All posts by kcambush

The State of Ambush

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to update the site with our progress. Overall, both teams (Ambush ’03 & ’07) are doing about how I expected them to.  Really impressed with how both teams are developing.

Ambush ’03 is on the cusp of greatness. We’re currently around the .500 mark and our softball IQ is growing exponentially. We’ve made some phenomenal plays on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. We’re a younger 14A team so I expected us to get our fair share of wins and losses.

We’ve beat some really good teams and have taken some lumps against some really good teams as well.  So far, we’ve only brought home one trophy for the year.  A second place finish in a lower flighted bracket.

Overall, very proud of these girls and expect them to hit their groove in the fall maybe even the spring of next year since we have to now deal with the Missouri High School scheduling conflict. Either way, I expect them to become a household name in the 14A arena very shortly (if they aren’t already).

Ambush 07, is a very solid team that possess consistent flashes of greatness.  If I’m not mistaken, they’ve brought home a trophy in each of the tournaments we’ve played in (all lower flighted brackets).  We give the trophies to the tournament MVP instead of coaches keeping them.

Half the team can still play coach pitch so it’s obvious in certain areas that the physical aptitude just isn’t there yet with some.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re very solid fundamentally 1-11 but you can see how that 1 year age difference really makes a difference with overall coordination and body control.

Because of that, our plan is to break the team up into 2 teams in the fall.  So when Ambush holds tryouts, we’ll be having tryouts for at least 2 teams at the end of the season.  That month from now seems SO far away that we haven’t even thought about tryout dates.

Whatever the outcome, I’m really confident that both teams will be really competitive in their respective age groups. I’m totally looking for Ambush 07 to make the jump to “B” ball possibly starting in the fall.

I must say how proud I am of the teams structure.  Ambush is more like a family instead of just softball players and teammates.   The parents make the season easy as they’re totally dedicated and committed to the program.  The tangible and intangible support from top to bottom is awesome.

That’s about all I got from KC Ambush at the moment.  I’ll try to keep this updated more regularly. That is all.


KC Ambush 03 – Dodgeball Tournament

Ambush 03 decided to give their go at Sky Zone for their monthly open dodge-ball tournament.  The girls had complete BLAST!  They came ready to seek and destroy any moving target they could conquer in the arena.

Fortunately lots of teenage boys and girls decided they wanted no parts of the Ambush rage and decided not to show.

So what do you do when you’re ready to compete and everyone else is a no-show? Your competitive juices are already flowing so you COMPETE within.

The girls decided to break up into teams and hold their own internal dodge-ball tournament. The results were HILARIOUS.  

They divided themselves amongst themselves and the teams looked pretty evenly matched ON PAPER

That was on paper.  In the end, the least favored team came out and took the gold.

Who were they?  It’s not important. What’s important is these girls had an awesome moment TOGETHER.  I tip my hat off to the parent(s) that organized this one as it made me want to get out there and take off some heads  (I couldn’t because I was in my work clothes).

After they finished their pool and bracket play in their internal tournament, they took to the open play arena.  There they’d go against random younger and older kids/teenagers that ranged from decent to really good in skillset.

They DOMINATED as a team winning every time they played against “the locals”.  Eventually, they had to be split up as it was pretty obvious that there was too much of a mismatch between Ambush and “the locals”.

In the end. They all placed 1st, 2 & 3rd in the tournament and won prices such as free time at Sky Zone for future play dates, etc.  

Afterwords they all went to the local teenager hangout spot and re-fueled on IHOP.

I had to bow out of that one as IHOP was NOT on my Friday night to do list. However, the girls did more bonding and that’s all I was concerned with.  Bigger things are on the horizon.  So far, I like what I’m seeing.  A little over a month and time will tell.

Something tells me we’re going to be a force to be dealt with and the girls are excited!

#kcambush #TakeWhatYouWant


The pre-season is under way

Earlier this month the Ambush organization set out to embark on a world softball domination quest.  I’ve spent much of the off-season thinking of slogans to match each teams make-up.

“Leave it on the Field”

That’s Ambush 07’s motto as I explained to them that it means that after every game, practice  or Ambush related activity they have to ask themselves one question and one question only. “Did they give their best/all and have no regrets?”

They’re under 10 years of age,  so of course they had little idea what I was talking about so I had to break it down.  When you come off the field after a game, did you get your butt down low enough on fielding triangles (an Ambush thing)?  Did you run your fastest to the bases? Did you talk loud enough and communicate to your teammates?

Basically once you leave the field the goal is to not have one second guess about your effort and things you have 100% control of.  Their eyes then lit up filled with understanding and pride.

With that speech, I’m passing accountability to themselves instead of it always coming from the coach’s redundant blabbering. They loved the concept and are buying in.

“Take What We Want”

Those 4 words are the result of beating myself up trying to come up with their motto for more than 3-4 months.  I needed something that represented the team and how aggressive I need them to be as now they’re fundamentals are beginning to become second nature.

The Bad News Bears

I gave those girls a speech about how in every facet of their life, they’re told to be modest;  Say no thank you when offered something from someone.  Open the door for that stranger.  Be considerate for that person/stranger.  Ask about how the weather is or how someone is doing when you don’t really care.  By that point most of the girls were nodding their heads in agreement wondering where I was going with it.

Where is the only place you don’t have to be nice? All of them were looking lost by that point. Then one answers, “In basketball”.  I replied, “yes and no”.  SPORTS! Sports in general!

It’s the one place where you literally have to have the mentality of I’M BETTER THAN YOU, own it and impose your will to dominate.

They started getting excited.

I then explained how I wanted them to have that mindset last year but didn’t go with the motto (“focus” was last years’ motto).  You girls have all the tools in the world to beat any team we run across. It’s time to own it and to outright say to yourselves as a team that YOU ARE BETTER than the team we’re about to play.

I proved my point even further and pulled out a photo I snapped the fall before. I showed them a never seen photo of a really good team we were about to play in a tournament last year. In the photo it shows our girls jogging past that team while they were warming up. It showed how much of a significant size dis-advantage we had and I remember thinking, “We’re about to kick their butts“.

I don’t remember the score of the game but they remembered the team and the game and started smiling to each other in confidence. I’ve never told them I took the picture or my thoughts but it solidified first hand my confidence level in them.  It’s not just talk when I tell them that.

For now, we’re inside doing strength and agility and more drill work than actual practices. We’re using the off-season for rehashing and perfecting techniques so we can hit the ground running once the weather breaks.  This is going to be a fun season for both teams.


Ambush Christmas 2016

We had our first ever (AWESOME) Christmas celebration that was put together by parents of the older Ambush team.

Everything was well planned, coordinated and we had a complete hoot!  Bowling, pizza, arcades, pool, white elephant gift exchanges as well as a regular gift exchange for the younger team, you name it.

The girls all had a blast socializing since it’s been a little over 2 months since they’ve last seen each other outside of group chat and face time or school.  They were as giddy as all get out.  I had to show them how good of an athlete I was in the bowling lanes, NOT!

This guy to the left is doing everything in his power trying not to blush while being asked to pose with the wonderful surprise gifts that were just presented to him.  He especially loves his custom Ambush tumbler.

Lots of the parents voluntarily expressed that they’re ready to get back at it now that they’ve been re-united. It’s like the gathering stirred up their competitive spider senses.

To the right is most of little Ambush that made small waves but major strides in 2016. There’s not one superior bowler in the bunch (bless their hearts). That’s ok! They’re not keeping bowling as their day-time jobs as they are becoming softball players instead of just, girls that play softball.

Luckily, they aren’t dancers either as they aren’t very good at staying in character as you can see at least one of them peaking out of their pose.  However, last night, their energy was contagious and hopefully it’ll carry over once we start indoor workouts next year.

After pizza, they were rewarded with a cake on it with our 2015 season slogan of “No Fear”.  It was a nice finish to a fantastic season. I’m so excited and ready for the holidays to be over so we can see just how eager they really are.

Something tells me on 1/8/2017 that they’re all going to be rethinking their life choices.  These girls will endure just as they always have.  2017 will be huge for both squads. Let’s get to it already! #kcambush



Ready to Ambush

We have the Ambush Christmas party 12/18, Christmas and The New Year holidays and then I feel we’re about to embark on something spectacular.

The 2017 spring/summer season for Ambush softball!

This is about the time I start figuring out our slogan for the year.  I have a couple I’ve been switching back and forth on for a while now.  Our slogans have meaning conducive to what we’re wanting to accomplish for that year.  Prior years “We Believe”,  “I will NOT lose” & “Focus” are a few that came to mind.

The girls have come to anticipate our slogans and the accompanying speech that’s delivered at the first practice of every year.  This year will be on Sunday 1/8/17 at our in door facility.

For the older team, I’ve been texting myself little tidbits we need to work on in order to incorporate them into our preseason workouts.  More specifically, I want to get us better in our defensive short-hop & line drive game. We’ve worked on line-drives and short-hops over the years but I want to make it a point of emphasis this year as the competition is getting bigger and stronger.  I want them to learn how to protect themselves in those situations.  Our outfield coverages and relays need to be better.  I also want to get our bunting more consistent.

Our overall goals are to help mold great young women and to help use softball as a tool to get them into college at a free or discounted rate.  I think with the tools we’re giving them, the majority on the team have a great chance at a discounted college experience.  The fundamentals taught alone put them at an advantage against their peers.

Coach Craig Lester and I possess a lot of baseball/softball experience and we try teaching the girls every nuance we know about the game.  We really pride ourselves in the small details that make the girls better overall.  We’ve both been told numerous times by outside parents that their kid has learned so much just by being around us during whatever time-frame than at any point in thier softball tenure.  I’m not saying all of this to brag, I’m saying it’s just flattering to be noticed in such a way.  We both love giving back and appreciate the feedback.  It doesn’t go unnoticed.

Subject change: I’ll tell you what’s been flattering over the last couple of seasons.  We’ve had numerous people outside the team wanting to join our winter workouts.  They’ve always been cleared by their current team while some just weren’t on a roster at the time.  It’s flattering because it subliminally validates what we believe, what we do and how we prepare our girls.

This year, we’ve been overwhelmed by the number of requests to join us this preseason. As a result, I don’t think we’ll be able to take on many (if at all) due to the size of the facility constraints.  Before it was just big Ambush for the most part with extra girls.  Now it’s Little Ambush joining them this year as we’re switching the way we practice as previously mentioned in an earlier article.  So the space just will not be there.

Anyhow, We’d love to get to work with everyone that’s willing but I’m afraid it just won’t be possible this year.  However, our practices outside will possibly be open if interested in them as well.

For now, it’s about getting these girls ready to compete at the highest levels possible.  With their bodies getting bigger and more coordinated, I feel this will be a critical year for us to set the tone for years to come.

Starting to get EXCITED!

GO AMBUSH! #kcambush


The Slow Season is Amongst Us!

This is the time of year every softball coach has been waiting for.  It’s also the time every softball coach can’t wait to get rid of.  That’s right… From October – January: The SLOW SEASON!

This is the time we’re devising our plans about how we’re badswinggoing to dominate the softball world.  How we can develop a certain player to reach their full potential now that we’ve all  had a chance to digest what has happened over the last 6 months. This is the time we think about how we’re going to change a persons swing, batting stance, throwing motion, etc in order for them to take names once the season comes around.

Over the years, I’ve noticed the girls respond better after breaks so this year I’m totally switching it up.  After our last tournament, I told the girls to totally forget about softball until it’s time to think about softball.  I can do that because the parents are AWESOME. Even if they won’t be doing softball related activities, the parents will keep them active in other sports or activities that allows them to develop other motor skills. For now, we’ve earned a much needed time away from softball!

I guess I understand how a break in sports is needed to reassess and grow and learn from the previous season.  There’s something about alone time that makes us a better player. I can’t describe it but I just know there’s some explanation for how we come back better after being away from a routine for an extended period of time.

Before, we’d still do hitting lessons until around Thanksgiving and start back after the first of the year.  However, this organization is really like a family so we’ve been in contact with each other throughout the downtime and will be having a holiday party (pc correct) with girls from both teams. That should be FUN and I’m really looking forward to it.

Now onto softball… We’ve narrowed down our off-season practice/conditioning location and times. I’ve been busy getting our older team into more quality organizations and tournaments as we’re coming upon the college recruitment years. We’re going to start going to college showcases and invitationals this year so we’ll really get to gauge ourselves against some of the best competition in the country.

There’s a lot of prep work that goes into getting to this point. I feel our entire structure has been based off of the work smarter/not harder concept.  imgresBecause we’re taught technically sound mechanics in everything we do, we don’t practice as much as other teams.  I’ve heard of teams having 3-4 practices a week 3-5 hours long (per practice). We’re lucky if we get 2, 2 hour practices in any particular week. It keeps the girls fresh and excited to practice while preventing burnout.  From January – April we hit the ground running HARD! We’re re-honing skills and fundamentals inside as well as implementing new plays, situations and/or techniques.  It’s a formula that’s worked in our favor for years as I feel the girls are all better from it.

Another thing I’ve observed over the years is that I really start to understand something once I’m teaching it or explaining it to others. For THAT very reason, we’re going to have the younger Ambush do all of the off-season workouts WITH the older Ambush.  I’m going to have the older girls teach and demonstrate and take ownership in some of the development of the younger girls and their fundamentals.

Hopefully, during the process, this accomplishes 2 things:

  1. (the obvious) Both parties learn from it and start to really understand why we do certain things as the older players will be held accountable.
  2. It’ll also help with their mentoring and leadership skills to where they learn to communicate with others they’re unfamiliar with as well as their peers. Hopefully that communication will take place in the field. They’ve been pretty good with that as of late.

We’re building something here! I LOVE IT!


Ambush – Bittersweet practice field.

Last night Ambush rose to the challenge of getting our practice field in better shape.  The practice field was filled with rocks  for some reason from when they brought dirt in years ago.
When I say rocks, I mean ROCKS.  To put things into perspective, we scrimmaged a team on this field in the spring and they couldn’t believe the rock filled conditions we practiced on.  During the scrimmage, their girls had great difficulty fielding routine ground-balls while our girls eased through the field conditions like champs.

That moment suddenly hit me.  As a kid, I remembered how I used to make things harder on myself so when I’m faced with them in game situations I’d breeze through them.  So no doubt having Ambush field AND slide on this field prepared us for the upcoming season.  This is where the majority of our practices have been since our start.

Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago, the director of the field wanted to have his softball team and Ambush come out for a “prepare the field day”.   Long story short, only one of his players showed up (no knock on his team).  ALL of Ambush made it that didn’t have a prior commitment.  The field director was REALLY impressed with how engaged this team is with each other and the turnout we had on behalf of Ambush.  It was really something to be proud of as every parent and player made the dream work.  What’s more, when I presented the parents with the idea, there wasn’t a lot of excuses. It was more of a “we want to do this” attitude.  I don’t know if it was something they felt they did because they were tired of the rocks or if they just genuinely were up for it.  To be fair, they had no idea what work was being planned for the field so I’m guessing they were up for it.

When I say we worked, WE WORKED!

We had to rake the ENTIRE infield into multiple piles of dirt and use this makeshift sifter to pour the piles onto in order to sift the rocks out of the dirt.  Others seeded, fertilized and landscaped the surrounding area.

After about 3 hours, we got the infield looking respectable.  Now what are we to do with a regular infield?

I’m pretty sure, we’ll figure something out!


Ambush hitting…

hitting6I’ve been in development of a hitting “cheat sheet” (if you will) for our personal batting cage that I’m pretty excited about.   It’s compromised of various Bryce Harper swings as I love the way he drives his hips and keeps his head down the barrel of the bat from “toe  touch” to “extension” (well after contact).

I’m huge on fundamentals and small tweaks  mean a WORLD of difference for players.  Hopefully this will give the girls taking lessons a better visual I can reference instead of just trying to explain it to them over and over and…

Now, I get to just point to a number on the 3’x6′ banner in order for them to get to that point. This is  HUGE for Ambush!