Student-athletes understand the importance of studying for exams, training hard in the off-season and taking extra at-bats before weekend tournaments. But how many softball players place as much emphasis on combine preparation as they do on other aspects of their training?
Softball training is something to take seriously. Combine events have been common in the big sports like football, baseball and basketball for decades, but only recently has the focus shifted to the game of softball. Softball combine tests, like iQ Fastpitch, are popping up across the country, giving girls the opportunity to showcase their speed, agility and softball-specific skills against the best talent in their region and across the nation.
Softball players should prepare for a combine well in advance of the actual event. Cramming doesn't work for school exams, and it certainly doesn't work for combines either.
Below are points that every softball player who participates in a combine should take into account before getting evaluated. Review this checklist before you register for a softball combine and reap the rewards when you dominate the test.
1. Have a game plan. Know exactly what is on the test, and have a thorough understanding of everything you might be required to do on testing day.
2. Train specifically for the tests you will be given. Master your footwork to perfect agility drills, time yourself on softball-specific drills, and condition yourself to be in great shape for endurance tests. For extra guidance, find a performance specialist in your area.
3. Feed and hydrate your body to perform at its peak. Studies show that athletes perform up to 20 percent worse in competitive situations if they are dehydrated.
4. Garner support from your parents, friends and coaches. Even though combines are an individual challenge, every great athlete has a support system behind her. Ask the people in your network for advice and guidance. Every athlete needs them.
5. Give yourself 10 to 12 weeks of preparation before going to your combine. You can't master a combine in two weeks.