7 Traits for the Aspiring Youth Champion

When reading the softball literature, I sometimes come upon lists of traits, or signs, or signals of a true Champion Athlete. But I have always felt that these lists are geared more toward high school, or college age athletes, already seeking facetime and scholarships. I feel a need now to mentor much younger girls, like the 10U girls, in what they can be working on right now in order to become a champion in the future. Here are 7 simple rules to follow to set you well on your way along the path to future success:

1. Never walk on the field. Hustle on and hustle off, at all times.

2. Uniforms are always tucked in. You represent not just yourself, but also your team, and your whole organization. Look professional at all times. Remember: "Tuck it in, or take it off!"

3. There are no "Mommies" and "Daddies" on a ball field. Every adult helping on the field should be addressed as "Coach."

4. Athletes do not ask what equipment they will need for practice. They bring all their equipment to every practice and every game, just in case they will need it.

5. Every player is personally responsible for her own equipment. Never say, "My daddy didn't pack my glove." It's the *player's* responsibility to make sure it does get packed.

6. Never be late. If practice starts at 5:00pm, be on the field, ready to go at 5:00pm. Do not pull into the parking lot at 5:00pm. Girls should not be putting their cleats on at 5:00pm. 5:00pm is on the field and ready to begin, with all the equipment you will need. Remember: If you are 5 minutes early, you are on time. If you're on time, you're late!

7. Practice outside of practice.