softball

Each camp is one of a kind. Here’s the behind-the-scenes look at one of mine.

I’m sitting here, days before my next clinic, and I thought it would be the perfect time to share with you EXACTLY what I think about while creating my very own “game-day” stage every time I organize a camp.

After playing 20+ years of this beautiful game, it’s hard to get the same exact thrill that game-days used to give me.

Here are some of the thrills I miss just about every single day:

The nerves before my first at-bat. The dirt crunching under my cleats. The obnoxious cheers my team sung in the dugout. The signals I would give my teammates after every out we made together. The eyeblack I would strategically spread across my cheeks before every game. Braiding my teammates’ hair on the bus on our way to the field. Getting that clutch hit that my team needed at that exact moment.

And my absolute favorite:

Walking away from the day dirty, sweaty and smelly knowing I just left everything I had out there on the field.

Every day, I think it’s a pretty good idea to do something to remind you of those feelings. Which is exactly why I make it my duty to implement as many of those feelings into my camps or clinics as possible. Those feelings of acceptance, love and necessity by those around you HAVE to be practiced and felt in order to realize how important they are.

If I wasn’t constantly surrounding myself with people that bring me joy, fulfillment and competition, I don’t think I could truly live out my biggest potential. I don’t think I would have been able to compete at levels higher than I could have ever imagined for myself. So many people out there are settling for comfort, and those people never get to feel the thrills of finding out what they are truly capable of.

Sure, it’s nice to be comfortable knowing you’re decent at something, but think of it this way…Wouldn’t it be way more fun to reach a certain level or skill you almost feel surprised reaching? You get there, look back and say, “Woah. How did this happen?!”…odds are, it wasn’t luck. It feels like it, but I can almost guarantee it wasn’t.

Oh yeah, remember that one time you made a friend who challenged you in every aspect of the game and always pushed you? Remember that one friend that held you accountable when you were becoming selfish and not being a good teammate? Remember that coach who called you out by not giving your all on that last play?

THOSE are the people you want to surround yourself with as often as you can. THOSE are the people who are going to bring out the best in you more than you’ll ever know.

(p.s. these people may not exist in your life right now, but I know there are people out there who want to be in “your corner” but you might just have to look for them!)

So you wanna know what goes into the “nitty gritty” when it comes to planning these camps? Obviously, every aspect above is going to be implemented into the curriculum from motivational talks given by me and my outrageously talented staff of coaches (some current and some former collegiate players) because who better to learn from than those who gave extreme sacrifices and had extraordinary grit to get to where they are, now. EVEN I LEARN SO MUCH FROM THEM!

Then, we have all of my favorite unique drills that are going to make you push out of that comfort zone, lots of competitions and a high-intensity environment to make things feel game-like, but there also has to be a balance of quiet (almost like meditation) where the girls attending can feel a sense of calm reflection on the player that they want to be one day. The one they dream of becoming. You see, they have to see themselves there to believe it, and sometimes it truly takes some quiet, inner peace to find it.

Every time I have a stellar staff, I always make sure you can “get to know them” on more of a personal level. Why? I want there to be an opportunity for people to ask them, “When did you decide softball was your passion?” to “How hard is it balancing academics and athletics.” This is the really real part. This is the part where I honestly think people get the absolute most out of camps. It puts these talented athletes and coaches on a “human” level that almost every athlete in the room can relate to.

Guys…these are just the parts you get to see.

From my side, here’s a tiny version of what my checklist looks like for every clinic:

1 – Work with my connections to pick out a venue and date.

2 – Put together a bad-a** coaching staff and take spectacular care of them when they arrive!

3 – Round up as much softball equipment as I can get my hands on (sometimes I have to get REALLY creative!)

4 – Game-plan every minute of the camp. (p.s. It never runs exactly as planned!)

5 – Make sure t-shirts and gear is ready to sell!

6 – Put together some pretty stellar prizes to give out to exceptional players!

7 – Plan some “self care” for after the camp to look forward to! (AKA – a massage!)

8 – xdklfjgeiurygeaiurbalekfhaeirugh (understanding that all there are ALWAYS things I can’t prepare for that will pop up! It’s inevitable!)

If things always went exactly as planned, down to the “t” I should probably be worried. Going into anything big, whether it be a game, an important interview or, for me, an event like this one, it’s best to go into it with an open mind and heart knowing it WON’T be exactly how I pictured it. The uncontrollables are bound to happen. So it’s my job to go in, every time, knowing I’m putting my best foot forward and leaving it all “on the field” is the best way to go about it. Most of the time, I walk away feeling better than I ever thought I could. There’s nothing like owning the moment and going all out.

What’s your “moment” look like? Now, go own it.

Interested in my next camp/clinic?

Head to http://ashleybtraining.com/ to see what’s up next!

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