Striving For Success in Baseball or Softball
Baseball players and other athletes contact me every day saying that they can’t get out of their own way during games – that their mental game is holding them back.
Why would you want to sabotage your own success and prevent yourself from achieving success?
Some baseball players and coaches would answer ‘fear of success.’ It maybe fear of success, but not likely. Fear of success, although it does cause players to self-destruct, is more rare in my work compared to fear of failure.
What is the difference between fear of failure and fear of success when it comes to your mental game of baseball?
Both the fear of failure and fear of success cause you to get in your own way with fear, anxiety, tension, and worry about results. This leads to self-sabotage. However, the source of the fear differs.
Fear of failure is worry about not getting what you so badly want and have worked hard to obtain. Fear of success is worry about what comes with being more successful in your sport. Most students I work with come to me with fear of failure.
Are you afraid to succeed in baseball?
You might be thinking, why would anyone be afraid to succeed at something they work so hard to obtain?
Think Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and Ken Griffy, Jr. Very successful athletes for sure. But think about the precautions Tiger Woods has to make just to go out to dinner with his wife or friends. With success, come ‘other’ responsibilities and constraints that non-elite athletes never experience.
“Getting in your own way” because of fear of failure is much more common in my work as a mental game expert to players. Fear of failure turns into anxiety and tension on the diamond because you don’t want to fail and screw up.
Fear of failure can also cause you to try too hard to get a hit or make a play, which would be my definition of ‘getting in your own way’ mentally.
It’s ironic that the player who want to succeed so badly, worry too much about “what if I don’t succeed?” The need to play well often turns into a failure-oriented approach to your game: don’t strike out, don’t give up a hit, don’t make an error, etc.
So how do you improve your mental game so you are not getting in your own way with fear of failure?
The answers are not easy because players hold themselves back for many reasons. You might fear not reaching your or others expectations, for example. You might fear embarrassing yourself if you go 0-4 at the plate. You might worry too much about impressing college scouts. In each of these scenarios, I would take a different approach to finding the solutions.
However, one tip that applies to all these scenarios is you have to learn how to focus on success instead of failure when you play.
You should never set negative goals for example – to not strike out.
You should always focus on what you want to have happen – hit it hard down the 3rd base line – instead of avoiding mistakes (don’t foul the ball off again).
In the mental game of baseball, the body will follow the input from the mind. If you focus on not striking out at-bat, your body finds a way to strike out. If you think about seeing the pitch well, you focus on positive cues and your mind will achieve this task.
Thus, always ask yourself, “What do I need to focus on to execute this pitch, at-bat, or defensive play.”
Strive for success instead of avoiding failure is the mental game lesson for today!
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Mental Game of Baseball Success Stories
“With your help, I have been able to deal with stress and pressure of the game of baseball more efficiently. I have learned what it means to focus on the process to help me keep my focus and disregard negative thoughts and energies. This process focus will keep me from getting my head in the way of my performance, from working against myself. Thanks for your help. I look forward to speaking with you again.”
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