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.