With the afternoon sun at the Ballpark in Erie asking a bit more Monday from everyone in attendance, the young athletes in motion, and the college coaches directing the action, delivered on their promises.
For the 14u fastpitch girls attending Triple Crown's 14u Elite College Camp, they threw themselves into drills and conversation in a unique four-hour window that put them shoulder-to-shoulder with top-shelf Division I coaches from Arizona State, BYU, Florida State, Nebraska and South Carolina. And those coaches fulfilled their mission, to engage with the future stars of the sport and share insights on how to improve.
The energy level to keep up certainly ran opposed to the theory that kids today lack motivation.
Claire Czajkowski of the Tennessee Mojo 20-21 made the most of her time at the South Carolina's field, scooping up grounders and looking particularly lethal in batting practice.
"I was hoping to get better for my team this week by getting extra reps, and I wanted to put myself in front of South Carolina," she said. "They are an SEC school, and they did amazing this year. I wanted that exposure, and to get better for the games ahead. Most of my (nervousness) I put in the rear-view, but sometimes when you are up there in BP and the coaches are right there, you feel a bit of pressure. But you have to get over it and play.
"Everyone was loose around each other, and it wasn't hard to meet people or talk to anyone. It was easy to get along and be yourself. I thought I did pretty good -- overall it was decent, and in the field I did pretty good."
Over on the Florida State field, Sophia Simpson was slicing and dicing from the pitching circle, on a day that meant a little bit extra because her father played minor league baseball in the Atlanta Braves organization with a member of the Seminoles coaching staff. Playing for the Burgess Bombers out of the Houston area, Simpson said the Elite Camp was the right place to be Monday.
"I felt good. I felt like I did what my job was and I pitched my pitch," Simpson said. "Whenever a big hitter is up there, that's when I have my most anxiousness, but it makes me get more confidence when I face it.
"I'm looking for big schools and ready to go big."
Comfort and confidence on the big stage is appreciated and encouraged in a setting such as Monday's in Erie, as the college programs spent as much time working on the mental approach to the game as anything to do with balls, mitts and bats.
"This is the whole reason we coach the game, is to teach it. I want to learn and grow myself, and I learn from kids of all ages," said FSU's Lonni Alameda, head coach of the recently crowned NCAA champions and who will throw out the first pitch at a Chicago Cubs game next week. "We tried to put them in as many pressure situations as we can, and then address it. 'Are you feeling uncomfortable right now? Good.' We want to get you comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.
"We brought them together and asked, what's happening here, and they said the tempo was fast. Well, we said that's what happens in games. How do you slow it down? Let's learn this together, let's share what we've learned with you guys at a young age, so when you do get to that level, the game grows and is better."
With players and parents lining up to say thank you to the coaching staffs at day's end, the Elite Camp looked like a wise use of a summer afternoon.
"It's a great opportunity to come out and share the same we love. We were all once in those shoes, and it brings back a lot of memories ... it's the reason we each," said Arizona State head coach Trisha Ford. "Pressure is a privilege; you're out here and you want to see the kids who can elevate their play in those conditions.
"They weren't looking at (my generation) when we were 14. Softball overall has gotten better at a younger age, and they are developing and working on the skill set at a much younger age. For us, we are fortunate to be part of this great sport."