How to Develop Confidence in Baseball
Confidence is the great equalizer. Confidence for a baseball player magnifies their talents and abilities to produce on the field…
Think of how a magnifying glass works… If you place a tiny bug under the glass, it brings to the surface all its characteristics.
That is how confidence works. Your talents and abilities are there.
Confidence brings those talents and abilities to the surface allowing you to produce visible results during practices and games.
Confidence has been a critical factor in Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole’s record-setting start to the 2018 season.
Cole set an MLB record for most strikeouts (36) in first three starts with a new team and tied the Minute Maid Park record for an Astros pitcher, originally set by Bud Norris in 2010.
Cole joined Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers in Major League history to strike out at least 11 in three consecutive starts to a season.
Astros manager AJ Hinch summed up the reasons for Cole’s confidence and success so far this season.
HINCH: “[Cole] was going with what was working. He reads hitters extremely well, and he knows his strengths. He knows what he can do with the ball, and he’s executing at a high end. With that skill, that mindset, the approach, the way he thinks about the outing between innings, he can create any game plan and execute it right now.”
In dissecting Hinch’s comment, you can really see how confidence works:
1. “Go with what is working.”
There will be some games where your entire game is not clicking, maybe your curve ball is staying flat or you are not driving in runs as you have done the past few games. Confidence is a matter of staying focused on how you can contribute, rather than what’s not working.
A pitcher might want to focus on their slider or keeping the ball low in the zone to generate more ground ball outs. A hitter could focus on working the count, getting more walks or impacting the game with their glove.
2. “Know your strengths.”
Confidence is all about focusing on your strengths rather than weaknesses or ‘what’s right with me’ instead of ‘what’s wrong with me’. All confident baseball players recognize what they do well and look to leverage their strengths during a game.
A confident player who hits for a high average doesn’t focus on their inability to hit monstrous home runs. That doesn’t mean this hitter can’t hit a home run. Instead this type of hitter looks to make contact and hit the ball in the gaps.
3. “Create a game plan and execute the game plan.”
Preparation and focus are major contributors to confidence. If you are well-prepared for any task (for example: a test, a presentation or a competition), you are more confident in your ability to produce positive results.
A game plan is just another way to be prepared for the task at hand. Focusing on executing the game plan keeps you grounded in what you need to do in the moment and minimizes distractions and over-focusing on results.
Imagine if you committed on working on your confidence game 5-10 minutes each day… Imagine how you would feel if you started a game feeling confident…
More importantly, imagine how much better you would play with a higher degree of confidence.
If you work on your confidence, your confidence will work for you.
Developing Peak Confidence in Baseball
Don’t just show up to a game with your uniform, glove and bat.
Go to your game with a game plan. Be prepared. Compete from your strengths. Focus on your talents, not what others have.
Your game plan will keep your confidence high and your focus locked in.
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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?
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