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Discipline: It starts with you

What does it truly mean to be disciplined? Well let's look at it through the dictionary lens.

Per Merriam-Webster .com it is a noun and a verb.

Here are a couple examples:

One Noun Example:

"Control gained by enforcing obedience or order, orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior and SELF-CONTROL."

One Verb Example:

"To train or develop by instruction and exercise especially in self-control."

Click the link below to read more about the definition of discipline

Not only is a person, place or thing but it also an action.

So how can you become a disciplined person?

How can you put your practice into action?

Keep it SIMPLE: You create a plan of action for yourself.

Go back to the 2 definitions above of discipline and look for a common denominator, a word that is present in both the noun and verb definition.

Do you see it?

If you answered Self-Control you are correct!

This one is simply put; you literally control yourself.

Ewe, did I say the "C" word? The word Control is a lot like the other "C" word, Change.

Not a lot of people like change. The way I see it, is you change certain things daily to stay healthy. If you can keep it that simple, then you cut out a lot of the unneeded anxiety that is just waiting to jump on you and make you think..."Oh my Gosh this is so hard, I can't do this!" AGAIN, Keep it simple, then start small!

Like this, both words offer an opportunity to own in whatever it is you are being disciplined in.

Your training, your studies, your finances, etc....

How can you be disciplined by applying self-control in a world of "you should," "try this," "if it's not working by now, do this..." Basically all the bells and whistles.

I will stop right there because there is a chance your head is spinning.

Is your head back in the right place? Let's proceed.

Self-control: when you are trying to reach a goal, I want to suggest that you stop and look at the controllables.

Let's take a day as a student athlete. You have travelball practice 2 days a week and you work with your pitching coach once a week. You also play a school sport, so you go to practice after you have school practice. We CANNOT leave out time to do your schoolwork too!!

Are you tired yet or are you nodding your head like, yup this is me.

So how do you "balance" this?

You don't, there is no such thing as balance only "Counterbalance."

It's like a constant game of chess but it's a fun one because it's YOUR game, YOUR journey!

Here some suggestions to continue being disciplined while building confidence on and off the field as a student athlete. (Please don't try to do all of these at once, keep it simple and start small)

You will have to trade social time for more study time.

If your "friends" don't respect this, then maybe you need to find new friends. Was that to harsh?

If you are young and reading this, learn this are the sum of the 5 people you spend most of your time with. Find people in your life that challenge you to do more in a constructive way not a deconstructive way. Also, with the challenge they still love you if you are wanting to study a little more than hangout a little more, they are patient.

Study with others that have good study habits, their discipline and self-control will start to inspire you! Take it from me when you look up the word "Jock" in the dictionary my name will be there.

I literally only got good grades so I could stay on the field, the court and in the arena! I made sure to step out of my "jock box" and make new friends to help me stay disciplined and in turn I truly made some amazing friendships and got good grades!

Wake up earlier to study.

The key is to go to bed earlier to wake up earlier.

Yes, I know this is hard since your brain is still forming so sleep is one of the BEST things you can do for yourself. KEEP IT EVEN though!

Don't think that if you stay up late and get up earlier this is going to help you.

This will in turn set you up for a lowered immune system as well as an increased chance of injury in your sport.

FOOD! Make sure you are eating good for your goals food and drinking your water!

Another couple key contributions to your growing brain!

Now how in the world do you fit training/practicing in between your two travelball practices, your school sport practices after school and your weekly pitching lesson and EXTRA hitting sessions??

START by keeping it SIMPLE by looking at the controllables VS the non-controllables

Counterbalance is HUGE!

Let's say you have your weekly pitching session on Thursday, and you also need to get your extra swings in.

Can you go to your place of pitching early and get 30 minutes in or can you stay after and get 30 minutes in of dedicated and disciplined hitting in?

If you can, then this helps!

What if you need to do your pitching drills and throwing through your busy week.

Can you show up 30 minutes early or stay after travelball practice and throw and do drills?

Can you talk to your team's head coach and pitching coach to ask them to be able to throw during practice?

Can you do your drills within your home or at home?

What are the non-controllables in situations like this?

Non-controllables look like time constraints like the time when your parents get off work, when you get out of your school sport practice, etc.

These can be tricky to navigate but 99% of the time they are resolved with communication.

If your catcher doesn't have these time constraints her parents may be able to help you reach your goal of getting your extra throwing in. You have to ask.

Trust me, people want to help, it's just a matter of being asked.

My favorite space to be disciplined in as I have gotten older is Rest Days.

When I was younger it was so hard for me to just rest. When I started to learn that I can decide what my rest day looks like, I started to love them!

For the busy student athlete, how are you leaning into your rest day with discipline?

What do you mean I have to be disciplined on my rest day...yes it's called self-control.

Well for starters rest day doesn't have to mean a day of rest.

Example: after games on your way home, instead of jumping on your phone to scroll, snap, b-reel..."all the things" you simply get some food in your system and SLEEP.

A hack to doing this is simply putting a "focus" title it whatever you want so when people text you it will notify them that you are, "refueling and resting." This way you aren't trying to rest and being in a constant state of reaction. Protect your PEACE and joy for this game!

Again, if the people trying to contact you get bent out of shape over you being disciplined and practicing self-control after you have let them know what you are doing, you may want to find new "friends" or just love them either way.

Depending on where you are at in school like a middle schooler vs someone in high school you may have a little bit more control as a High Schooler and/or a middle schooler.

Personally, for me, my mom asked me my junior year in high school what sport I wanted to go to college on a scholarship on. I cut out volleyball and basketball and I kept Softball and Rodeo.

Yes rodeo. Man, I miss being able to complete in the arena but being on blood thinners for life has forced me to not only hang up my cleats but also hand up my spurs. I technically was a 4-sport athlete at some point in my life but that doesn't mean I had it all together or was better than anyone it just meant I was a busy kid. My mom helped me so much on how to protect my peace for the sport of Softball by allowing me to step into the option of controlling the controllables.

She also was my first softball coach and new after my entire world flipped upside down, I needed to continue to train and play at a competitive level.

Fun Fact: when I moved on Christmas break my Junior year of HS to a brand-new High School and State, from everything I had ever known; the discipline, the self-control that I had already built in my craft and life especially from growing up on a farm helped me adjust to a brand-new environment and a completely new team. So much so there were times at practice on my new High School team where my teammates would attempt to make jabs at me, like why do you do that, it's just practice. My answer every time was I practice the way I want to play in my games. I literally let my action and my discipline do the speaking. The way I practiced in practice showed up several times in clutch, heads up plays in games. For them they just didn't understand my why, my passion for this game and that's okay! With time though they started to understand "the new girl" and I gained friends for a lifetime.

(side-note: be patient with others that don't understand you, be calm and let your actions do the talking). There is no need to be a jerk. Words can be twisted but actions stand tall.

During this time my new travel softball team understood my why and my passion and I think this was a saving grace for my continued love for the game. This was a commitment for my family as it was 2.5 hours away from where I lived. I am so thankful that my mom continued keeping me committed to my craft by making the sacrifice to driving me back and forth.

From there my self-control has grown from high school, through college (which was the most challenging) into my adult life, faith, wife life, mom life and coach life. By being disciplined and allowing myself to have self-control because in truth it is self-love, I have been able to accomplish some pretty cool things in my life.

So, if you are reading this for a quick fix, you can quit reading now. This is a thread of practice to allow you to tie confidence into your everyday life!
When it comes to reaching your softball goals, it will also help you accomplish them and get set up the next one!

Another branch of discipline is confidence. Something I implement in my training with my athletes is the understanding of being confident.

To be confident one has to practice. This allows them to simply trust their training but if their training is sloppy then it is hard for them to put trust in their themselves and to be confident. PAY ATTENTION to their body language, this is key to knowing whether or not they have been disciplined. As a Coach this is the first thing, I look for in everyone.

I use this as a tool of discipline with each of my athletes because if they don't put the work in then I can see they aren't giving their self the opportunity to own.

Then we aren't able to move on to the next level of their training. Instead of coming down on them I simply point out where they are failing themselves and allow them to explain to me why they are "stuck" and trust me I have been doing this for 24 years, I have heard it all.

In that moment I stand in the gap for them, I am present with them, and I remind them they aren't failing their parents or their team. In truth the failure starts with their selves then leads to failing their parents and their team.

By encouraging them out of fear that they are failing their parents and their team that actually feeds the ability to be a people pleaser and someone who will lack healthy boundaries.

There is a time and a place to have that conversation but in truth when you see that your athlete isn't being disciplined in her craft with self-control then the failure is within them.

Use this as an opportunity to create ownership and accountability in their self.

Example: Since you haven't been doing the work that is given to you weekly unfortunately you are not going to progress as quickly as you had set your goal for. It's important for you to understand that we will take this week and apply last week's session again to continue on your progress path. I also let the parents know why this is happening. So how do you take ownership of this as the athlete? You LEARN from it; you don't LOSE from it. You make a choice in that moment that how you are feeling at that time doesn't feel good and you don't want to feel like that again, so what can I do to steer clear from it?

The work. I will commit to doing the work to continue my progress. I will have self-control. I will be disciplined. I will protect my PEACE and joy for this sport I love by continuing to grow. It's an opportunity to grow vs stay stagnant.

***Yes there are uncontrollable things that happen that prevent you the athlete from doing the work, this is where you apply the various ways of communication and let your coach know. Be transparent and remember communication is key!***

I want to offer you an opportunity to OWN right now.

I want you to pause a second and give yourself a moment to think!

If you have a journal, pull it out!

Let's do some #mentalmadness

Here are some SIMPLE questions (a little nudge to keep it simple!) I would like you to give your best effort at answering.

  1. In order to accomplish ______________ I need to ________________.

  2. What is one thing I can do daily to help me accomplish _____________ _________________________?

  3. How will I know that I reached my goal? __________________________.

  4. What will I do to show myself that I reached my goal? ________________________.

(Key to number 3 is you have to decide how long it will take you based off of number 2)

DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT let the world put its 10 cents in, Blinders on and TRUST your journey, TRUST YOUR TRAINING!

(Key to number 4 is it doesn't have to be a grand gesture, it can be a moment, and opportunity to test yourself.) For example, you have been putting in work on learning a new pitch based off of your discipline and self-control and you met YOUR timeline. Well, this is a great opportunity to own...TEST out your new pitch in your next game. Be transparent with your catcher and your Head Coach let them know it is new but you're confident, because you practiced this pitch.

Or maybe you want a grand gesture, like a new glove, or committing to your process and work 1:1 with me because you are ready to level up your pitching, your entire game and you want to play college softball!

It's important to fulfill number 4 because without this you won't finish your process.

You will always leave it hanging which will then lead you down a road of self-destruction vs a loving road of self-control.

Just like the good habits of discipline and self-control that you build will affect other aspects of your life...If you don't complete number 4, it very well may set you up for a negative loop effect that will go with you off the field as well.

I cannot stress the importance of implementing this into your training! Looking back, I wish someone would have told be the importance of number 4.

I was excellent at 1, 2 and 3 and I practice the reward to myself when I reach my goals more than ever.

It gets easier because I just got tired of feeling like I failed when in truth I didn't. I let others' expectations and versions of what I should be doing dictate when I should feel like I met my goals.

What I was doing was comparing myself to someone else and success, not constructively comparing. ((Protect your PEACE and joy!))

TRUST your journey!

I leave you with this, keep it simple, control the controllables and remember discipline and self-control are two things that you can keep applying over and over until you get it correct in EVERY aspect of your life.

Allow yourself to fail in order to LEARN. Don't make a plan to fail.

If you stop learning, then you are choosing to fail.

If you allow yourself to learn, then you are deciding to succeed.

Be kind to yourself!

-Coach Kally V.

CEO Kally V. Softball LLC *

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