Practicing what we preach-Focus the mind

Remember the blog in April where I talked about how kids need to learn to train their minds to be tough and ignore all the noise happening around when pitching? Focus the mind! Well I had a chance to actually practice what I preached to my daughter about mental focus.

If you are following my blog, you also know that my 9-year-old started playing travel ball this summer in the same organization as my 12-year-old.  Since this was her first “A” ball team, I was trying to make her transition easier into long tournament days by staying in a hotel near her tournament location at Concord.

Did I get to practice what I preach that night? You bet I did.  We stayed at Crown Plaza Hotel in Concord/Walnut creek.  The facility was nice and it seemed like they were going to have a wedding that weekend.  They had a restaurant inside the facility so once you check in, you did not really have to leave to go get food.

They had a heated swimming pool and a hot tub.  I was really looking forward to the hot tub to relax.  But I was disappointed when I found a young couple in the hot tub (obviously they were very young) acting very inappropriate, so I tried not to take my daughter by.  The staff walked by a few times but no one said anything to the couple.  This was my first disappointment

Anyway, our dinner was great, our waiter was very nice and our hotel room was really nice and clean.  I read reviews about the loud planes taking off from the small airport nearby but that was not an issue when we stayed there.

My issue was, the really poor quality walls between rooms.  The only reason we decided to stay overnight near the tournament was to get a little bit of extra sleep so we did not have to travel early next morning, but that was completely thwarted by our really loud neighbor.  This was my second disappointment and a big one!

You see, the bay area and surroundings are unlike any other place in the United States.  You see people from all parts of the world speaking a hundred different languages.  At first I thought may be the neighbors had set their TV to start automatically at 5:00 am like an alarm clock.  Our local TV’s have other language channels.

The guys voice I heard was like an announcer on radio or TV, very low-key like someone tuned up the base volume on their speaker.  I was hoping after 10 minutes they would either leave the room or do something else, but NO, the talking continued on and on for ever.  At this point I was getting so annoyed!  I tried putting a pillow over my ears but you know how base noise travels through everything?  That was the case.  There was no escaping this noise.  I say noise because thankfully the language the guy was speaking was not English and I was so grateful that it was not English, so it was just noise for me since I did not understand it.  It must have been 45 mins or so and then light bulb flashed in my head.

I thought this is how kids feel when they are pitching.  All the noise from the dugouts bothering them.  Then I thought this my challenge to practice what I preached.  How can I figure out a way for my mind to ignore this noise?  Now it became a challenge.  Then I tried putting myself in the neighbor’s shoes.  I thought, may be they are out on their vacation with friends and this is the only time they could actually have a great conversation and hang out.  May be it was their only chance to meet (who ever they were talking with).  They were obviously having a great time laughing and joking and having fun.  May be they had it bad in their house and this was their only relief to talk their heart outs!

When I tricked my mind into thinking that the others did not have a choice but I had a choice to ignore it, I was surprised how soon I fell back asleep.  My mind stopped focusing on the noise and helped me go back to sleep.  I couldn’t hear the noise anymore even though it still was there.  What a relief!  Our minds are very powerful and we can train it to do the impossible!  The great golfers and other athletes do it all the time.

You know, I could have knocked on their door to tell them to keep it low.  May be I should have done it.  But it gave me a chance to practice what I preached to my kids.  Moreover, my 9-year-old was so exhausted from the days games that nothing affected her.  She slept right through it all.  I probably would have knocked on the next door or complained to the hotel staff if it bothered her and prevented her from sleeping.

This also gave me an idea to add a page for review of hotels where we stay when we play tournaments.  So keep a look out for “Hotel Reviews” page soon.  I already started a page for “Softball Park reviews” where we play tournaments.

Have there been situations in your life where you thought you should practice what you preached to your kids?  Tell me about it.  How did that go for you?

Thank you for reading and subscribing.  I am excited to see how many folks are checking out this site from all over the country and the world (21 countries and counting).  There are 75+ subscribers and followers now and over 1000 views in the last few months.  Very excited!

Playing softball after injury

Happy to say that my 12 year old is done with physical therapy for Little leaguer’s shoulder. We got a clear from the doctor (Dr. Heidi Tonken) to ease back into playing softball after injury.  We were very fortunate to have been treated by Diaz-Olson Physical therapist.

We were helped personally by Mike Olson and Duffy Chan.  They were very detailed in their treatment and taught us the importance of the need for preventative workouts, core strengthening, stretching and icing.  I truly appreciate them tolerating me and my camera as I was trying to take pictures of the workouts.  I would highly recommend them for your sports injuries.  Hopefully you or your kids won’t have any injuries.  But if you need to, then please go check them out.  Mike also taught us that if you are in a hurry and you don’t have 30 mins to ice your shoulder, or elbow or knee or what ever part you overworked, then you can use a “cryocup” to ice quickly.  If you just want to make a home-made cryocup, then use 2 foam cups, on one cup cut the bottom half of the cup and then insert it into the other cup and then fill it with water and freeze it.  When it is frozen, remove the bottom cup which would leave the ice exposed at the bottom of the top cut.  See the link for the cryocup above, your home-made cryocup should look like that when done. Then just rub this gently on the area that has been overworked.  But make sure you don’t do it for too long.  You can also make several of these ahead of time and put in your team ice chest to use it after games or injuries.

I have added more workouts in the “softball workout” section of this site.  We also got a guide to the throwing program, but that was geared towards baseball players.  It is being modified currently to suit kids playing softball.  When I am ready with those I will add them to the site.  If you don’t want to miss it, make sure you subscribe to the site so you will get it automatically when it is published.

I am happy to say that this week, my 11 yr old started easing back into practice and had her first game post injury, she was a designated hitter in this weekends game and I was proud of her for making contact with the ball and hitting every time.  We had a very tight game.  After the 4th inning the score board looked like this.

Tight game
Tight game

But things changed in the 5th inning.  We lost, but we did put up a good fight.  This is the difference between recreation ball and travel ball.  We compete with some of the best teams in the area and it is like a game of chess, there is so much mental strategy going on and the team that usually is tough enough to handle the mental challenges (specially towards the later innings as they get tired) usually wins.  It is so much fun to watch and things move along SO fast.

Thank you for reading and have a great weekend.


Happy Father’s day softball Dads

Softball dads
Softball dads

Where did the word “Dad” come from?

Why is Mother called “Mama” or “Mommy”

Why is Father not called “Fafa” or “Fafy”

These are some question people have asked online.  Hilarious isn’t it? According to known research, the word “Dad” actually is just coined out of baby babble of “Dada” and “Daddy” and originated in the late 1500’s.  I guess certain words are easy for babies to babble and “mama” and “dada” are some of these.

One thing I have noticed on the softball fields is the huge number of actively involved dads in their daughter’s lives.  That is so wonderful to see in this day and age when all you hear in the media is negative news of uninvolved dads and other negative things about dads.

The softball dads usually have different problems.  “Dad, I forgot to take my earrings off, can you take it out for me?” and after the game is over, “Dad, where did you put my earrings? Those were my favorite ones.” ” Dad, my softball bow got stuck inside my helmet.” ” Dad, my laces are untied.”

I have and I bet you have seen the most dedicated Dads in the field during the tournaments and endless practices 2 or 3 times a week.

Have you noticed that for Mother’s day there is usually no games and for Father’s day there is always a tournament!  Yes, we have a tournament in Stockton this weekend for our 12 U team.  I want to take this time to wish all the dad’s a wonderful Father’s day.  Our girls are very lucky to have a organization full of very dedicated dads who would rather be in the field under the hot sun rather than doing anything else.

I think the best dad I have ever seen in my life is my dear husband. I am not saying that because I am partial, may be I am 🙂 but he  truly is a great dad.  This is how it goes in my house, when kids get sick or unhappy or hungry, they come to me and when they want to have fun then, it always is Dad! He is the cool one in the family, who doesn’t mind getting wet or dirty with the kids, always pushing the kids to the limits in a positive way. At first they may complain when he wakes them up bright and early to do something but later on we always find out (like, when we go to open house at kid’s school), there is always an article about how much fun they had with dad doing some activity.  When the kids say to me “Let’s ask what daddy thinks or what dad has to say about this”, that is a sign that they trust his words and respect his opinions.  I think that is truly the only thing real dads care about.

I bet your kids have similar opinions and stories.

What do you do for Father’s day?  Take dad out to eat? Buy him his favorite presents? Watch movies with him? My kids really couldn’t figure out what to buy their dad this year.  We have got something small that he needs but mostly it will be plenty of hugs and an apple pie.

Once again “Happy Father’s day to all the softball dads, step dads and grandpa’s out there”.  Your girls truly need you and appreciate everything you do for them.  There won’t be many softball teams without you. Thank you.

Bee sting

Bee Sting
Bee Sting

Here we go again!  My 9-year-old got stung by a bee again while on a field trip to a park.  This will be sting #3.  This time though the reaction was a little more pronounced than before.  Her hand started swelling.  I was so glad a parent chaperon had pulled out the stinger on time so the venom didn’t spread too much.  We still ended up going to the doctor’s office just to make sure it was nothing more serious.  When I told her she needs to bulk up a little so she can play softball better, this was not the bulking up I had in mind.

This is the reason my daughter freaks out when she is in the outfield. Anyway, I spent so much time in the last couple of days studying about bee stings and going on bee forums that I learnt that certain people do get stung or are prone to getting stung more than others because of the adrenalin smells, smells of perfume or shampoo.

I also was surprised to learn about the anatomy of a bee stinger.  It is more like a barbed fish-hook.  Have you ever had a fish-hook stuck in you?  I have…that took me to the ER, the ER doctor’s asked if they can keep the hook for show and tell.  A different story for a different time!  Anyway sticking to the bees for now, I also found that the barbed stinger is only present in the female worker bees, so the male bees and the drone bees are pretty harmless.  So don’t mess with the ladies 🙂

When the honey bee stings, the barbs of the bee stinger gets stuck in the victim and the bee can’t get it out.  Also the bee’s abdomen is hooked to the bee stinger, so when bee tries to fly away after stinging someone, or something, the abdomen and intestines of the bees gets separated from the bee’s body and the bee dies immediately.  Here is an excellent photo of this. This is however not true for the Queen bees ( Of-course that is why they are the queen) which has smooth barb, so watch out, they can repeatedly sting you without dying.

When the bee stings you, they release pheromones (basically a chemical alarm substance) that tells other bees that they have a threat and need to defend themselves, so when someone gets stung, they have more chances of getting stung again and again if they are particularly close to a bee hive.

The first thing to do when stung by a bee is to remove the stinger which has the venom sack attached to it.  It doesn’t matter how but it needs to be removed as soon as possible so the venom is not continuing to be pumped into the victim.  So what happens after a sting?  The enzymes in the venom attacks the fatty cells near the sting site and also destroy the immune system.  When this happens, histamines gets released.  What are histamines?  They are compounds that gets released when our immune system is attacked and they rush to the wound site.  When this happens the blood vessels and capillaries get dilated.

This is where it gets really tricky!! If someone is allergic to the bee venom, then the dilation of the blood vessels and capillaries is excessive and the blood pressure drops, when blood pressure drops there is not enough oxygen and pretty soon they go into  anaphylactic shock.  This is very serious and the victim needs to be given medical attention immediately.  I also found out that a person can’t tell if they are allergic to bee stings the first time they get stung, sometimes it takes a few stings till the body figures out that they have severe allergies.  This is similar to people who have other food allergies.

Okay, what do you do when you or someone you know gets stung? First thing and the most important thing to do is to remove the stinger which has the venom sack attached.  This should be done within a few seconds.

* Remove the stinger

* Wash area with soap and water.

* Apply ice pack to reduce swelling.

*Take an anti-histamine like Benadryl or Zyrtec (Our pediatrician said that Zyrtec that dissolves in the tongue works best without making kids drowsy).

Note that anti-histamine blocks the severe reaction of the body to the histamine being released.  Anti-histamines cause the sting site to itch which should not be confused with symptoms of the bee sting.

Typically if a parent is allergic to bee stings then there is a good chance the kids will inherit this.  If your child is allergic please have them wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace that tells others to act quickly.  Also talk to your doctor to have a Epinephrene  shot available to give as soon as they get stung.

Please read more about this at KidsMD site to get more educated on bee stings.  We were told that it will take about 2 to 3 days before my daughter’s swollen hand goes back to normal size.  The 2nd day was even worse than the picture shown in the beginning.  Today is day 3 and the swelling is just starting to go down.

Good luck to all the kids that are active and playing and sharing the space with the honey bees.  Hope they don’t get stung.  I still have no idea how to make my daughter not freak out at the site of bees in the outfield.  I may have to bribe her with something she likes in order to not pay attention to the bees.  Bribe worked great for my 11-year-old when she was young and when she was afraid to slide.  I will let you know when I figure out.




Softball summer camps in Bay Area


Summer is here and most schools are almost over.  What are kids doing for summer?  Do they relax and enjoy the day at home or do they go to camps?  What kind of camps do they go to?

Sports camps, overnight camps, science camps, math camps, technology camps?  There are just so many options, but the crazy thing is most of these camps get filled by the time summer starts.  I have learned that to get into good camps, you almost always have to book in the spring, mostly end of January or February.

Here is a list of softball camps if you are still looking for some ideas. We have personally used Cutting Edge softball camps.  Their website is not the greatest to sign up online, but their camps are pretty good.   We used them because they were the closest to where we could easily drop them and pick them up.  We have done 2 or 3 years of these camps.

One of my daughters also has gone to the Stanford softball camp. Please read my in-depth review of Stanford softball camp here.

I also got a few good info from folks who visit Discuss Fastpitch softball forum.  As I find more, I will keep adding to the list.  If you know of more softball summer camps, please let me know so we can build this list.  Thanks.  In the meantime, if you are still looking for summer camp for your kids, please check these camps out.

NOTE: As with any camp, I urge parents to thoroughly investigate the camp and the instructors and employees who work at any camp you are interested in to make sure if it is the correct fit for the kids and if they have the license and background check to organize camps and teach and interact with children.  I add camps here as I hear about them or if the camps contact me to be listed here.

Ashley Hansen Softball camp

Stanford softball camp

Silvercreek sports complex softball camp

Cutting Edge softball camp

Stanford Softball camp

Santa Clara Broncos softball camp

Archbishop Mitty softball camp

Presentation High School summer camp

San Jose State Summer softball camp

Nike softball camps various locations

College Softball camps various locations

Base Academy

More softball workouts

Hey Softball fans,

Hope you had a great week and weekend.  I have been super busy at work and home so I did not get to update my blog until tonight.   Usually I try not to bring work home but I had to a couple of days this past week.  We also had tournament this weekend at Hayward, CA.

Does anyone have good luck with home-made or natural “Bee repellent” to ward off bees?  My 9 yr old has been stung a couple of times by bees and she is terrified of bees and so when she plays in the outfield she has a hard time focusing on the game.  If you have suggestions please let  me know.  I have been to several drug stores but they do not have anything specific to bees.

I have also added more softball workouts to the “Softball workout” section.  So please check it out when you get a chance.

Have a great week.