Taking Responsibility for Yourself by Nikoli Sharp


“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is YOU who will get you to where you want to go, no one else.”

Within sports, we tend to fall into this rabbit hole of selfishness, blame, and excuses. Softball is a game of failure. There are incredible highs and incredible lows whether it is at practice, in a game, or in a lesson, but it is what each player can take from each high and low that can help set them apart from the pack of athletes around the world.

If we let them settle for: “It wasn’t my fault, it was my teammates” “The umpire took the bat out of my hands” “The umpire lost us the game” “The coaching decision cost us the game”  we are allowing them to place blame on others while ignoring their own faults, and also slowing them down while hindering their abilities in reaching their potential. OWNING up to a fault is part of the game that must be done in order to learn and apply respect and responsibility.

Now, we all know that sometimes these scenarios hold truth, but I’m talking about the majority. Our athletes need to learn how to take responsibility for their actions! If we allow them to point fingers and place blame on others, they will be hurting themselves in the long run not only in the sport of softball, but in life itself. If they don’t hold themselves accountable, they are hindering their progress as an athlete, teammate, and person. We all want to see our athletes succeed, so let’s help them understand the importance of taking responsibility for their actions and turning their weaknesses into motivating factors!

The athletes need to understand that it is OKAY to fail. It is OKAY to make a mistake. It is OKAY to not be perfect. If they are able to understand those few, but dense important parts of the game, they will be able work through their struggles, create individualized focus points in practice, and the ability to strengthen their skill sets in the present and future. They will be able to understand that a failure is a building block, a step in improving themselves. They will learn the importance of having a positive perspective, and always looking for the lesson within the struggle. They will be motivated into taking action, creating their own practice plan so mistakes are not repeated. They will be able to set themselves up for success!

Once they are taking responsibility for their actions, it gives them the ability to evaluate what they did wrong, understand their weaknesses, set a new goal to turn the weakness into a strength while reaching a higher potential and progressing towards their overall goals whether they are made now or in the future. They will be able to apply these skills as they get older and more seasoned within the sport, while also being able to apply them in life!

Yes, your athlete will get angry, upset, disappointed, and embarrassed, but if they are able to turn that emotion into understanding, motivation, and inspiration, they will move past the obstacle they face in a positive direction through practice, hard work, and determination. When they know what they did wrong, they can fix it. When they blame someone else or make excuses, they won’t be able to fix it.

Creating a plan:

Whether they are struggling with an aspect of defense, hitting, or their mental game, an individual practice plan they create will be extremely beneficial. A practice plan they do outside of team practices where they can focus on their personal struggles and weaknesses.

Create an individualized practice plan that involves a few drills to be done in a certain amount of days a week, where they focus on the particulars, whether it be fielding the ball with soft hands, improving their range, reading the ball effectively, completing back hands correctly, extending their hands or using more power within their swing, controlling their emotions or visualizing for their mental game, tightening spins or using legs while pitching, and so on! These are just a few as there are a vast amount of skills that make up the game of softball and in being a softball player.

Take responsibility and start creating your own practice schedule where you are able to focus on your strengths and weaknesses and become a better athlete and person! YOU ARE CAPABLE OF GREATNESS, so take responsibility and start creating a postitive direction in reaching your success!

Written by Nikoli Sharp

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