What it takes to succeed

Everyone likes to talk about what it takes to succeed, whether in softball or in life. One of the words used frequently is dedication. Yet does dedication really mean? Does that mean you attend all team practices and games? Do you work on your own? Is it something else?

Last night I saw a great example of what dedication truly means. My last pitching lesson of the night was at 9:30. It was for a high school sophomore named Erica. She was there on time, but there was something in the way she was warming up that made me ask a question. I asked if she’d had a game earlier in the evening.

Yes, she and her dad responded. Then they told me the game ran nine innings, resulting in a 1-0 loss on a throwing error. I have to admit I did a double-take before asking them, “And you still came here?”

“Yes,” the dad replied, “although we did talk about not doing it.” Ultimately, though, I’m sure the decision was left to Erica, and she decided she wasn’t satisfied with a nine-inning two-hitter. She wanted to come in and work on her screwball, and this was her only chance for the week.

Not a lot of players in the same situation would’ve made that decision. You could certainly justify blowing off a pitching lesson after throwing nine innings in falling temperatures already. I wouldn’t have blamed them. But those who really want more will look at the options, fight through the fatigue, and work on getting better.

She hasn’t been my student for long, but I can see why Erica has achieved the success she has. Makes me proud to be a part of her softball education.

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