Stabilize your Confidence
Chalk it up to experience. This phrase is used to relay that bad circumstances, mistakes or outcomes can be used as learning experiences or dismissed altogether rather than dwelling on the negative, reliving the experience or beating yourself up over the result.
As a baseball player, you want to have stable confidence and not allow your confidence to be rocked by circumstances.
The problem for some baseball players is that they see a bad game as an indictment on their abilities or as a sign that their skills are declining. This view not only lowers your confidence, but it adversely affects future performances and production.
But you can view the game in a different way, one that does not crush your confidence… You can chalk the game up to experience.
For example, if you had a game where you were 0-4 at the plate with two strikeouts and stranded 3 runners in scoring position…
You can see this game as the start of a slump or evidence that you choke under pressure… Or you can chalk the game up to experience. Maybe, you tell yourself, “This is only one game of a long season. Next game is a chance to start all over.”
Or, if you pitched a game where you just couldn’t seem to get your curveball to break and weren’t able to throw the pitch for strikes…
You can view it as having one less pitch in your arsenal… Or you can chalk the outing up to experience. You can view the game as just one of those games where you just weren’t on top of your game and see it as an isolated outing.
The latter is exactly how Philadelphia Phillies veteran pitcher Jake Arrieta viewed his spring training start against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Arrieta started the game giving up an opposite-field leadoff homer and having a lack of command over his pitches. Arrieta was pulled after just 64 pitches, throwing 31 balls to 33 strikes.
Arrieta didn’t view the game as an indication he was going to have a bad year. Arrieta merely chalked the game up for experience.
ARRIETA: “Not gonna cry about it. I’m not gonna watch video of it at all. Didn’t feel great. Got to  pitches, that was the goal. I would have liked better results. It didn’t happen that way. Move on, that’s it. Just one of those spring training days where it didn’t sync up quite the way I wanted.”
Arrieta didn’t allow one bad outing to affect him mentally or beat himself up over his performance. Instead, Arrieta saw the game for what it was… just one game.
When you have a bad game, don’t be so hard on yourself. One bad game is just one bad game. Take Arrieta’s lead and just chalk it up to experience.
How to keep Confidence after a Bad Game:
Of course you will feel bad after a bad game; it’s okay. After a brief amount of time has elapsed, tell yourself, “Chalk it up to experience.”
After you tell yourself that phrase, ask yourself is there anything I can learn from this game to play better in the next game?
You want to take a growth approach to your game which means thinking about what skills you want to improve in the next week of practice.
This strategy is a great way to maintain your confidence.
For more tips on improving pregame mental preparation, check out our audio and workbook program, “The Mental Edge For Baseball and Softball Players”:
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