Hold the Rope
by Yvette Gironard, Head Softball Coach at University of Southwest Louisiana
Every year a college team wins the NCAA title. Every year an ASA team wins Nationals. Every year the best high school team in each Division wins the state crown. All of these teams have one thing in common, and contrary to popular belief, gifted, talented, athletes are not the answer. No matter how tough it became through their season, they did one thing ... they held the rope.
What is holding the rope? Imagine you are hanging off the side of a cliff with a drop of 20,000 feet. The only thing between you and a fall to death is a rope, with the person of your choice at the other end. Who do you know that has the guts to pull you to safety? Who will hold the rope?
If you can name two people that's not good enough because those two people might not be around. The next time your team is together, look around and ask yourself, who could I trust to hold the rope? The look at yourself and ask the same question - who would I hold the rope for? When you can look at every member on your team and say to yourself that they all would hold the rope, including yourself, you are destined to win a lot of ball games.
You don't have to be the best team on the field to win the game. I know, I have had two teams that were not the most talented but believed in the rope. Those were two Women's College World Series teams.
No matter what sport you play, in order to win, you have a commitment to your team. If you are supposed to run sprints at the end of practice, do it well. If you have to practice, do it, don't just go through the motions because you are then wasting everyone's time. Once you start letting up at practice or start missing your workouts, you've killed the team because you didn't hold the rope. When you need to take your own time to eat right, sleep well and/or rehab, do it so you can hold the rope when your team needs you.
Remember this is a team sport, everyone must hold the fibers.