<img src="//bat.bing.com/action/0?ti=5037995&amp;Ver=2" height="0" width="0" style="display:none; visibility: hidden;">

#AnythingButSoft: How to Foster Belief as a Team

As athletes we work very hard on self confidence and believing in our own abilities. We practice many hours to perfect hitting curve balls and catching fly balls. Believing in yourself and in your own abilities is crucial to your success as an athlete. But as a member of a team…you also need to believe in your teammates.

Think about all of the times on the field that athletes need to work together. For example, let’s think about the technical aspect of a double play. The third baseman can be really great at fielding a ground ball and instinctively throwing it to second base. But if she doesn’t believe in the catching ability of her second baseman she may simply step on third for the out instead of going for the double play. The opportunity of two outs is lost because the trust was lacking. No sports team is successful without each member of the team being able to count on every other teammate on the field.

 Each player needs to think about working together to reach a common goal. These are lessons that will turn a good team into a great team. They are also lessons that carry over into real life and will strengthen an athlete’s ability to work with others whether it be for a group assignment in high school or a team project in the corporate world as an adult. I like to incorporate trust activities into practices to enhance the way each player trusts, communicates, relies on and believes in her teammates.

A great activity to build trust within a softball team is the “human knot”:

Human Knot Team Building Activity Have the group stand in a circle. Each person grabs another person’s hand across the circle. Repeat with remaining hand. Then the group must work together to unravel the massive human knot. It’s a game of communication, humor, silliness, fun and flexibility. They must work together as a team to get this done. For an added challenge you can time the attempt and have them repeat it in less time the second time around.

The Three “C’s” : Cooperation, Communication and Confidence

As a parent and coach if you discuss the “Three C’s” of cooperation, communication and confidence you will be well on your way to fostering belief in each player AND belief in teammates. Each one of these “Three C’s” feeds off the other and ultimately the team’s dynamics strengthen and success is guaranteed.

New Call-to-action

Cooperation is the foundation of everything a softball team is trying to accomplish. Everything from planning what snacks to pack on the bus to strategizing a pickle play. Cooperation means you make it work no matter what.

Communication is paramount at every practice, every game and even through email messages about pre-game pasta dinners. Teammates are constantly communicating on and off the field. They even talk about the game during lunch hour or via social media. Teammates should be encouraged to talk about drills, practices, games and build each other up through this constant contact with one another.

Confidence in sports overflows into confidence in school, social settings and in life. Through cooperation and communication with teammates and parents and coaches each girl’s confidence grows throughout each season. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of and to witness. If the team atmosphere is a positive one that promotes the “three C’s” each girl will play a vital role in the team’s belief system. When everyone believes in one another and believes in themselves- ultimately the team’s overall success is unstoppable.

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles, MS RDN CSSD, is a former softball player, coach and parent.

Add Your Team on GameChanger


Softball, #AnythingButSoft