Softball Training Tips – How iPods Can Help You Perform Better

Not long ago, I wrote about how cell phones (texting, talking, email, etc.) can be negatively impact a player’s focus, social interaction within a group environment, and even lead to rudeness and direspect sometimes.

Are Cell Phones Negatively Affecting You and your Team?

Kids aren’t only addicted to cell phones, they are also addicted to iPods and other MP3 players. They live with their music almost 24/7.

Just about every player owns either an iPod or an MP3 player.

That’s the reality of this generation – portable, 24/7 music.

My take on the the use of iPods and other MP3 players is a little different from my take on cell phones.

Let’s start with the obvious.

I don’t want my kids to be listening to their device (a) while I am talking, (b) during games, (c) during team activities designed to enhance social interaction and team-building, and (d) at practices during group exercises or drills that require a lot communication between athletes/coaches.

However, I am totally in favor of it in some other circumstances.

Let me tell you why.

You see, softball is a sport that requires a lot of focus. Grat focus during practices and during the game is crucial to improve and perform well.

So, avoiding distractions and learning how to focus is key.

Softball being a sport with a lot of dead time unlike soccer, basketball, or hockey, it’s very easy to get distracted.

It’s even worse when the athletes are younger.

The younger an athlete is, the more easily they get distracted and the harder it is for them to stay focus for long periods of time.

So whatever helps to stay focus and avoid distraction is a big plus.

When you put a headset on to listen to music, it’s like you are getting into your own world, in a little bubble. You are “mentally removing” yourself from the outside and focusing on the inside.

You stop focusing on external stuff and you start focusing on internal stuff – what you feel, what you think, what you do.

It’s like putting “mental blinders” on to stay focus and avoid distractions.

You see elite athletes in every sport do this all the time. It’s secret to stay in the zone, to stay in flow, to stay focus.

Another great benefit of listening to music you enjoy is that it really helps put us in a positive mindset and in a good mood.

That’s why I definitely encourage my athlete to use their ipods and Mp3 players.

It’s a matter of using it appropriately and at the right time.

Here are exemples of appropriate times when it can really help them stay focus and avoid distractions:

1) Travel to games and practices
2) At the park before the warm-up while putting on cleats and preparing themselves
3) During the generic warm-up (run, dynamic stretching) before you start hitting or throwing
4) At practices – especially while working in stations
5) During workouts

I will give you an example. I allow my girls to use it while they warm-up, dynamically stretch, do cardio, lift weights, and individual hitting drills.

Since I have allowed them to do so, I have seen much better focus on what they are doing, much less useless talking, and a lot less distractions.

Keep in mind that I have a bunch of easily distracted (almost ADD in some cases) 15-year-old girls.

The use of ipods and MP3 players should be optional. Some athletes may feel they work better without. It’s a matter of personal preference.

This is my view on it. Not everybody might agree with that and that’s ok.

I am always in favor of whatever helps my athletes work better without having a negative effect on the team.

This works well for me. And it works well for a lot of athletes.

I encourage you to experiment and see how that works you.

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