A big part of being human is that we are all unique individuals with unique thoughts and emotions 24/7. Because we are not robots we are all prone to having off days, days when we just don't bring our "A" game to work, to school or to the ball field.
My 14u travel team played our first games of the fall season this past weekend and our hitters were predictably rusty after a two month layoff from seeing live "game" pitching. As per usual many of them were frustrated with their results. However I considered those games to be spring training for the girls and, like early spring training at the Major League level, the pitchers had the advantage.
How She Thinks is How She Plays the secret to your athlete's success is her ability to bounce back from adversity, or results that fall short of her expectations. In a game filled with so many variables that are outside of any player's control fastpitch softball will get your athlete some days. On those days when she's not bringing her "A" game, for whatever reason, it's vitally important that she be able to frame it as such: "The game got me today, but tomorrow I'll get the game." These kinds of days can be considered investment days as they provide for greater learning opportunities.
I made a point to remind my players of that last Saturday, to recognize that they had not seen game pitching in a while and to be patient with themselves as they got they swings back to normal over the next few weeks. I think it took a little of the pressure off them and I even saw a few smiles.
The worst thing possible on the days your athlete does not bring her "A" game is for her to get down on herself and judge herself as being a poor hitter or poor player. Certainly she should always be learning as to what to work on to get better, but to judge herself on a snapshot of her overall performance is both unhealthy and unfair.
On the days we don't bring our "A" game we can be filled with frustration and disappointment, but that's just part of the human condition; we ALL have those kinds of days. Hopefully they are few and far between. Well the same is true for your athlete. There will be game days after she's getting over a cold, or after a tough week at school, after a poor night's sleep, or after a full moon...when she doesn't have the energy, focus or results you both would like. However, allow her to be human too and just chalk it up as one of those days when she just didn't bring her "A" game. Tomorrow will be a new day when all things are possible!
After several technical roadblocks John's book How She Thinks is How She Plays and The Game Changer Program should both be available for purchase by tomorrow, October 4.
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