WINTALITY 401: Mentally Attacking Everything

[Wintality] – win-tal-i-ty – noun; The act of mentally attacking everything on the field as though it may be the last time you ever play the game. “That player’s wintality is just infectious.”

While he hasn’t played for a great many years, if you were to have a discussion with baseball folks about passion and hustle the name Pete Rose would jump off of their lips. The game of Fastpitch softball has it’s own version of Mr. Hustle in the form of Kristin Schnake. Prior to playing the 2010 season for the USSA Pride, Kristin spent 4 seasons as a University of Georgia Bulldog.

At a recent tournament I watched one of my batting students softly jogging on to the field like her teammates. I challenged her to explode on and off the field instead of walking and her response was that she wanted to save energy for later. I have to say it kind of broke my heart that despite everything I’ve written about and talked to my players about I must have forgotten to talk to them about playing the way Kristin plays.

Kristin never walks anywhere on the field. She doesn’t jog into position to save energy. She doesn’t even just sprint to her position. She sprints past her position then comes back to it. She demonstrates through her actions that deep down inside she really wants to be there. When she leaves the field she does so with a gusto that makes you think she knows she’s going to drive in 10 RBI’s that inning or something. She absolutely exudes an energy. An excitement. A passion. A love of this game. A wintality if you will, that is infectious to her teammates, and to all those who have the pleasure of watching her play the game.

As Bob Hope once said “You never get tired unless you stop and take time for it.” I’m challenging all of my players this week to spend time thinking about what their actions entering and leaving the field are saying about them. So this week I’m going to challenge you players and coaches to do the same. When you are taking the field do you leave the impression that you want to be there more than the other team wants to hit? When you are heading to the dugout is it clearly obvious that you desire to attack the ball at the plate? Kristin Schnake has crazy wintality. Do you?

PS – I first wrote this post in late 2011. The player I mentioned in this article read it and changed immediately. She is now referred to as a “rabid squirrel” the way she takes the field and became the 16U A National Champion this year.

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