Thursday, April 12, 2018

Firebirds Classic Info

‪Only ✌️ more days until the #FirebirdsClassic!‬
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‪✌️ great ways to follow the action:‬

‪1. Join us at the fields!
     
     Full Schedule here!

‪2. Follow play-by-play:‬
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 ‪     12U-Abro Scoreboard ‬

      12U-Meyer Scoreboard

      14U Knapp Scoreboard


Also, Leveling the Playing Field will be on hand to collect used sports gear so that it can be passed on to other athletes in need.  Please see the attached for what equipment is accepted.

 

Coach Bree Hanafin: College recruiting…where do I start?! The Player...

You cannot expect your talent alone to get you recruited – there will always be other players that are more talented. You’re expected to work hard, be consistent and perform, be an athlete. Those are a requirement. So it goes without saying that the hard work and actual softball skills have to be above par to be considered to play at the next level. So you have the skills…now how can you set yourself apart?

It may seem like some players just get lucky. They seem to play their best games, in the best tournaments, in front of the best college coaches. And then the offers just pour in. For some players, that may be all it takes. But for most…it takes so much more. It takes a village. It takes commitment from the player, from their parents, from their travel coach, from the travel program. And, they each play a crucial role in the recruiting process.

Having gone through the NCAA recruiting process myself (and actually having done it TWICE since I transferred – or really even THREE times if you count my brother who was also an NCAA recruit), I’ve compiled my top (often overlooked) pieces of advice for families going through the process today.

To the players…market and promote yourself. 

  1. Go to every camp hosted by a college on your list. This gives you the opportunity to interact with the coaches as much as you want in their environment. Of course focus on performing well, but go out of your way to talk to the coaches. Introduce yourself. Interact with the current players. Show them how you can fit into their program on their campus. Be prepared with questions to ask. Bring a copy of your travel tournament schedule and resume (see #2 below) to give to them. Ask what tournaments they will attend. If they are coming to one you’re playing in, make sure you follow up with your game times. Also, follow up after camp by shooting them an email, or even better, a hand written note saying thanks. 
  2. Create a recruiting video. This video should highlight your skills on offense and defense. Keep it under 5 min and only showcase specific skills – no game footage necessary. Ensure you keep a comprehensive recruiting profile/resume and keep it updated. Send your video, resume, and schedule to every coach on your list before each season and at the end, follow up and provide any stat or accolade updates. Check out some clips from one of our Arlington Softball+ athletes and reach out to us to have a session facilitated by one of our professional instructors and have your video created by our experienced videographer/producer! 
  3. Check your emails and phone frequently. Stay up to date on all communications and respond promptly. Make sure you have a professional looking email address (upgrade your xcrzysoftballgrl999@aol.com to firstname.lastname@gmail.com) and respond directly to all contact. It should not be going to/coming from parents’ emails unless the email is actually directed to them. Also ensure your cell phone has a proper voice mail where you state your name – no prank messages or songs as the recording. 

 Bonus tips: 

  • Social media – keep it clean and be smart. They will look for you and they will find you – and they will cross you off their list for anything inappropriate. 
  • Always carry your own bag/equipment/cooler – your parents should not be carrying this for you.
  • Leave your boyfriend at home – he doesn’t need to be at your tournaments. 
  • Always wear your uniform properly – shirt tucked in, hair neatly pulled back, visor if required. 
  • Do not wear any college apparel unless you are committed – you do not need to rep your parents’ schools. 
  • Treat your parents (no eye rolling), teammates (how you cheer them on or pick them up), coaches (making eye contact), umpires (no talking back) with respect – you are always being evaluated.

It is easy for a player to see herself playing in college. It’s not easy waking up at 5am every morning for workouts. The real question is if she can imagine going to college and NOT playing…if the answer is no, be proactive and put yourself in the best possible position to get there.

Have you seen our Firebirds Player Profiles yet?  You can find them here.

If you’re a player, parent, coach, or program and want to get to the next level, contact Arlington Softball+ at www.ArlingtonVASoftball.com and we can help you get there!

University of Maryland Softball 2010-2012
Baylor University Softball 2008-2010

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Coach Greg Quinn: Attitude and Effort

I have played with, against and coached many players who have left lasting impressions on me. Some great players, some good players  and some who were simply happy to just be a part of a team.  The ones who made the lasting impressions were those who had a mental toughness about pursuing their goals. Not about winning but about competing. They let nothing stand in their way when trying reach their goals. Winning was their motivation but competing was their true goal. They wouldn't let anything or anyone tell them differently or get in the way of their goals.

 All of these players that were truly impressive to watch, all shared one common trait: Belief.  Belief in their teammates, the process and more importantly, themselves. This year has been particularly frustrating for me as a coach because several of the young athletes I have been working with are struggling with their own beliefs.

 This year I have seen poor coaching, kids who didn't understand the coaching, parents who undermined the coaching and kids who didn't want to accept coaching. These are all frustrating things, but the most frustrating thing of all is seeing a player give up on themselves because they don't know how to believe. 

A friend of mine confided in me that his daughter was going through a rough season of her own  because she was struggling with her own beliefs in herself. They decided together that she would see a sports psychologist. He also told me that slowly but surely they are seeing improvements in her confidence. Someone else close to me, reminded me that this is not information they would want shared because it might be embarrassing. I suppose you could find someone who would say it's embarrassing if you look, but it won't be me. 

The mind controls so much of what we are and so much of what we do, I think it should be trained and exercised just like any other muscle in the body. If you don't teach your body to hit, it won't hit well, if you don't teach your body to run, it won't run well. If you don't teach you brain to believe in you, you won't believe in you. Makes perfect sense to me!! There is an old saying that goes "failing to train is training to fail." This goes equally for mental training. If you don't train your self to
be mentally tough how can you expect to succeed when you need to be mentally tough. Like when a coach pulls you so another player can get swings. Or because you failed to perform or because its your time to sit?? As reasonable or dumb as these things can be, if you haven't trained to be mentally tough and I just clobbered you with something that should double your self doubt, how can you expect to succeed when you go back in the game? This is a vicious cycle that just increases and increases until you completely fail or worse, give up!! 

I always tell my players you can only control two things. Your attitude and your effort. You must let go of those things you can't control and work on  the most important two that you can.  When a player understands this concept, their true potential and improvements start to come very quickly. Once a mentally tough person sets a goal, no one can stop them from reaching that goal.


Coach Quinn: Currently the hitting coach for a baseball program that is nationally ranked. He calls baseball and softball “Family Sports”. He has over 40 years playing and coaching experience. His wife was an all state and all met pitcher, and his oldest daughter was a high school fastpitch player. He has a stepson who played college baseball and making an appearance in the Collegiate World Series and has now gone on to be a college coach himself, and his youngest daughter is a short stop who wants to be a college fast pitch player playing in a nationally known program and is being recruited by several schools as a high school sophomore. Coach Quinn has been at his current school for 12 years where they have won two conference championships, and two state championships. As a player he was a catcher ,and third baseman. Coach Quinn and his wife are also in the Washington Metro Area Slowpitch Softball Hall of Fame as players.


Coach Quinn has provided hitting instruction to the Firebirds organization over the 2018 season and can be reached at betterhitter@gmail.com.