Everybody dreams of making it make to Oklahoma City and the Women’s College World Series. You might be surprised how “little” it takes.
Learn how little improvements allowed the final 8 teams to make the WCWS.
While we’ve boiled the entire college softball season down to the final two teams – University of Oklahoma and UCLA, we were transfixed by the incredible passion and play displayed by all 8 teams this year. It takes incredible skill, luck and fortitude to make it to Oklahoma City and the Women’s College World Series, but you might be surprised how some “little” made some BIG differences.
Lots will be written about this year’s champion, but I want to take a different approach, and peer inside the “little thing” that each team did in order to make it here. Too often, we look at the teams in OKC and think; sure, they’ve got better pitching or incredible hitting, or amazingly both. We often think we’ve got to make HUGE changes to our team in order to make it deep into post-season, but taking a deeper dive into each team and some of the smaller improvements they’ve made gives the rest of us hope.
Two of the obvious “little things” that I noticed throughout all the games involved the strike zone:
- the pitcher’s ability to throw strikes with as little of the ball in the zone as possible, at different speeds, over and over.
- The hitter’s ability to lay off ANYTHING even slightly out of the strike zone and crush ANYTHING in it.
I also discovered, after scouring through the stats that it was amazingly small changes that made incredibly BIG impacts for each of the final 8 teams. Looking at the stats of each of the 8 teams and comparing this year’s WCWS season stats to those of last year, they were amazingly similar both years in every category with 1 or 2 exceptions, and those exceptions– with the exception of Alabama and Arizona – are surprisingly small.
Looking through the following examples will give you hope that focusing on making “little” adjustments to this year’s season could pay Championship dividends for you next year:
With the exception of the increase in Runs scored by Arizona and Alabama, the differences above are slight – especially when you consider that in some cases they’re over the course of 62 games.
Watching the best of the best is a terrific way to improve your own game, and to motivate you for next season. Looking at them on a deeper level helps us identify something specific that can have a direct impact on our team. “Just getting better” is too vague, but decreasing our Runs Allowed, or improving our Runs Scored is specific, and as a result, feels much more attainable.
What’s the “little” improvement your team needs to focus on to help change next season’s outcome? Scour through your numbers, remove the emotion and identify the area that your team can actually improve, and by doing so directly impact next season.
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