How to survive the prestigious PGF Nationals in California. After six years of playing in Huntington Beach, Calif. take it from someone who has lived it, came up a game short, and won it all. This tournament takes another level of softball grit, heart, and you’ll have to keep reading to find out the other secrets I have to share.
First, in the lines of the famous Cori Kennedy, be ready to be at the fields for a “good time and not a long time.”
The wait is over corndogs— Cori Kennedy (@Corikenned) July 12, 2019
Go get your goods 👍🏼 pic.twitter.com/cG5Jk2Alsf
The tournament is unlike a lot of other big tournaments where you play six pool games to get your feet wet. At PGF, you only have three pools games. Use that to your team's advantage
- Compete and want to win each game.
- Just because the games do not affect your bracket placement, do not look at it as a game that doesn’t matter.
- Your mindset at this tournament needs to be that EVERY game matters.
- You want to start building that mentality of feeling confident in yourself and your team immediately to carry over to bracket play.
Secondly, know this is one of the most elite tournaments in the country. You will see girls going to the biggest of schools in every lineup you face. They are all talented and deserve to be there, and so do you. I am telling you now, do not let anyone intimidate you. The game has no idea on paper who is supposed to win. Go out there and play the game in the same way that got you there.
Before I dive into the heavy-hitting info, I want to remind you to enjoy your time in California! Unless you live locally to Huntington Beach, most people do not get to experience the beautiful things California has to offer.
I highly recommend after a great game in the sun, walking to Huntington Beach with the team where they happen to have the Surf World Cup each Summer.
Also although there is no science behind it, my 16U National winning team can swear the best way to treat yourself is to well-deserved ice cream, my favorite is Creamistry, I promise it is well worth it.
This tournament is one of the best because it is double elimination, which means if you happen to get knocked down once you have plenty of time to fight back. I have faced the losers bracket before, and my biggest advice is to look one game at a time. It is easy to only see the long road ahead of you to see how many games it would take to make it to the end, but this is what you worked all summer long. Play as hard as you can for as long as you can.
Lastly, to win this tournament it takes a lot of components. One, you obviously need talented pitching and a strong defense that is able to not only make the routine plays but learn how to defend and get the quick lefties out who will use the CA dirt to their advantage. You don’t need everyone on the team to always get a hit but have quality at-bats. As a hitter, know your role before stepping up to the plate.
- Do you need to find a way to get on base for your team?
- Hit it to the right side of the field to advance the runner?
- Get the bunt down?
- Base hit when runners are in scoring position?
- Or see as many pitches as you can to work the pitcher over?
ALL of those little things add up to the big victories. Most importantly in this tournament, you need team chemistry. The best advice I heard from one of my Beverly Bandit coaches Rex Mack, was at the beginning of Nationals before we went on to become National Champions, “At the end of the day everyone’s national ring will be the same size because we all have a role, commit to giving the best you can in that role, and if everyone does that you will all walk away as champions.”
Good luck to everyone competing in PGF Nationals! Love this week and this sport!