The Comeback Win

My team just finished winning our second straight tournament last weekend, this time in dramatic fashion...erasing 4-1, 6-4 and 7-6 deficits to win 8-7 in our second tie breaker inning.

What was more interesting to me was how my team responded in this game, having not yielded a single run in our seven previous games.

The drama of a comeback win is hard to beat in sports and there was certainly an air of high excitement in our comeback victory to be sure!

However, it was the "how" that propelled the win that I'd like to focus on in this post.

I have recently come to believe, as a game coach and sports performance expert, that a team's energy plays a huge part in their Game Day performance level. In fact I would say that a team's energy level is, perhaps, the single biggest predictor of their success on Game Day. Let me explain:

Team sports are unique (unlike tennis or golf) in that the dynamic is a group one involving many people. This "group dynamic" can either propel or hinder performance. It is the collective energy within a dugout or on the field that often ends up being the deciding factor between victory and defeat...particularly in a close game.

Negative or "can't do" energy can infect a team and doom it to failure. This is the team that never has a comeback win.

Positive or "can do" energy will uplift a team to perform at higher levels than it probably should. This team is never out of a game.

But it goes deeper than this.

A team's energy is the result of a team "mindset" of how they approach the game. Because we know that fastpitch softball is a game built on adversity, how a team responds to the inevitable mistakes that it makes will define their collective energy and the way they play.

Early mistakes, coupled with a critical coach, can spiral a team's energy and performance downward; particularly if they focus on game results only and are not armed with enough individual and team mental toughness. In other words...a solid game plan to deal with adversity.

On the other hand a team with a healthy view of the game, with their focus placed on the process and effort and not solely the results, has a much better chance of bouncing back from mistakes and adversity during a game. This leads to more focused and inspired play, which leads to increased energy levels in the dugout and on the field. For this team comebacks are the rule rather than the exception.

This comeback thinking works in every sport at every level. Comebacks are never spontaneous, but rather the result of some mysterious cause...a shift in momentum. I firmly believe it is an attitude...which is always a player's choice.

As a coach I feel it is my responsibility to set the tone, or lay the mental foundation for my 14u team to follow. Ultimately it is their energy, their choice that activates the comeback. I try to take the pressure off of them by getting them to focus on their effort, their attitude, their energy from the first pitch.

Give them the belief that anything is possible if they keep up their effort and energy! This leads to a vocal, energetic group that believes in themselves. Remember...never give up!

So in the end the "comeback win" may be more predictable and less random than previously thought. Of course the best way to avoid the pressure of the comeback win is to stay in front!

Good luck to all in whatever regional or national tournament your athlete plays in over the next month.

Be sure to check out my brand new free video training series on Building Rock Solid Self-Confidence. Just click here: