i was younger because i thought the ball was going to hit me in the face but i’m going to play next year in Junior High! thanks so much!!!!!!!!!

  • I’m a pitcher and It is hard. I want to be just like you! I’ve never looked up to anyone as I’ve done you. You are my inspiration. I have haters, people who tell me I suck, and people who are jealous. It’s nothing I can control. I wish it wasn’t like that but it is. Do you have any tips on what to with the haters?

  • In a softball pitcher and i work with a woman named Susan and i work with my parents. My mom used to be a pitcher Brittany Caitlin Sullivan and she is constantly pushing me, also my dad. They always say you always need to strike people out and you need to be perfect and i showed them this website and just showed them the 10 things you need to know and the actually stopped saying strike people out and you need to be perfect. Thank you!

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