There’s No Sorry in Softball

A parent passed along this great article and I wanted to share!

There’s No Sorry in Softball by Ken Krause Life in the Fastpitch Lane

If there’s one word I never want to hear on a softball field or during a practice it’s the s-word. No, not that s-word, although I’m not too thrilled about that one either. I’m talking about the word “sorry.”

You see, fastpitch softball is a game built on failure. It’s the only sport where you can fail seven out of 10 times and still be considered an All Star. (For those not familiar with the math, hitting a pitched ball three out of 10 times gives you a .300 batting average, which makes you All Star material.

Where it seems to come up the most, though, is when I’m giving a pitching lesson. The pitcher will throw a ball into the dirt in the right hand batter’s box, and right away she’ll say “sorry” to the catcher.

When I hear that I will usually stop the lesson right there and ask why she is saying “sorry.” Did she try to throw the ball there and then think better of it afterwards? Of course not. It just happened. So why is she sorry?

No one ever improved in this game by being careful. When you’re practicing you need to be free to make mistakes, to get out on the edge and see what you can really do. A “sorry” mentality means you’re more interested in pleasing others than getting better, and that’s no way to approach practicing.

When I hear the s-word I will tell the pitcher she shouldn’t be saying “sorry,” and if I hear it again she’ll owe me five pushups right then and there. It’s said with good humor, not to be mean, but I do make them do the pushups.

Softball is hard enough to learn without having the need to apologize for mistakes hanging over your head. That’s what practice is for. If the pitcher throws a pitch when the catcher’s not looking, then it’s ok to say “sorry.” Short of that, the word shouldn’t be in the pitcher’s vocabulary. Besides, saying “sorry” is a way of excusing the behavior, and I don’t want it excused. I want the pitcher to figure out why it happened so it doesn’t happen again.

Take the worry “sorry” out of your players’ vocabulary so they can stay positive and learn. You’ll find it works a lot better in the long run.

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