Coping With Mistakes
Coping with failure is very much a part of baseball.
Hitters’ certainly don’t get a hit or succeed every time. The top hitters succeed three out of 10 times on average.
Pitchers have had their taste of failure too. Pitchers succeed only half the time, even at the professional level.
With all this failure, how can baseball players learn to bounce back?
Mariano Rivera, relief pitcher for the Yankees says:
“The secret is not so much confidence as focus.”
Focus and the ability to concentrate in the now is important to develop a strong mental game.
To be able to perform, you have to be able to focus on performance cues. You can’t throw a good pitch or get a hit without focusing your mind on execution.
The good news is that every ball player has the ability to focus. But sometimes your focus can get displaced.
Ball players can lose focus by letting negative emotions, such as frustration or anger, get the best of them. Mistakes can cause you to feel frustrated, such as missing a fly ball or walking a batter.
When players become frustrated or angry, they spend too much energy and attention on mistakes. You’re essentially focused on the past, which hinders your ability to focus on the current pitch or play.
Mariano Rivera is a good example of keeping his emotions in check and staying focused one pitch at a time.
“Nothing derails him,” Chad Gaudin says. “No emotions get in the way. Ever. He is able to take all that energy of the moment and channel it into everything he has to do. Why doesn’t everybody do that? Not everybody has the power or self-discipline.”
Even though there will be times when you’re frustrated with your performance, the key is to catch yourself before your performance spins out of control.
You’ll want to think of the times where you are most likely to become frustrated.
Do you become frustrated when you’re down in the count? Or maybe you get frustrated when you’re not performing up to your expectations.
The first step is to be aware of mistakes that can trigger frustration so you can develop a plan to bounce back from them quicker.
Failure is a part of sports, especially in baseball.
The key is to not demand perfection and to be more accepting of your mistakes.
You certainly don’t want to dwell on your mistakes or beat yourself up. Save your analysis of errors for after the game.
Use mistakes as a way to improve your game. Think of your mistakes as learning opportunity to better your game in the future.
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