“Do, or do not. There is no try.” Yoda
In any competition an athlete is always looking for an edge. Some advantage on the opponent that will increase the chances of winning. Having an advantage does not guarantee a victory, but having it supplies a benefit that will put the athlete in a relatively favorable position to succeed. How then do you get an advantage on your opponent in the game of softball?
Since the game of softball is primarily a series of individual battles between the pitcher and the batter, a victory in these battles is the key to an individual’s success at the game. It is also typically the key to a team’s success, because the outcome of any game is usually determined by who wins most of these battles. What’s the Count? gives you plans to consistently gain the advantage in these battles. This book is about getting the advantage on your opponent, knowing when you have it, and utilizing it. It provides a mental map for you to succeed in softball much like a road map provides you with a way to succeed in finding an unknown destination. Without this map, guide, or plan you can easily get lost, whether it’’s on the road or in a softball competition. The mental plans in this book guide you towards your destination of softball success by showing you methods to give you an advantage in the game. If you are a pitcher they show you how to keep and increase the advantage you start with at the beginning of every at bat. If you are a batter they show you what is required for you to take the advantage away from the pitcher and use it for yourself. When followed, these plans will steer you to success in the game of softball.
At first you will discover that the advantage to either player in the individual pitcher/batter battles is determined by the count. You will learn about all twelve pitch counts, who they favor, and by how much. You will see that each and every pitch provides either the pitcher or the batter some measure of advantage. You will find out that the pitcher has the initial advantage in each battle and you will learn her strategy to keep it by commanding her pitches well. You will then learn the strategy for the batter to take the advantage away from the pitcher by using what I call aggressive discipline, a combination of aggressiveness and two types of hitting discipline. Additionally in chapter one, you will learn about things like the importance of the first pitch, how to pitch and hit with two strikes, the meaning of a ‘2-0 attitude’, and much, much more.
Succeeding chapters will provide you with several concepts, various ideas, a definition of terms to help you understand the plans, and then the two mental plans themselves. The actual plans are described in chapters three and five and are provided in both outlined and detailed form. Chapter three is the plan for the pitcher to keep the advantage on the batter while chapter five explains the plan for the batter to gain the advantage from the pitcher.
Finally, handy dos and don’ts lists are included in chapters six and seven. These are quick to read, easy to understand, single page lists that can be pinned to your wall or put in your pocket. One list is for the pitcher and one for the batter, and they include the many important dos, don’ts, and goals for each position’’s success.
At the end of each chapter I have included a story based on an actual real life experience so you can see the plans in action. In some cases names and personal information have been changed or omitted to preserve anonymity. The stories are re-created from memory and I have rendered them to the best of my ability. With each story you should note three things. First and foremost the thinking process that takes place for each situation. Second, how command of her pitches provides the advantages to the pitcher. And third, how aggressive discipline provides the advantages to the batter.
The mental plans explained in What’s the Count? are time tested and proven to work. I used them myself and became an NCAA National Championship pitcher at UC Irvine. I used them with my travel teams to win two ASA Class A National Championships. I used them with two high school teams to win two CIF Championships. And I used them with my daughters and they both became ALL-CIF pitchers in high school. It is now my privilege to share them with you.
These plans will work for anyone and will help average talented players compete with and succeed over players with superior talent. They are part of becoming a self made player. A self made player has a good work ethic, and with it masters discipline, skills, and proper techniques to get good, rather than rely solely on her athletic ability. How do I know these plans will work for you and help turn you into a self made player? I know because they did for my daughter Lisa Dodd.
Lisa was neither exceptionally big nor strong, and at sixty miles per hour did not throw with excessive speed. She will be the first to tell you that she was closer to ordinary than extraordinary talent wise. While it’s certainly true that Lisa had talent, she was really much more of a self made player. In place of superior talent Lisa learned and excelled at many things. Things like determination, desire, and mental toughness as a player, things like gaining the complete command of all of her pitches as a pitcher, and things like developing the discipline and emotional stability necessary to be a great hitter. Much of what Lisa learned came from the strategies explained in What’s the Count? and it was enough to get her a scholarship to UCLA. It is hard to get a scholarship to UCLA because they can recruit the girls with superior talent. That is why this book is so important. What’s the Count? supplied Lisa with the mentality that helped elevate her game enough to earn that UCLA scholarship with less than superior talent. This book can do the same thing for you.
Lisa Dodd is not the only player to have success using these mental plans to gain the advantage on her opponent. All the girls who have played for my San Diego Thunder teams have been trained with these strategies, including players like Taryne Mowatt (Arizona), Brittney Bargar (Notre Dame), and Linda Kohan (Notre Dame) to name just three. The results speak for themselves with two ASA National Championships, six top 10 finishes, an overall win loss record of 957-135, a nationals win loss record of 60-17, and in high school, two first ever CIF titles.
When understood and executed well, the mental plans provided in What’s the Count? will help raise your level of play, allow you to attain your highest potential, and give you an edge to consistently prevail over your competition on the field and for those athletic scholarships to top rated softball schools like UCLA. I know because that is what they did for Lisa Dodd. It is my wish that they do the same for you.