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Coaches Corner
5 Keys to Winning the WCWS

5 keys winning wcws focus calm rebound fight damage ratio college championship ncaa

I can’t tell you right now which team will end up being the best this week in OKC – but, I can tell you that whatever team ends up the eventual champion will be the best at these 5 Keys to Winning the WCWS!

8 teams have arrived at the WCWS with the single intent of winning, and yet only one will be named the National Champion! And while you might have your favorite team, see what it will take for your team to win it all!

Every single one of those 8 teams has talent and desire and motivation. They all started the season, way back in the fall with the single goal of winning the national championship. Every team is extremely well coached & battle-tested, and yet we’ll see mistakes we’ll notice the nerves. Coming in as the top seed feels good at the banquet, and looks good in the press, but doesn’t give you any run advantage over your opponents. Once the games start everybody’s even and the championship is up for grabs!

Trying to predict the winning team is a guessing game at best, but knowing what the winning team will need to do better than anyone else is not. Sure, it will technically come down to scoring more and allowing less runs than your opponent. Every team has hitting and pitching and speed and defense and yet only one team will be the ultimate victor.

We’ve got tons of stats to help us figure out which team hits best, or scores more, has better pitching or “should” win. But we all know the final champion will have some intangibles that statistics can’t measure, and yet it’s these very things that will likely determine the 2015 WCWS Champion. I’ve come up with my list of 5 intangibles that I believe all 8 teams will be very good at, but only one team will be end up being The Best. See what you think:

  1. The Best FOCUS – It’s easy to focus on the banners and the TV cameras, the massive crowd and even the video board, but blocking all of that out and laser-focusing on the play at-hand will be critical for the eventual winner. Focus is a funny thing; it’s a mental skill that is so controlled by the physical. Keeping your mind focused on the current play sounds easy until your body is sore or injured from the long season or hot, and tired from the grueling schedule you’ve had since January. The winning team will have the most players with the best focus throughout the entire championship. Sounds simple, but remember – simple doesn’t mean easy!
  1. The Best CALM – Playing in Oklahoma City at the Women’s College World Series is the most intense and crazy environment in softball! Every young softball player dreams of playing there one day so you can imagine the rush of emotions those players feel who finally get that rare chance! And that’s why this key is a bit tricky – staying calm on the inside while the world around you and probably you as well, is going crazy! When your adrenalin’s pumping you’ve got to be able to calm yourself down to perform your best. Every player on that field is trying to do her very best, and yet many will have the worst week of their careers. Not because they aren’t trying but instead, because many will be trying too hard. The team whose players, especially their best players, can stay calm inside and not “try too hard” but simply try like they’ve been trying all year – that will be the team that survives to claim the crown.
  1. The Best REBOUND – Every single one of these 8 teams is packed with talented players who will be throwing their best efforts at each other. Mistakes will be made. There will be tough plays, disappointing results, and frustrating calls – and that holds true for the eventual winner as well. Every mistake or disappointment is an opportunity for a player or a team to rebound. What’s so amazing is that most of these players will rebound – a couple times. But to rebound time after time after time when all hope seems lost – well that’s what the eventual champion will do. Remember, they call the last team to rebound, the Champion!
  1. The Best FIGHT – Fight falls pretty close to Rebound, and yet it’s different enough to warrant its own place. Fight is like Grit; it’s the perseverance and determination behind your ability to rebound. Fight is the ability to continue to battle no matter the score, simply because you won’t relinquish! Fighting is easy when you’re winning, or when winning looks possible, but when things look grim or out of reach; only the champions keep fighting. Whoever becomes the eventual champion will have plenty of opportunities to quit, or give in, to lose their resolve or feel their passion slip away – and yet they will fight through it and past it and around it better than every other team!
  1. The Best DAMAGE RATIO – This final key is something I call the Damage Ratio – and that’s the ability to impose more damage on your opponent than they impose on you. Sounds simple, and obvious, and yet it’s the essence of our game. Winning a softball game is much more than simply being a competitor. You can compete really well and still not impose your will on your opponent. In order for a team to win, they have to force their opponent to lose. A pitcher who wins the pitch or at-bat has to force the batter to lose, or fail – just as the hitter is trying to do the reverse to the pitcher. It might sound harsh but it’s what happens in sports where you compete against an opponent. The team that wins the 2015 WCWS will have the best damage ratio of all 8 teams, and while some might see it as “timely hitting” or “key pitching”, it’s so much more than that. The ultimate champion will have a force within them driving them to constantly inflict more damage on their opponents than their opponents inflict on them.

Whether you agree with my final list or not, the one thing we can all agree on is that these 8 teams and their amazing players will treat us to some of the most exciting softball of the year!

While the WCWS is the ultimate prize in college softball, you can get Softball Excellence’s ultimate yearly package:

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5 Keys to Winning the WCWS

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