Hosting Morgan Stuart for her first ever Defense Club Clinic this past December at The Backstop Softball Training Facility was an amazing experience. We hope that this softball clinic taught all of those who attended as much as it taught us. At the time, we had only been open about one year, and we were entering some uncharted territory by hosting our first “celebrity guest.” The buildup to the event was very exciting, yet also extremely nerve-wracking. With all the excitement and build up to the event, Morgan Stuart did more than deliver. Today we are sharing 5 things we learned from Morgan Stuart’s Defense Club. These are a few noteworthy takeaways from the softball clinic, including things that we still reflect on, talk about, and have been implementing at The Backstop ever since.
Command presence Something that was subtle yet impactful is the way Morgan commanded a presence in the room. She had this wonderful presence about her that drew attention from all who were in attendance. This is something that stood out to us immediately because it's something that is so important both on and off the field. For those players who are currently interested in playing collegiate softball, this particular trait is important to college coaches who are looking for confidence and other leadership qualities. Accomplishing this is easier said than done. Demonstrating this strength requires being a great team player and commanding respect. This takes time, patience and practice. Small skills that may help you command the room as a player include understanding your body language, making eye contact, being positive, and strengthening your confidence in yourself. We hope to continue to foster all of these skills in each of our players at The Backstop.
Circuits make perfect Morgan is an expert in creating softball training circuits that work out a bunch of different fundamental skills in a fast-paced manner. The use of circuits allows the players to get lots of reps designed to improve each individual skill. Circuits keep the players moving so they stay actively engaged instead of long boring drills where you spend half the time in line to get 3-5 reps in. We try and implement this concept at Backstop Softball clinics and in our respective team practices to keep things moving. Not to mention her innovative drills that she has so many of. These have made a big difference in the way we’re able to train. (You can subscribe to her Defense Lessons and get access to all of her outstanding softball drills!)
Coach independence While watching Morgan, we noticed something that we all loved. When going over the softball drills, she would explain the drill and then demonstrate it herself. Afterwards, she asked someone from the group to demonstrate it. This allowed her to set the standard of what was expected, and communicate with players about what they should monitor themselves for. This type of leadership allowed them to internalize the concepts and be able to self-correct instead of relying on someone else to correct them. Because there was only one of her and 30+ of them, she wasn't able to micro manage and oversee every rep that every single person was doing. However, because they were taught what to look for, and how the task was to be executed, they were able to really work and perfect the skills independently, which was beneficial. We learned that taking the extra minute or two to really make sure the standard is set and expectations are clear makes all the difference. Once this is done then you won't have to reteach as often, or be worried about continually doing “bad reps”. As a player, being able to self-correct is what will really take you to the next level. After all, softball is all about adjusting, whatever team is able to adjust the fastest is going to win the game.
Maximize failure GUESS WHAT?! Failure is inevitable. As much as the human race HATES FAILING, we all do it, especially in softball. Morgan shared her personal story about failure and how it can get the best of you if you don't know how to process it. Morgan’s presentation on her Defense Club was so relatable! Why? Because we all fail, we all remember a time we let our team down by missing a routine play or striking out with runners in scoring positions. What we don't focus on, are all the plays we did make or all the times we came in clutch for our team. We aren't trained how to process failure and not allow it to consume us. Morgan’s Defense Club gives you techniques to retrain your way of thinking and help you maximize failure. The mental side of the game is so relevant and one of the biggest obstacles we see in our players’ faces. They could be playing great for over a month and then they have an “off” game and their confidence is rocked, resulting in them taking ten steps backwards. It's easy to exude confidence when things are going good, but it's hard to fail and bounce back. Morgan’s Defense Club helps with that. We highly recommend it for ANYONE no matter what sport you may play, age or gender you may be.
Take ownership of your actions Because of this negative relationship with failure and what that word stands for, people tend to use excuses for why they did something or why something didn't go as planned. Listening to Morgans Defense Club talk, we really took away that we need to take ownership of our failures so we can face them head on. We need to find the source of our failures in order to self-reflect and accept them. Owning our actions allows us to learn from failure rather than repeat it. When we give excuses, we aren't allowing ourselves to face our faults and therefore are only prolonging the negative effects failure can have on us. Having all the girls at the event see this amazing player, who played in a Women’s College World Series, with all of these amazing accolades, share that she too has experienced failure and was owning up to it, was something that really stood out to them.
There were so many things from our Morgan Stuart event that stood out to us, but these top the list. It was great to be able to host Morgan, a caliber of player that previously most had only seen on TV. Having a role model standing right in front of our players was an incredibly rewarding experience. Sharing her expertise on defense, as well as talking about her experience of failure on the biggest softball stage was so valuable. Morgan has helped advance the game of softball, touched the lives of thousands of other softball players though The Packaged Deal and her own in-person and online defense lessons, and created a platform to talk about mental training which has otherwise not been a focal point of athletic training. We’re so grateful to host exceptional talent like hers in our local softball training facility, and look forward to providing more opportunities like these in the future. See what's coming up next on our Events page.