One of the greatest weaknesses I see in many players is their inability to appreciate and celebrate when they do something well. We all know that intrinsic motivation is the strongest tool in learning and mastering a new skill, so the idea that players often do not celebrate an accomplishment sheds a great deal of light into why some kids struggle to learn new skills.
One of the biggest reasons kids give for playing the game is that it is fun. Now we all know that fastpitch softball is a fun game to play but it is loaded with all kinds of disappointments along the way. Too many kids want to beat themselves up for mistakes, but refuse to pat themselves on the back when they do something well! Almost like they “should” always do it well so doing it well is meaningless.
We want our players to start to have more fun while they are playing, while they are training and while they are practicing. To make that a reality, we need to encourage our kids to pay attention to every victory, no matter how small, and celebrate when it happens.
If a player doesn’t pat themselves on the back as they reach a goal or learn a new skill they are very unlikely to keep up the work to accomplish the next goal. It’s supposed to be fun and celebrating an accomplishment is fun.
Players, that doesn’t mean you need to do a bat flip or cartwheel every time you do something well but it is OK to give yourself a mental high five or pat on the back or atta baby! Without the fun, what’s the point?