Softball, a Mental Game
Coaches can learn how to approach thee mental game with young softball and baseball players.
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Improve your mental approach, Improve your success
In the world of youth softball today, not enough time is spent on the mental aspect of the game. Coaches are spending more and more money on training equipment and burning countless hours on drills, but they are not developing the minds of their players in a way that will help them to execute the muscle memory that practice is developing. We all do it. The old adage that “perfect practice makes perfect” is true, but let’s take a look at what a perfect practice must include.
Make young players aware of the impact their thoughts have on their play. Talk to your players, during practice, about what they can do to improve their mental approach. For example, while players are drilling ground balls, give them the time to go through a mental inventory of how to attack the ground ball:
- Begin from a solid ready position
- See the ball off of the bat
- Attack the ball
- Get the good hop
- Make a solid throw
I tell my players to step inside their “bubble of focus”. Once they have shut out the outside world, they must allow their mind to focus on the positives. Replace “I hope I get it this time” with “nothing can get by me”. Continual positive self-talk goes a long way to helping players stop doubting their abilities, even when they make the inevitable error that happens in softball to all players. “Hit it to me again; I will make the next play.”
Make sure to set time aside scheduled times at practice to give your players one of the most neglected free training tools in all of sports. A brain that views every at-bat, every flyball, and every throw in a positive light.