Staying Focused During a Losing Season
Have you ever entered a baseball or softball season with high hopes for a successful season but things didn’t go as planned?
Injuries, slumps and some unfortunate breaks hit and now you are three-quarters through the season with practically no chance of making the playoffs.
Is it hard for you to stay motivated when you feel you are playing for nothing?
Finishing out a season knowing you are out of contention for the post-season is a challenge.
However, motivation is a matter of mindset or how you view you situation.
If you view you situation as over, even with many games left on the schedule, it will be difficult to put in the effort during practice or to take the field in games.
If you view your situation, though unfortunate, as valuable time and experience for future improvement, you will be motivated to work on your craft to be better for future performances.
In essence, the things you focus on determine your motivation.
Things that you can focus on to maintain motivation in the midst of a losing season:
- Improving your mechanics.
- Developing mental toughness by fighting through a tough situation.
- Getting on a roll or getting momentum for the next season.
- Developing good routines for the future.
- Evaluating the things that worked for you or hurt your play.
- Strengthening bonds with your teammates as you push through adversity together.
The Toronto Blue Jays are in this exact situation…
After two consecutive seasons appearing in the American League Championship, the Jays had high hopes of advancing to the World Series this season.
Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan for a number of reasons: 19 player injuries, below average seasons for some of their star players and some back luck.
So, with 46 games remaining in the season, the Jays find themselves in last place with the fourth worst record in the American League.
Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin has kept the right mindset through a difficult season. Martin is focused on one game at a time rather than how many games are left until the season/misery is over.
MARTIN: “We’re just going to keep playing. I don’t know how many games we have left, but the way I go about it is we have one game today, tomorrow isn’t promised, so play your best today and see how it goes.”
This is what truly reveals what type of athlete you are.
It’s easy to stay motivated when you are winning or having a career year, but the thing that develops mental toughness is keeping up the fight when the road is rough.
If you mail it in because your team is most likely going to miss the playoffs, you are reinforcing a negative mindset that will prove to be even more difficult to turn around in the future.
A strong end of the year is the best way to prepare mentally to contend in 2018.
How to Stay Motivated High During a Losing Season:
One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to create a goal. No matter how many games you have left, create a goal to keep developing or improving your game.
For example, “In the last ten games, I will have a batting average above .290,” or, “Over the course of the next two months, I will work on developing a new pitch,” or, “By the end of the season, I will improve my at-bat routine.”
Keep your mindset focused on the positive opportunities in front of you.
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