Trust Your Skills in Games, Not Try Harder
Is it possible to try too hard in a baseball or softball game?
Unfortunately, many ball players try to do too much.
The sporting world praises effort as the key to success and it is, within reason.
Some players respond to pressure moments by trying harder to succeed.
In fact, you have probably heard coaches or pro players espouse the virtues of giving 110%. In big moments, these players dig down deep and push even harder but often that approach backfires.
When you try to do too much, you tighten up and a tense body throws everything out of whack. Forcing playing or over-trying actually leads to under-performance.
For instance, a pitcher down in the count, late in a game, may try to rear back and get a little more velocity on their fast ball.
The pitcher trying too hard to blow a fastball by the hitter will experience greater muscle tension. This increased tension will change the release point and the pitch will usually be out of the strike zone.
The intended result, in this case, will lead to the opposite of what the pitcher wanted to do.
The same is true for hitters…
When a hitter tries to swing for the fences, his muscles will tense up, reaction time will slightly change, balance will be off and he will corkscrew into the ground and whiff on the pitch.
There is a difference between max effort and trying to do too much. Unfortunately, when some ball teams are down, players respond by over-trying.
After winning the first two games in the American Championship Series against the New York Yankees, the Houston Astros lost the next three games and were on the brink of being upset. The Astros lost those three games by a combined score of 19-5.
Following the loss in Game 5, Houston shortstop Carlos Correa talked about how the Astro hitters were trying to do too much.
CORREA: “Yesterday was an off day. I’m always thinking baseball. And I was thinking, we’re chasing too many pitches. We’re chasing pitches out of the zone. We’ve got guys going up there and just swinging, instead of having a plan. That’s not how it works.”
The Astros tried a different approach in Games 6 and 7. The Astros played smarter, rather than over-trying.
The hitters reverted back to their previous successful approach earlier in the series. Each at-bat, Astro hitters relied on a plan for the game situation.
Playing smarter, rather than working harder, helped the Astros bounce back and win the last two games 7-1, 4-0 and secured their spot in the 2017 World Series.
When you respond to pressure by playing smarter, staying focused, having a plan and executing that plan to the best of your abilities, you will perform at a higher level.
Play Smarter, Not Harder
Have a plan for every situation–pitch, at-bat, or play.
Visualize or rehearse what you want to do in that situation. Feel yourself playing with ease and patience.
Then, trust in your skills to put the plan into action!
Get The Mental Edge For Baseball and Softball Players!
Do you (or your athletes) lack full confidence in your skills when you step on the field as if your game disappears at game time?
Do you lose composure easily after you make your first error of time game?
Do you feel embarrassed after striking out and carry this with you for longer than one inning?
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