Unfortunately we didn't play nearly as well as I had hoped the first day of the tournament. The confidence and precision that was so evident in the field and in the cage a mere 18 hours before vanished once my girls crossed the white lines. I turned to my assistant coach and wondered what happened between Friday night and Saturday morning?
I came to the conclusion that the challenges many of the girls faced were, predictably, between their ears. I knew they could make the plays. I knew they could crush the ball...they just didn't.
For any young athlete the pathway to consistent success can be a difficult one for sure. In mastering a game as difficult as fastpitch softball there are sure to be plenty of bumps along the way. But, I believe, there is a formula, a secret path, to insure that your athlete will achieve consistent success on the field.
So here it is: (S = P + E + A + F + A - J). If your athlete can successfully understand, then implement this formula her on the field success will have no boundaries!
Preparation + Effort + Attitude + Focus + Adjustments - Judgment = Success
Preparation - John Wooden said, "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." Preparation is an ongoing process, both physical and mental, that takes time. How much time does your athlete put into her preparation? Success is the result of massive preparation.
Effort - Like preparation effort is a choice. If your athlete is adequately prepared her self-confidence level should allow her to exert maximize effort. The first thing a coach or scout sees when evaluating a player is effort. The question she needs to always ask herself is "can I do more?"
Attitude - Exceptional preparation and effort create a dynamic attitude that can propel your athlete through adversity and onto consistent peak performance. A great attitude is also contagious and can turn a good team into a great team!
Focus - With preparation, effort and attitude comes the desire for success. A willingness to cultivate laser focus and concentrate on the task at hand is essential to the achievement of sustainable success. Mental focus is also a choice that ultimately separates the good plays from the poor ones and the good players from the great players.
Adjustments - The game requires that every player make adjustments in order to be successful. Whether as a hitter, pitcher, fielder or base runner making the necessary adjustments is a conscious choice that requires attention to details. "ABL" - always be learning; it makes the adjustments that much easier to identify and make.
Judgment - This is the one component that needs to be subtracted from your athlete's formula for success. Excessive self-judgment can erase much of the benefits created by the other components found in the success formula. Expecting perfection or not seeing mistakes as a learning opportunity can spiral your athlete's game downward in a hurry. In the absence of judgment self-confidence soars and so too will her performance.
Although the single biggest factor towards success is self-confidence I did not include it in the secret formula for success because I believe that self-confidence is a by product of exceptional preparation, superior effort, a great attitude, laser focus and making adjustments. A self-confident athlete is a relaxed athlete; able to perform at a peak level with little anxiety or fear.
This formula may look simple but it will require a lot of work for every element of the formula to become habit for your athlete. But the rewards will be well worth the effort I can assure you. If your athlete can truly embrace this formula she will remain head and shoulders above the competition and soar to the top of the recruiting list (provided she also masters the physical side of the game).
Check out John Kelly's new ebook, Think It and Hit It: 12 Critical Mental Strategies to Improve Hitting. Just $3.97!
The 2012 season is here (or will be soon). Give your athlete the gift that will make 2012 her best season ever...The Game Changer Program: A Mental Skills Blueprint to Make Her the Best She Can Be. Read more here!
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