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Discussion: Keys to Tournament success

Posted Discussion
Oct. 24

409 posts
Just curious what players think are the 2 or 3 most important factors in having a successful tournament team.
Is it a good pitcher, or 2 or 3 good pitchers, overall team speed, a good SS or Left fielder or some other variable.
Just interested in hearing everyone's opinion on this, thanks.
Oct. 24
Men's 70
4355 posts
Great question DCPete ... From a Tournament Director's point of view ... I've mentioned this literally 100's of times to teams playing in the larger brackets, but believe it's applicable in any tournament ... There are really only two things that have to happen to win a tournament, but only one of those (the first one) you can reasonably control ...

• Play as close as you can to your team's potential for an extended number of games, making smart decisions and avoiding errors and mental miscues; and
• Catch "that break" you sometimes need to turn a game you might well have lost into a game you won ... Like the World Series a few years back where a dribbler by the S.F. Giants hit third base and trickled into very short left field for a double, or maybe a close (or even wrong) umpire's call that went your way ...

Good luck everyone! ...

Oct. 24

962 posts
Aristotle said that, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” In other words, when individual parts are connected together to form one entity, they are worth more than if the parts were in silos.

TEAM > talent
Oct. 24

137 posts
First and foremost, go deep into the winners bracket. Score 20 runs a game. Play good solid defense by making the routine plays and keep the mental mistakes to a minimum. Find a pitcher who throws strikes.
You have little to no chance of winning a tournament if you fall into the losers bracket early.
Oct. 24
Men's 60
104 posts
Be in the moment and don't put pressure on yourself or your teammates.

We thought we had a very strong 60AAA team this year and expected a lot, but we didn't win a single tournament all year. Finished 2nd a lot, but couldn't rise to the occasion at crunch time.

We went into the Vegas Worlds with no expectations. If we could make it to Sunday, that would be considered a success. We ended up sweeping the brackets and finishing on top of our 43 team division.

It's hard to put my finger on any one thing as to what happened, but I think it came down to what I wrote in the first sentence above. Minimize the distractions and the pressure, stay loose, stay focused, and play the game in the moment.

Everybody stepped up at one time or another, and we just kept making the play or scoring runs when we had to.

Having a pitcher at the top of his game really helped, especially because our other starter was injured and didn't make the trip. Doc Richards got our MVP, and deservedly so.

Still hard to believe it really happened.

Don't know if we can replicate it.

Won't be any easier playing Major in 2019.
Oct. 25

65 posts
Going a lil different direction then the other guys as what to me has a big impact at giving your team a better chance to win is IMO the pitcher! In USSSA it is a monster to have someone that can juke and get you off balance a little, but in senior ball I guess it's someone that can really hit there mark...deep, short, high or flat. But also if you have someone who can throw a legit knuckle ball it can screw a lot of people up as just an example we used to own this one team then the next season they got a new pitcher that threw legit knuckle balls and they seemed to start beating us! so just in my opinion the pitcher to me is the man, if hes just throwing cookies all day...most all of us are going to smash period.
Oct. 26
Men's 60
345 posts
A few good points here and I agree with all. Need a solid team, good team chemistry is key IMO because hard to keep playing at a very high level all weekend, seems everyone CAN have one bad game and you need to pick each other up. And I absolutely agree with CPM, have the correct mental attitude and play each game best you can. My personal philosophy is that good teams make the plays that they should, make a few that they shouldn't, don't give away outs and when they get breaks, they capitalize on them. Key point is hitting with 2 outs as well, when you score runs with 2 outs it can break the other teams spirit (sometimes :-).

I will add to lowprofile that I personally think you need 2 pitchers because it is slow pitch and some teams can get hit anyone and strange when you bring in another guy, that can slow them down if only for an inning, especially if that pitcher throws something completely different.

CPM - same happened to us a few years ago and we have been playing M for 3 years and we do "ok". You will struggle against teams that can really hit their HR well but as long as you continue to hit and pay defense, you will win. And congrats on winning Vegas, GREAT accomplishment!
Oct. 26

33 posts
I've always seen hitting a huge key to building a team. You absolutely need a roster of players than can hit in all conditions. Yep even senior ball with the kryptonite bats and balls. Sometimes the wind is howling in or the heat and humidity is too much for the balls. It's hilarious to see the E/D/C teams from Cali go to Florida each year for the last decade plus and see them put up zeroes .

A good pitcher who can throw a knuck and place it is great too. Five man defenses a plus too even as we get older
Oct. 26

38 posts
I would say that in senior ball hitting is the most important aspect of being a good competitive tournament team. If you can hit and get your 5 runs per inning you've just made it a 1 inning game (if other team gets their 5 runs each inning too). Even if your team can't make any plays on defense your only giving up 5 runs each inning. Then in the 7th inning it come down to who can get more hits.
After all, it is slow pitch softball, and you should be able to hit the ball anywhere on the field and a great defense doesn't help at all if the ball isn't hit at/to them where they can make a play on the ball!
Also, I like a team that understands playing fundamental ball! To many times I've seen guys who don't care (or know) about fundamentals and are more interested in the personal glory of being the hero! They try to hit a home run to win the game instead of going for a base hit and tying the score and allowing "the next man up" to get the next base hit to win the game. To many times I've seen these "glory hounds" finish the game with a lazy fly ball to the over! T
Have seen to many guys try and hit a home run every time they come up regardless of the situation. No clue what it means to "hit behind the runner" - or if situation calls for it, sacrifice yourself to advance the runners into scoring position - etc.!
So as far as I'm concerned it's offence and team chemistry! Team chemistry includes individuals who understand the fundamentals of the game!
Oct. 29

651 posts
Obviously. great hitting is important. That can be fickle. IN one game in Vegas I hit 4 balls on the screws. Rocket liners that great defensive plays ran them down. 0-4. Next game 1 liner for a hit and 3 seeing eye mis-hits, 4-4.

I think the key is defense. Make the plays and get the outs U are supposed to get. Concentrate. Know where to go with the ball. Hit the cut off.
Talk to each other. Assume nothing. Great plays are an added bonus.

Guy makes an error-life happens. Encourage and move on to the next pitch.

Oct. 29
Men's 60
415 posts
Score more than the other team. Any way, shape, form.

Steal runs wherever you can successfully (turning singles into doubles or moving guys consistently 1st to 3rd, decoy on the bases when possible to get outfielders to throw to the wrong guy & advance)

On offense draw walks, our guys all take a strike (99% of the time). (at least when playing with 0-0 counts) Taking even one strike can get you comfortable in the box if nothing else. Some pitchers just cant get ahead of the count on you. Win those games!!

On defense have a pitcher who rarely walks anybody, those turn into runs for the bad guys. Your Pitcher needs to field the middle. Teams will pick on pitchers who cant catch any ground balls left or right of either kneecap.

I don't care what anybody says, team chemistry, bonding, hanging out after the last game of the day at tourneys, having dinner and a couple beverages together, communicating, etc, goes a long, long, long way on the field. I see lots of teams don't gel, guys all head in different directions on their own sometimes. The Bonding is sometimes better than the softball.

^^^^ and when doing so, don't stay out till the wee hours of the morning after midnight, stay hydrated and get 7/8 hours++ of sleep as possible.

Have each others backs. Your best player will have a bad game but somebody else needs to pick him up (in the line up and words of encouragement) Your least productive player offensively may be able to do other things, (be a great defensive player, be that guy who moves two bases at a time?)

**** After 10 years of watching guys runs bases for other guys in the line up and burning themselves out by Sunday, my goal (if I can find somebody) is to find (1-2) guys to bring who might only come as runners, period---until they change the rules. I see guys get 30+ at bats in a tournament that also run 3/4/5 times a game for other players. That can be a recipe for injury/fatigue and disaster. Find "Your Forest Gump"

Oct. 29
Men's 60
415 posts
one more thing. Guys who coach the bases (1st and 3rd) have to talk, yell, be demonstrative, CANNOT stand there like statues. I see LOTS of base coaches just yapping with the fans on the other bench. Coach the base.

Tell a guy coming into 3rd when to slide (they cant see the play behind them) (Don't get tagged out at 3rd) Put the brakes on somebody when the cut off man catches the relay and makes a nice pivot, don't get thrown out at home.
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