Using Mental Toughness to Overcome a Slump
When you are in the middle of a slump or a string of inconsistent performances, you might feel it’s hard to turn things around…
You feel trapped in a never-ending revolving door of mediocrity. Even though you have played great in the recent past or have broken out of slumps in the past, THIS TIME seems different.
You probably had a slump story that sounds quite like the following…
Pedro V. is a minor league outfielder who has a batting average around .350 for the past two seasons.
Midway through the current season over the span of twenty games, Pedro has more strikeouts than hits.
Walking up to the plate is filled with anxiety for Pedro even early in the game when there is a lot less pressure on his shoulders.
Pedro is no longer the confident hitter he once was and obsesses about getting a hit.
He presses at the plate and his swing is late and lumbering.
Every bad at-bat only serves to reinforce to Pedro that he has lost his touch.
Slumps are frustrating because you often feel there is no end in sight.
If you want to break out of your slump, you cannot allow a slump to mess with your mind…
This is why mental toughness is critical for the success of baseball players and teams as well.
Mental toughness helps you see every pitch and every at-bat as an opportunity to succeed.
Mental toughness helps you avoid the mental traps of negative thoughts such as, “I’m having a bad season,” or, “I don’t have IT this game.”
These types of thoughts create your reality and prevent you from breaking out of that performance slump. After all, if you don’t have IT, how can you possibly get a hit?
The 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs are having difficulty trying to defend their MLB championship title.
Last year, the Cubs had a record of 103-58, a .636 winning percentage. This year, the Cubs have a 2-game division lead despite having a record of 65-57, a .533 winning percentage.
General Manager, Jed Hoyer, has a philosophy that you are only one pitch away from turning things around.
HOYER: “When you’re hovering around .500, which we are, everyone is in the race. Everyone is one hot streak from being right there. We have to hope that we start being consistent and rattle off a lot of series wins and get away from .500 by a significant amount.”
Rookie second baseman, Ian Happ, believes keeping an even keel is a vital skill in order to bounce back from a bad game or string of bad games.
In a game following four strikeouts, Happ displayed his mental toughness by getting two hits, two runs and two RBIs and helping the Cubs pull out a 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays.
HAPP: “The game ebbs and flows all the time. That’s why it is a beautiful game and a terrible game at the same time. You are going to have your good weeks, your bad weeks, good days and your bad days, being able to stay even and keep fighting through it is important.”
If you want to increase your chances for success today, choose to embrace mental toughness and see the opportunity instead of past negative results.
A Tip for Breaking Out of a Slump:
Stay focused on your talents and strengths, not shortcomings.
You cannot erase poor past performance by dwelling on it in your mind.
Momentum can change for you or your team quickly…
So, remind yourself that you are one pitch or at-bat away from turning things around and that pitch is right in front of you.
Gaining momentum can start with a strong mental game. Get The Mental Edge for Ball Players:
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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?
Do you lose composure easily after you make your first error of time game?
Do you feel embarrassed after striking out and carry this with you for longer than one inning?
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