Mental Skills to Stay Confident When Losing
Overcoming obstacles and performing well at the end of the season is the hallmark of championship players.
When the pressure is on and your team is fighting for a playoff spot, your team needs as many players as possible performing at their peak.
Still, there will be times when you have dips in your play on the field and you need to stay confident and not panic.
Top players find a way to win, no matter what their circumstances are.
How are top players able to remain confident despite a few bad games during the critical part of the season, when everything is on the line?
This requires mental toughness, which includes few mental skills to perform to your capabilities.
- Part of having long-term confidence is remaining patient. You must be able to work through your performance woes without becoming angry, frustrated or upset.
- You need to be focused. Rather than focusing on those games where you struck out or gave up the game-winning hit, you need to focus on doing well in the present. That means shedding the chains of the past and immersing yourself in what needs to be done right now.
- To remain confident and perform well, you need to be relaxed. Even though it is the end of the season and the last games will determine the playoff outcome, it is still baseball… the same game you have played all season long. No need to place more pressure upon yourself by reminding yourself that you are in dire need to win… OR ELSE!
- You need to let the game come to you. Don’t try to do too much in order to change your fortunes. Instead trust in your ability to perform and let go of the past.
A recent example of a drop in performance at an inopportune time is New York Yankee closer, Aroldis Chapman. Chapman has been going through a rough patch as the Yankees head into the end of the season and try to secure a playoff spot.
In a stint of seven games, Chapman is 0-2 with two saves, a blown save, a 10.29 ERA and has given up seven hits and six walks in seven innings.
Yankee starter, C.C. Sabathia, can relate with Chapman having experienced his own performance issues in past seasons during crunch time. Sabathia recognizes how difficult performance dips can be and knows the keys are patience and trust in order to get back on track.
SABATHIA: “It’s hard to watch anybody struggle. Obviously he’s been at an elite level for a long time. He works hard, he’ll figure it out so it’s just one of those things. It’s baseball and it’s tough. We look for him to bounce back and be a lot better than he is now.”
With the right mental skills, you will be back and making a strong impact as your team pushes towards the playoffs.
Staying Confident After a Few Bad Games:
Don’t place more weight on winning at the end of the season than you do in the beginning of the season. Treat every game with the same intensity and focus.
You will find you are at your best when you are relaxed and just playing the game instead of thinking of the consequences of making a mistake.
Keep telling yourself, “It’s the same game I’ve played all season long… R-E-L-A-X!”
Rely on years and years of practice, preparation, and past success to catch you when you start to doubt your ability. You deserve the right to have confidence!
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