Focusing on Your Accomplishments not Comparisons
Have you or your athletes ever felt overwhelmed playing with older ball players?
Aging up, being a newcomer on a travel team or making your high school or college team as a freshman can be overwhelming.
Finding out where you fit in, battling for playing time and playing against tougher teams can be a hard task for many younger players.
To understand the difficulties for younger players, let’s look at the example of Josh R…
Josh was a starter on his high school baseball team. Josh started every game for his high school team from his sophomore year forward and had a .402 batting average over the course of his high school career.
His team won the state championship two years in a row and Josh rose to the occasion each time winning the MVP both years.
Josh received a full scholarship to play for a Division I collegiate team and his college coach told Josh that he would definitely play a significant role on the team.
Unfortunately, Josh had a difficult time adjusting to playing at the collegiate level.
He felt pressure to succeed. He questioned if he was good enough and constantly compared himself to other players.
Josh saw his playing time steadily decrease over his freshman year and he could only muster a .189 batting average. Josh felt overwhelmed by the moment.
Did Josh’s skills diminish? Absolutely not! Was Josh not talented enough to compete at this level? Again, no!
Josh saw many of his high school teammates experience success at the Division I level.
Josh’s problem, like many young players, was not his physical skills, it was his mental toughness.
Young players who play against older players often lose confidence and focus on the physical size and skills of older players, leading them to feel overwhelmed rather than focusing on their own talents.
These players are making too many comparisons to others players. When you compare yourself to other players, most of the time you will lose confidence or feel intimidated.
San Diego Padres rookie shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. is not putting pressure on himself, even though he is only 20 years-old and the average age of an MLB player is approximately 28 years-old.
In spring training, Tatis focused on his skill set instead of comparing himself to the more experienced players that were fighting for a roster spot.
By avoiding the comparison trap, Tatis not only made the team, but became the youngest player to record a multi-hit game on Opening Day in over 40 years, going 2-for-3 including a bunt single in the fifth inning.
Tatis was not fazed starting in his first MLB game at all. Instead Tatis focused on the work he had done that helped him advance to the major leagues.
Tatis commented on how he and his rookie teammates made it to the major league.
TATIS: “[The organization] believes in us, and also we’ve done the job. It was not gifted to us. We’ve been working hard, and it’s paid off.”
Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer commented on Tatis’ performance in the home opener, especially his bunt single in the fifth inning.
TATIS: “That’s super impressive, man. Dropping a bunt down in your second at-bat in the big leagues, that shows you where his head’s at. He’s trying to win a ballgame. He’s not fazed. He’s not over matched by the situation at all.”
When you fall into the comparison trap, your mindset is not where is should be.
Comparing yourself to older, more successful players will cause you to question your skills, abilities and become overwhelmed.
A better mindset for competing with more experienced players is to focus on all the things you have done to get to the level you are currently… After all, you earned it!
How to Avoid Self-Intimidation:
First, think about all the work you have done to earn your current position in the game.
List the reasons why you have earned it starting with with: “I have earned this because…” Keep the list current and refer to it frequently. This will help you keep the focus on you and your game.
Put the blinders on: Stop looking around in awe of other players on your team. And avoid comparing your skills, size, or strength to other ball players.
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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