Social Approval And Your Performance
Many baseball players don’t want to let teammates, parents or coaches down, and this causes them to worry too much about what others think about their game.
For example, do you worry too much about what your coach thinks about your batting technique or about performing well to gain respect from teammates.
In his rookie season LA Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw had a difficult time finishing games after giving up a couple big hits because he felt that he was letting his team down.
“I didn’t give our team any kind of chance. It’s just not a good feeling to let your teammates down, to let everybody down,” said Kershaw after an 11-6 loss to the Brewers.
Kershaw felt that because he is the pitcher that the team depended on him to win. This caused his to start worrying what his coaches, teammates and the fans were thinking about his performance rather than focusing on his performance.
Worrying about what others are thinking or what will happen if you let down your team will not help you perform to your potential. Now with three seasons under his belt Kershaw is able to recognize the mental barrier he faced in his rookie year.
“It was kind of a snowball effect once I started to make assumptions about what others were thinking I took my head out of the game,” said Kershaw.
When you make assumptions about what others might be thinking about your game, you engage in “mind reading.”
You don’t really know what others are thinking about you.
Mind reading is just a distraction to playing your best and it can cause you to play tentatively.
“I needed to remind myself that even though pitcher is an important position, each player on the team plays an important role in your team’s success.”
You’ll have good days and bad days on the field, everybody does.
The key is not to lose confidence after a poor inning.
Find something positive from each game and move onto the next.
“If you pitch good, you can soak it in that night. You pitch badly and it’s going to hurt that night. That’s the great thing about baseball: You play every day. Tomorrow is a new day,” said Kershaw.
Don’t beat yourself up for poor pitching or a loss.
A better option is to assess what needs to improve the next game and move forward with a healthy dose of confidence.
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