Velasquez’s Mental Toughness
Getting to the next level for a baseball player takes hard work, staying at that level and playing your best at that level takes mental strength.
Many baseball players work hard to get to the next level but are overwhelmed by competing against talented players.
Some believe luck was the reason for advancement while others just don’t think they are good enough to make an impact. It can be mentally difficult going from being the top dog to fighting for some playing time.
If you want to make an impact at the next level, you need to remember that you put in the work and ACHIEVED the next level by rising up to meet the physical and mental demands of baseball…
This, in a nutshell, is mental toughness!
Mental toughness gives you the confidence to keep putting in the work to meet and know that each challenge faced further advances your game.
Vince Velasquez, 23 year-old pitching prospect for the Philadelphia Phillies, understands the need for mental toughness to compete at the next level.
Velasquez was drafted by the Houston Astros in the second round of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft out of high school. The very next year, Velasquez underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the 2011 season.
Velasquez fought his way back, characteristic of all mentally tough athletes, and was named the 67th best prospect in baseball prior to the 2014 season.
In 2015, Velasquez was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Not only did he make the 2016 Phillies roster, he earned the final spot in the pitching rotation.
VELASQUEZ: “It’s never easy. There are a lot of guys with talent in this room and everyone is fighting for a spot. It’s a little journey I’m looking forward to experiencing and we’ll see how it plays out.”
Velasquez’s hard work and mental toughness has paid off this season. In his first two starts, Velasquez has yet to allow a run and has had 25 strikeouts with only three walks.
Velasquez’s mental toughness was on display in his second start when he struck out 16 in a three-hit shutout, 3-0, against the San Diego Padres. Velasquez threw in the 90’s with impeccable control and walked no batters.
Velasquez is the third pitcher age 23 or younger since 1913 to strike out 16 and walk none in a shutout.
Velasquez has welcomed the competition and is totally focused on his honing his craft.
VELASQUEZ: “You have to be optimistic. I’m just here trying to help us win. Any way I can I’m going to try to make things happen… I’m going to go out there and do everything I can. Pitch, pitch, pitch.”
As Velasquez has demonstrated so far… a little mental toughness can go a long way at the next level.
The mindset to make an impact at the next level:
Be a fact-finder. Fact-finders look for evidence to support their belief.
Ask yourself, “How did I advance to this level?” “What specifics things did I do?” “What mental skills propelled me forward?”
When you get knocked down by adversity or injury, how will you respond to meet the challenge?
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