A routine is a sequence of actions that is regularly followed. The game of softball is full of routines and they are a critical piece to a player’s success on the field. Many athletes don’t even realize they are doing a routine until it is brought to their attention. Routines serve many purposes in the game of softball and are different based on the playing position. The main purpose of a routine is to mentally and physically prepare the players for the task at hand.
A softball player’s routine on game days is important. Whether you are up to bat, on the pitcher’s mound, in the field, or behind the plate, most players have a routine. Next time you watch a softball game on TV or in real time, pay attention to what the athletes do when they are between the lines. When a player is absorbed in her routine, she is zoned in, is mentally and physically prepared, and it will be hard to stop her from succeeding.
Routines develop over time and they can be practiced starting at a young age. Softball players should always practice the way they intend to play. Challenge yourself and your team to make everything game like. When you are on defense, practice getting into your ready position for every single rep. You would never take a play off during a game so don’t do it in practice.
Pitchers are extremely routine based. If you are a pitcher, pay attention to what you do when you receive the ball from the catcher and how you walk back to the mound. Chances are you will find yourself walking the same route back to the mound without even realizing it. This is a routine. If you need to use a Rosen bag during a game, you should use one in practice. If you add things to your game day routine without practicing them, this could lead to a loss of rhythm and when a pitcher isn’t in, or can’t get in a rhythm, they will have a hard time adjusting and this will affect their performance.
Most hitters will step into the box the same way every single time. The routine for hitters is going to vary, but if you watch a game, you’ll notice hitters do the same thing in between pitches and when they enter the box. This routine is also critical to the success of a hitter because it’s getting them mentally and physically ready to compete against the pitcher. If a hitter rushes into the box and skips over her routine, chances are she will be anxious with her swings and it will be difficult to make contact with the pitch.
Routines are evident and crucial to the game of softball. It is encouraged to practice the way you are going to play. If you and your teammates are able to do this, you will be successful on the field when the going gets tough. Many routines come naturally over time, but if you are eager to step into the box or on the mound like one of your idols, there is no age recommended for it to start. Routines lead to readiness which will lead the players to success.
Feature Image by: Michael Kyllo-Kittleson