The Benefits of Conviction For Athletes
Have you ever wondered what type of mindset helps baseball players be the best of the best?
What mindset is the foundation that produces top performance through the course of a baseball season?
Hitting streaks, dominating pitching, high stealing percentages, coming through in the clutch and flawless fielding all have one commonality… The baseball players that produce these great feats perform with conviction.
Conviction is more than just confidence. Conviction is a mental state of being convinced that something is true.
For a baseball player, conviction is that rock-solid confidence that you can produce every time you step on the field no matter what the circumstances are, what team you are playing or even what happened yesterday.
The BIG two questions are:
- How does playing with conviction produce such great performances?
- How can you develop that conviction in your own game?
Playing with conviction gives you the upper hand because when you fully believe in your ability to consistently perform at a high level, you play more aggressively.
For a pitcher, you have that attitude where you internally say, “Here’s what I got, just try and hit it.”
And even if you get knocked around for an inning, you see that as an anomaly, something out of the ordinary instead of a sign that your skills are in decline.
How you develop conviction is a matter of training.
Training your mechanics through repetition and training your mind to stay focused on the right performance cues.
There is no doubt that Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw is one of the most dominant pitchers in recent memory. In his nine year career, Kershaw has thrown up record setting numbers: 125-57 win/ loss record, 2.37 ERA and 1887 strikeouts.
It is hard to imagine that in his ninth year in the league that Kershaw is pitching his best baseball ever: 11-1, 1.57 ERA, 141 strikeout outs and only 7 walks in 115 innings pitched.
That is not a misprint… ONLY 7 WALKS! That is the best efficiency rating of any pitcher in the history of the game.
Catcher A.J. Ellis provided insight to Kershaw’s mindset on the mound and the key to his dominance.
ELLIS: “What separates Clayton is his ability to pitch with conviction. He trusts himself, he trusts his weapons. There is no tentativeness when he throws a pitch. It’s funny how, even when a pitch that has the same velocity as another pitch, the one that is thrown with conviction just always seems to have that extra aggressiveness, that extra life to it.”
Kershaw gained that conviction not by accident or luck but by his high degree of attention to mental and physical preparedness.
KERSHAW: “It’s just a matter of working at it and getting more consistent and repeating the same mechanics over and over again, and having the mindset that you aren’t going to walk guys.”
Think of what you could accomplish by adopting an aggressive strategy and playing with conviction.
A Strategy For Playing With Conviction:
If you want to outperform opponents, you need to first out-prepare your opponents. Most players passively go through the motions in practice.
Challenge yourself during training sessions to be the best on the field, mentally and physically, every single repetition of every single drill.
Don’t forget you also need to include mental preparation in the mix of conviction. Focusing on the process, being decisive, and trusting what you practice are key.
Check out our Video of The Week
This week, Dr. Cohn helps parents and coaches understand the pitfalls of athletes who try to perform perfectly:
Sports Parents Success Video 7: Athletes Who Try to be Perfect
Slumps are inevitable in baseball, but slumps can still be mentally draining for some players.
Coaches, Help Your Ball Players Change Their Narrative On The Field!
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Learn how to teach your team to have unshakable self-confidence with “Instilling Confidence in Baseball and Softball Players.” This program consists of one 72-minute audio CD that includes 7 days of confidence-fueling exercises. You’ll also receive a simple-to-follow 74-page coaches’ manual that guides you through the 7 team sessions you’ll conduct. We’ve also included the top confidence-building exercises on athletes’ worksheets. You’ll copy these for your team members, which help your players understand and apply what they’ll learn in the team sessions.
Learn more about the program here: Instilling Confidence In Baseball And Softball Players