What Mental Game Issues Cause Slumps?
Slumps are frustrating but are a normal part of baseball. Even though the slump bug bites every player, it doesn’t make dealing with slumps any easier.
Slumps can turn the most confident baseball players into doubters.
Slumps are mental nuisances that challenge you in a number of ways.
Some mental game challenges that can cause or prolong slumps include:
- Slumps can cause you to call into question your ability to perform during games and mess with your confidence.
- Slumps can be frustrating and be an impediment to your ability to focus on the present moment.
- Slumps can affect your mental approach to the game as you often expect the slump to carry on from game to game.
- Slumps can make you fearful of potential consequences such as being benched or negative reactions from coaches, teammates and parents.
- Slumps can zap your motivation and replace your excitement to play with apprehension.
- Slumps can take the fun out of the game and make you question if you want to continue playing the sport at all.
- Slumps can make you go through the motions in practice instead of giving full effort.
- Slumps can affect other parts of your game such as fielding, base running, etc.
- Slumps can cause you to press or try too hard adversely affecting your mechanics.
The reality is that you can beat slumps with the right mentality.
Twenty-four year-old Yankees first baseman Greg Bird has been in the midst of a slump since spring training broke. Bird had an amazing spring training, leading the major league in extra-base hits, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and home runs.
Through the first 18 games of the 2017 regular season,Bird is 6-for-67 (.107 batting average) with only one homerun and three RBIs. Bird is statistically at the bottom in most hitting categories for first basemen in the MLB.
A couple of reasons for Bird to be mired in his slump could be:
- How the media has portrayed his slump with words such as; devastating, cataclysmic, worrisome and disappointing.
- The excessively high expectations after coming off spectacular spring training.
Even though Bird is slumping, Bird is confident in his ability to hit.
BIRD: “It’s baseball… I can hit. I know I can hit. So I just got to keep going, keep working and work through it.”
What has contributed to Bird’s confidence despite slumping?
You can apply the same strategies to help maintain a positive mindset when you experience a performance drought.
Bird knows he has performed at a high level in the past and he hasn’t lost the ability to swing the bat.
Bird has been making good contact even though the ball is not finding the gaps.
Bird has succeeded in beating slumps under the same circumstances before.
If you focus on the process, are patient and have the right mindset, you will find yourself out of your slump sooner rather than later.
Focus on what you need to do in the moment (the process) instead of worrying about personal statistics.
Know that averages imply highs and lows, so if you focus on your game and the task at hand, the results will soon follow.
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