In athletics, we learn lessons that carry over into everyday life. Here are three major life lessons that I've learned while playing softball for Mattawan.
I’ve been playing softball since I was nine years old, but the last four years with Mattawan's softball program have been the most memorable; I've learned a lot. Alicia Smith, head coach at Mattawan, always tells us how important the lessons from athletics are whether we’re on the field or off. She does her best to prepare us for the game and life after the locker room.
Our team is different from all the rest: we have notebooks. After every practice, we come together as a team to discuss podcasts, read books like The Hard Hat or Training Camp (both by Jon Gordon), read articles, all to prepare us for the mental aspect of the game. Over the past three years playing for Mattawan, I’ve learned more about softball and life than I have anywhere else. Here are three of the most important things I’ve learned in my high school softball career:
On both Junior Varsity and Varsity, you are part of a team. It's essential that you work as a unit with each other. To do so, you must be encouraging and supportive to cheer each other to victory. Along with this, you have to pick each other up. I've learned that positivity will always overcome negativity.
On the field, there is the potential for chaos and confusion. However, when someone steps up to call out the next play, where the runners are at, or to watch for a bunt: everybody knows what's going on. Thus, a lot of the confusion is eliminated. When working with others, communication and leadership are key elements.
The beginning of last year's season was rough. We were so preoccupied with making it to the end goal (winning the title of State Champions), that we forgot how to do the basic things that would get us there: catch, throw, hit. To perform at your best, you have to focus and take a deep breath to slow yourself down.
In softball, there is always another at bat. In life, there is always another opportunity for improvement.