How to Cope with Pressure
“It’s Playoff Time!” Are you or your ball players excited or fearful?
Playoff time is exciting for some baseball players but, for other players, playoffs are a nerve-wracking time filled with pressure.
All season long, ball players put in tireless hours sweating, sacrificing and grinding to put themselves in position to contend for a championship. Once the hard work is complete, it’s time to perform on the big stage.
Each pitch is an opportunity to get on base, advance a runner, drive in a run, make a play in the field, strike out a batter, hold the opposing team scoreless and make your mark on the game.
Not all players relish these moments. Some players see these opportunities as a chance to fail, to NOT get on base, to NOT drive home a run, to NOT make the play in the field or to NOT stifle opposing hitters.
Ultimately, this type of player fears being the reason that their team loses. This player is in an avoidance mindset.
It’s not that this type of player does not have the ability. They often have no problem performing at a high level during regular season games. Something changes for these players when they go from practice to games. The BIG moment becomes too overwhelming!
They put too much pressure on themselves because they view playoff games with an exaggerated sense of importance. These players have the mindset that playoff games are do or die so they approach these games with a sense of fear and apprehension.
In essence, when a player with this approach under performs, it’s not their abilities or skills that fail them, it’s their mindset that holds them back.
Whether regular season or playoffs, the game remains the same… nine players on the field, 90 feet between bases, 60.5 feet from the pitcher’s mound to home plate and both teams start the game tied at 0-0.
If you focus on playing the game, rather than the “importance” of the game, you can manage the feeling of pressure you experience in the moment.
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz was able to manage the pressure of the moment during Game 2 of the 2019 National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. With being down 0-1 in the series, Foltynewicz was dominant throwing seven scoreless innings, striking out seven and not issuing a walk.
Foltynewicz’s ability to cope with pressure of the moment helped lead the Braves to a 3-0 win to tie the series 1-1.
FOLTYNEWICZ: “These games are pretty big, but at the same time it’s just the same game we’ve been playing all year. I said that the other day and that’s kind of how I took it tonight. But I really made sure to slow things down, to stay in my mechanics and make sure all my pitches were working like they were tonight. And it was smooth sailing, so it was a lot of fun.”
When you can manage your emotions and perform like you do in practice, not only can you elevate your game but you can have fun while doing it with no pressure.
Coping with Pressure During Playoff Games
Remind yourself that the game is still the same you have played most of your life.
A key word or phrase such as “same game” or “90 feet to first” can keep you grounded in the moment and lessen the pressure you experience in that moment.
Pressure is not external–you put the pressure on yourself to be successful or not fail in big moments.
How you interpret the importance of the game can change your mindset from fearful to fun.
Get The Mental Edge For Baseball and Softball Players!
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?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, check out The Mental Edge For Baseball And Softball Players!
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What are baseball mental game customers saying?
“Dr. Cohn, I’ve been tearing it up lately!!! Every single thing you taught me works perfectly in every situation I’ve been in. I’ve been so into every game and focusing on the process and not the outcomes and everything falls right into place . In the playoffs I’m 5-7 with 2 run home runs and 5 RBIs. I feel great at the plate and focusing is a breeze now. I just wanted to thank you for everything and keep you posted with how everything was going.”
~Jalen Phillips, College Baseball Player
“With your help, I have been able to deal with stress and pressure of the game of baseball more efficiently. I have learned to help me keep my focus and disregard negative thoughts and energies. This process focus will keep me from getting my head in the way of my performance, from working against myself. Thanks for your help. I look forward to speaking with you again.”
~Keith Donnell, college baseball player
“Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with our team. It was greatly appreciated and really helped a lot. I found myself implementing your teachings in our first practice right after you left. I really enjoyed the way you implemented already known ideas, but gave us a different way of viewing it. Thank you.”
~Amber Prosser, Clark College Softball
Boost Your Self-Confidence And Focus With Expert Mental Game Coaching!
Master mental game coach Dr. Patrick Cohn can help you overcome your mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our mental coaching students saying?
“As a college softball coach I experience great pleasure in helping youth league coaches develop their young players. As reversal of that process, I, as the student, look to experts like yourself to give me the “mechanics” of sports psychology so that I may better impart my knowledge to the players and coaches. Your contribution spreads like wildfire and helps hundreds of youngsters as well as us “oldies.” Thanks for your contribution–it means a lot.”
~Tom Moore, College Softball Coach
“A quick note to let you know how effective your programs worked for my son who is 17 and plays varsity baseball in VA. In late 2009, I ordered the Relaxed Athlete program for my son because I saw he was pressing too hard at the plate and had disappointing results for the 2009 season. Thanks to your programs, my son now has a completely new approach to the game of baseball (and school) and it’s more fun for him now. He made all-district player at his position and hit .443 this season. A complete 180 degree turn around from last year.”
~Mark M., sports parent
“Dr. Cohn has put together a program that has enabled myself and our players to approach the mental game in a systematic way that is easy to use and apply. Our awareness level has greatly increased.”
~Marty Hunter, Head Baseball Coach George Fox University
*Testimonials found on this site are examples of what we have done for other clients, and what some of our clients have said about us. However, we cannot guarantee the results in any case. Your results may vary and every situation is different. No compensation was provided for these testimonials.
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