Does Your Athlete Trust Herself Enough?

As I talk about often self-confidence is what I call the Aladdin's lamp of fastpitch softball. In a game where adversity and disappointment far outweigh success your athlete needs to develop a thick sheet of Teflon around her to keep the adversity demons at bay. How she does that is by building rock solid self-confidence...which will make her invincible on the field.

Now self-confidence can be applied in many areas of the game of girls softball. One way is in your athlete trusting herself on the field. One of my players suffers from a lack of confidence in hitting (she, of course, is not alone), partially because she is a pitcher and as any parent of a pitcher knows the many hours that go into becoming a top pitcher leaves few hours, energy or $$ left for hitting.

However, I believe this player can become a very good hitter. But as I see all too often from younger players (12-16) is a hesitancy to swing the bat due to lack of self-confidence. I'm sure you have seen it...from taking first pitch strikes down the middle of the plate to taking the called third strike with the bases loaded this player doesn't really trust herself enough to succeed.

The bigger challenge is that repeated failures in big at bats or all at bats can lead to more of the same. A poor at bat acts as a reinforcement of what she already believes, that she is not a good hitter. But there is hope; even Major League hitters go through slumps whereby it always seems they are 0-2 in the count...taking fat pitches and swinging at bad pitches. Sure, sometimes mechanics plays a role but more often than not such a slump or failure to hit can be found in the player's lack of self-confidence.

When she isn't self-confident her self-talk will be negative, even in the batter's box where 100% present moment focus in necessary. She will likely experience a higher level of anxiety, causing sweaty palms (not great for gripping the bat!), an increased pulse rate, diminished ability to focus, diminished vision, reduced reaction time and coordination; and always a lower level of performance.

The question remains...why does she lack self-confidence?
  • Is she truly not talented enough to succeed at the level she is playing at? If so as her parent you need to make that assessment. 
  • Is she talented enough but simply does not believe she is (does she have a distorted self-image)? 
  • Does she feels pressure from the weight of parental expectations which causes every failure to be magnified?
  • Is she personally afraid of failure and of embarrassing herself in front of teammates, family and friends?
  • Does she lack the support and encouragement to properly frame her adversity as a learning experience?
For your athlete to fully trust herself on the field she must play unafraid.  The fact is that in fastpitch softball failure is an inescapable reality for EVERY player. Your athlete will stunt her growth as a player if she is unwilling to step outside of her comfort zone and trust herself to swing the bat, or try a new position, or learn and throw a new pitch.

Along this journey of softball mastery she needs your unconditional support and the knowledge that it's okay to fail. As NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky was quoted as saying, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Be sure your athlete trusts herself enough to take her shots!

Have your athlete visit us on Facebook to answer cool, daily softball questions and she how other players from around the country respond!

Skyrocket your athlete's game day confidence and performance with The Sports Confidence Blueprint program!

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