High School Softball
How to Succeed
High school softball, like all high school sports, can bring great acclaim, but your players must be properly prepared, not only physically, but mentally.
There is no doubt that travel softball generally is a better caliber of softball because the players generally represent the best of the best area high school teams, but the high school game gets so much more media coverage. Why? Simple ... children, parents, and grandparents all identify with their high school. Local news coverage, both on the television and in print is the norm. Get the big hit, score the winning run, pitch that no hitter and you are almost certainly going to read about it in tomorrow's sports section. State champs and end of season "all area" first teams are big honors proudly shared by the player and her parents. So, if allowed to get out of control, the pressure to perform will daze your players.
The key is to remind them about the fun aspects of the game. They may be playing as "representatives of their school," but they are also playing for the fun of it; to be with schoolmates and do their best. Also, unlike the travel teams, which generally practice all year long, the high school teams practice sessions are generally boxed into a certain time period. This results in far less time to perfect the finer points of the game resulting in the choppiness you might see in these games. It, however, makes it no less exciting. This makes maximizing the practice time all that more important!
For freshmen going into high school who want to play high school softball, there are a few things you should know. First "optional" pre-season practices or "clinics" are really not optional. This is your chance to get the coaches to know you before the try-outs begin. Take advantage of it.
If you are a travel player, provide subtle clues, like wearing the shirt or using the team's batting helmet. On many teams, especially at smaller schools, travel players have a spot on varsity to lose rather than having to worry about winning a spot. Why? Because it is expected that if she spent the time playing travel, it will be reflected in her play and that she will understand the finer points of the game (base running, targeted bunting, slapping, and so forth). A word of caution: If you don't go in giving 100% and fooling around, you will lose your spot. A superior attitude
is expected and demanded from the travel player because they are expected to become team leaders. The high school softball season is too short to deal with players who are not focused and committed. Most travel players get this, because of their passion for the game. But it never hurts to say it.
For players who have played mostly recreation level play, this does not preclude you from making varsity. You will just have to try harder. Show great enthusiasm; asks questions; volunteer to be first ... in short get noticed for being successful. I have yet to meet a coach that didn't love enthusiasm. So work it! Also, figure out where you weaknesses are and work to improve them. Go to the batting cage and put the time in (including working out) just like if you were a travel player. This way, you will not spend time in "optional" workouts or tryouts knocking the rust off. Also, use some of the hitting
and fielding drills
you find on this site to help sharpen your skills prior to the coaches seeing you.
Never think you are not good enough. Remember: If you never try, the answer is always no. So go for it! Have fun! And I’ll look for you in the papers!
Top of High School Softball
Home to Fastpitch Softball Coaching
Return to Levels of Play