For your athlete the same challenges can present themselves. She can be preoccupied with a future test or assignment at school or a social activity she is looking forward to on the weekend. She can also dwell in the past lamenting a poor grade on a quiz or why that boy never smiled back at her in class. For her the present moment can also be elusive.
As an athlete, particularly playing a game as difficult as fastpitch softball, she needs to bring her "A" game when it comes to her mental focus come game time. The game has little sympathy for future or past thinking when that 60 mph rise ball is coming!
The excitement of anticipating a future moment is not a bad thing and kids do that far more naturally than adults do. If your athlete loves playing the game she will likely be in that anticipatory state with her thoughts. However, once she steps on the field or in the on deck circle she needs to bring her thinking back to the present moment if she has any hope of sustainable success. It is at this time that she needs to focus on her "plan" and laser focus on the task at hand.
Future thinking can also show up in the form of anxiety and fear if your athlete has self-confidence issues with her hitting or fielding. Dreading a future moment makes being in the present moment virtually impossible.
Equally as debilitating for your athlete is dwelling on her past mistakes on the field during the game. The past is, by definition, a present moment already gone. Therefore your athlete needs to learn to let go of her mistakes by understanding that everyone makes mistakes in the game of fastpitch softball. Rather have her look for what she can learn from her mistakes. Dwelling in the past will rob your athlete of her ability to focus her attention and energy on the task at hand.
Whether engaging in past or future thinking your athlete's game performance will be far better served by taking the game one pitch at a time. For many kids (and adults) it takes time to cultivate this present moment awareness, and such awareness is a byproduct of healthy self-confidence and mental toughness. In reality the future has yet to happen and the past is but a memory. Keep her focused in the now and your athlete will be well on her way to being the very best she can be!
To learn more about how your athlete can sharpen her mental toughness and be able to laser focus on the present moment visit us at Winner's Edge Softball.
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Announcing the October 1 release of John's latest book How She Thinks is How She Plays and The Game Changer Program: A Mental Skills Blueprint to Make Her the Best She Can Be.