How She Thinks is How She Plays

At my travel organization's practice last night many of the girls' efforts echo the reason why I wrote How She Thinks is How She Plays. I was working with the outfielders for two of our teams, probably 10-12 girls in all. We worked on various aspects of proper outfield play for over an hour, including such mundane matters as:

- Tucking the glove while chasing down a ball
- Proper sliding technique to catch balls in the outfield
- Cut off throws
- Proper technique for the body and glove when charging a "do or die" grounder
- Taking the proper drop step and route to a deep fly ball
- Using proper glove side spin for balls to the player's left side

After the specific outfield and infield sessions we brought both teams together for some situational work. It was disappointing to see how many of the girls I personally worked with (and it was probably the same for the coaches who worked with the infielders) that did not implement the exact things we had just worked on for the previous hour. It is as if they weren't listening or simply would not trust themselves to make the necessary adjustments to get better.

Look I'm the first one to recognize how hard the game of fastpitch softball is to master. However, your athlete will absolutely play to the level of her thinking. If she is incapable or unwilling to mentally focus on making her practices be as intense, beneficial and powerful as her games are she will never achieve her true softball potential.

As a Mental Skills Coach and a student of the mental game in sports for 25 years I can safely say that lack of mental focus and playing in the present moment is the biggest saboteur of young athletes' success. Mental focus is not takes hard work, but her ability to control her mental focus and thoughts is 100% within her control.

When she makes an error in the field, has a poor at bat, makes a base running error or grooves a fat pitch the overwhelming percent of the time the cause is simple to identify: her lack of mental focus. Now this can be due to myriad reasons (which I cover in my book), but the effect of these causes is the same: inconsistent play and more adversity and frustration than she needs to experience.

The art of mental imagery or visualization is a mental skills tools that Olympic, professional and elite athletes have used for years to attain present moment focus and supreme confidence and poise. In my Game Changer Program I have recorded an excellent 22 minute Audio Lesson on the benefits and process of using mental imagery to achieve lasting athletic success.

The bottom line is your athlete puts in hours and hours of time to become a better softball player. But all the physical training in the world may not be enough because how she thinks is how she plays! Top coaches at all levels are looking for those elite players who are consistent peak performers to add to their rosters, and becoming a consistent peak performer takes mastery of both the physical side and mental side of the game.

Don't let the 21 Mental Performance Killers sabotage all the hard work your athlete puts into her game. Visit us at Winner's Edge Softball to learn more.

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