David Bowie wrote a hack of a song that started with this line. There is no doubt that change is a difficult thing for most of us to deal with. Nowhere is it more evident than when you ask a softball players (or her parents) to make changes to their game.
We all know human nature is a difficult enemy to defeat. It’s at the root of why players are so often resistant to change. They are used to doing something one way, they are comfortable doing it that way and they often don’t see any reason to try to change the way they do things.
So this leads us to the challenge of instructing, and honestly, coaching in general. Every player who comes to me for a lesson is there because they are unhappy with their performance or, at least, feel like they can improve with some help.
So here is where it gets a little confusing.
- Player goes to lessons because the are unhappy with their performance.
- Player gets instruction, which, often includes changes in their mechanics or approach.
- Player tries, often half-heartedly, to change or add or replace the problem that the instructor suggests.
- Player explains why the new change or addition or replacement feels weird or different or “not the way I do it”.
- Instructor tries another way of delivering the message. And another. And another. With similar results.
- Player continues to struggle in the subsequent games.
- Rinse. Repeat!
I firmly believe that players and parents enter into the world of instruction with the best of intentions. But those intentions fail to get the results they want because they are so resistant to change. One of the reasons players are so resistant to change is they’re so worried about what they are going to have to give up (change), that they can’t see all they have to gain.