7 Lessons from the WCWS

Things that may just help win you a championship! PrintFriendly

This year’s Women’s College World Series was terrific. There were lots of great plays, tough calls, tense moments and surprising outcomes. But among all those games and great plays I saw 7 key things that we can all learn from, and that really are worth reviewing.

Fastpitch Softball Free Article lessons from the Women's College World Series

  1. Great pitchers help, but can’t do it all
    • Monica Abbott from Tennessee was no doubt one of the best pitchers this year in college softball and at the WCWS and yet one player alone couldn’t win the whole thing.
    • If you have a good team but no single outstanding player then this year’s tournament proved you can win it all without the highest profile player, even when that player is a pitcher!
  2. When you get your chance, take advantage of it
    • At the start of the 2006-2007 school year, Tanya Mowatt was the #2 pitcher for University of Arizona. Circumstances changed a few months later and she suddenly was the main pitcher for Arizona. Instead of complaining about not being #1, she took advantage of the chance she was given and made the very most of it!! pitching the University of Arizona to the National Championship and winning MVP in the process!
  3. When the batter is FAST, play UP
    • Too many times I saw left-handed slappers up to bat and the infield playing in, but just not in enough. Remember that just playing “in” isn’t enough!! you’ve got to be close enough “in” to throw out the batter. The faster the batter the closer IN you’ve got to play.
  4. Never, Never, Never Give Up
    • Not only did Arizona lose to Tennessee early in the WCWS to go into the losers bracket, but they lost 0-3 in the first game of their 2 out of 3 game series against Tennessee to decide the NCAA Division I National Champion. In that game Monica Abbott threw her 4th straight shutout of the series and dominated the Arizona batters.
    • Instead of Arizona giving up against the best pitcher in the country, they made some adjustments, realized they weren’t out of it yet, they battled and they came out and won the next 2 games in a row and captured their 8th National Championship!
    • As Winston Churchill said in World War II when the tiny country of Britain was starring down the then mighty Germans…”Never Give In, Never, Never, Never Give In. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” I think that the University of Arizona showed us all what can happen when we never give up or give in!
  5. When they show you a pattern, notice it
    • The University of Tennessee batters struggled in their last two games against Arizona and the changeup of Taryne Mowatt. Even though Mowatt had a strong changeup, she had an even stronger pattern with it. If you remember, the more strikes she got on the batter the more she threw the changeup. In fact, she got a ton of Tennessee batter’s out with changeups on 2 strikes.
    • So what’s the lesson? Instead of trying to pick the changeup or figure out how to hit it!! work harder to hit her other pitches BEFORE she’s in position to really throw the changeup. When you face a pitcher like Mowatt with your team, work to attack her early in the count so can’t get in such a good position to throw her changeup.
  6. You can’t see anything with your eyes closed
    • If you were watching the 2nd game of the championship series between Arizona and Tennessee you couldn’t help but notice that during the latter part of the game, when things got pretty tense, Tennessee’s Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly was in the dugout with his eyes closed. Now Ralph is a very good coach and a very experienced one having coached 1st base in the 1996 Olympics. But, he was obviously suffering a case of nerves and couldn’t bear to watch.
    • Remember that as the coach, your team looks to your for belief when they have none, for strength with they feel weak and for confidence when they’re scared. If things seem so bad that you can’t bear to watch just imagine the message that sends to your ballplayers. It’s like the old commercial says, “Never let ’em see you sweat”. So next time coaches you get into a really tough situation in a game with everything on the line!! you’re their fearless leader so if you don’t exactly feel that way at least fake it till you make it.
    • Oh, and another thing that will help you take your mind off how big the situation is  stick to your game. Keep positioning your defense or calling pitches, or charting pitches or whatever you’ve been doing all season to get your team this far. Remember that as long as you’re busy climbing up the ladder you don’t have time to look down and see how far up you are.
  7. Being Cool helps you rule!
    • Taryne Mowatt is one cool customer. During the 2nd game of their 3 game playoff with Tennessee, there were Tennessee runners all over the bases, a big Tennessee hitter at the plate and not many outs. The score was tied and it was late in the game. If Tennessee got a hit in this situation they’d go ahead and it would pretty much be over for Arizona.
    • So, to help calm her pitcher down Arizona catcher Calista Balko calls time out and walks out to the mound!! what Taryne Mowatt said to her summed up to me why she was cool enough, and ultimately tough enough to get out of that situation and go on and win the whole thing.
    • As Balko’s walking out to the mound Taryne says, “what’s up?” Now that’s cool.
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