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Topic: Coach & Player Resources   Type: Resources

Article from Junior Baseball

If You Believe, You Can Achieve

How many of you have been in a position to win the game in your final at bat? You know, two outs, bases loaded, your team losing by one run in the last inning. The other team changes pitchers as you step up to the plate. The 'Big Kid' moves from first base, saunters up to the pitcher's mound and starts throwing fastballs that look like BBs.

How do you handle this situation?

Most kids will look at this situation with fear. Fear of failure, fear of striking out, fear of being hit by the pitch, fear of letting his teammates, coach and parents down. But there is nothing to fear. The game has not changed, it is still "see the ball, hit the ball". The fear is created in the mind; it is a choice the player makes. He can choose to fear the situation or relish the opportunity to win the game for his team. A conscious choice is made based on what he perceives the situation to be.

The poor player will think, "That pitcher is a horse, look how fast he is throwing that ball. There is no way I can hit that. Man, this stinks; why did they have to put him in when I was coming up to bat?" All of that negative self-talk does nothing more than increase the likelihood of failure for the player. He is preparing himself to fail and justifying that failure in his mind. This is the wrong mental approach to hitting in any situation, let alone one like this.

So, what is the right mental approach? Positive self-talk is one of the most important ingredients to success in any sport, or life itself for that matter. If you believe, you can achieve! Don't just say; "I can do this." Believe you can! Take a moment to stand in the on-deck circle and study the pitcher, visualize hitting sharp line drives to the outfield every time he throws a warm-up pitch. Say things like: "Cool, I'm going to win this game!" See your teammates jumping up and down with joy. Joyful anticipation is the proper mental approach in these situations. You get to go up to bat and win the game. Winners want to be in this position. Winners don't fear failure - they anticipate success.

Armed with the proper mental approach, what about physical symptoms that can impair your performance?

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