Establishing off the field routines is the difference maker in your game you didn’t even know you were looking for. Keep reading to find out why and how to build routines that work for you.
Every athlete wants to one up their opponent. Always looking for that extra edge, something that separates them from the pack. The further you go in your softball journey, the higher the competition, the more you realize that in order to get the upper hand you need to focus on what you’re doing off the field. The athletes who truly want it as bad as you do are putting in the same extra work that you are. Think about it, your opponents are ALSO taking extra reps, watching film, getting after it in the weight room etc. So how do you set yourself apart? How many people do you think are taking the time to hone in on tools that will help them stay focused come game time? For me, that's been the difference maker. I realized that I’m performing at my best on the field when I can control my thoughts and just react. My motto on offense has always been “see ball hit ball”. To do that, I need to be able to control my thoughts and my breathing while in the box. This has meant establishing routines that help me slow my mind, breathing and emotions down.
As an example, journaling in the morning and at night has been a huge part of my routine, especially playing overseas. Being able to write down my goals for that day, acknowledge the things I'm grateful for, and take stock in how I'm feeling has really helped me clear my mind. I also like to listen to calming music. I built a playlist that I listen to as I focus specifically on my breathing. Again, PRACTICING what it means to slow down so come game time, I have that in my back pocket. The last piece of my routine is focused on consistency. For me, this has meant prioritizing time in the morning to make sure I'm fueled. A good breakfast and a minute to appreciate my first cup of coffee to set the tone for the day is what works for me. (The superstitious side of me forces it to be the same exact breakfast daily but that's beside the point!) Before the day can control my energy, I set the tone by defining over that cup of coffee how I'll be approaching it.
Here's the key, what works for me may not work for other people. Some of my teammates need to listen to a more upbeat playlist to pump them up. Some may not be able to eat a big meal before the game and they stick to a snack that works for them. Find what works best for YOU. Whether its journaling, listening to music, reading a book, going for a walk, or even just staying off your phone. The awesome thing about creating a routine is that its YOUR routine. Its whatever makes you feel good and gets you locked in. My recommendation is to start backwards - find out how you PERFORM your best and build routines around finding that feeling in your life off of the field.
The choice is yours just remember to find what works for you AND be consistent. This will set you apart from the pack.