Friday, October 19

Success By Design: 5 Surefire Predictors of Her Success!

Even though I've been in the game of fastpitch for awhile I am not clairvoyant and don't claim to have a crystal ball. However, when it comes to predicting the absolute level of game day success a softball player will have I'm pretty confident I could do so blindfolded!

Yes...if I have just a handful of facts and a brief conversation with your athlete, without ever watching her play, I could tell you how good a player she is and will become with pinpoint accuracy.

How can I do that? Let me explain my magic.

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As in life softball success is predictable based on a number of key factors, the most important of which is the Law of Cause and Effect; that every action empirically causes a specific and measurable reaction. Author Tony Robbins describes the process like this:

". . . the most powerful way to shape our lives is to get ourselves to take action.  The difference in the results that people produce comes down to what they’ve done differently from others in the same situations.  Different actions produce different results.  Why?  Because any action is a set cause in motion, and its effect builds on past effects to move us in a definite direction.  Every direction leads to an ultimate destination: our destiny."

Yes, I too had to read that passage a couple of times to really understand what Robbins was trying to say. After I figured it out it seems perfectly applicable to any athlete's sports "destiny."

One's destiny, in essence, is always shaped by choice; a choice of effort, a choice of attitude, a choice of preparation; a choice of purpose. And, thus, these different choices become the primal cause that shapes the ultimate levels of success and performance one athlete achieves versus another athlete.

Show me an elite athlete all the college coaches are drooling over and more often than not that athlete became elite as a result of the decisions, the actions, and the choices she has made for years.

As I often say, success simply is not an accident. An athlete succeeds by design. And a well designed and well executed plan will, as Robbins says, set in motion causes which will produce predictable effects, or results.

Here is an even more startling fact about athletic performance; right decisions, actions and choices made over time will absolutely accelerate any athlete's success because these actions become cumulative in nature. They truly build upon one another and, in fact, become habits that are the true predictors of consistent game day success.

And, perhaps, the biggest "cause and effect" benefit to your athlete approaching her success by design is that her self-confidence will skyrocket over time as she sees her decisions, actions and choices pay off on the field.

Here are five surefire "predictors" of your athlete's level of softball success:

  1. Does she have clearly defined goals? In other words, why does she play the game? If she can develop and be motivated by the "why" she plays, keeping the end goal(s) in mind, she will have the right foundation and focus to accelerate her success.
  2. How bad does she want success? This is the most powerful "cause" there is in predicting any athlete's success. It defines the intensity of purpose and effort an athlete is willing to expend to achieve her goals. In other words, what is she willing to do to succeed? Is she driven to be good or be great?
  3. How well does she prepare? Greatness is built by the sum total of small efforts repeated daily. Is your athlete willing to work on her strength, her quickness, her hitting, pitching or fielding...her mental game for just 30 minutes each day to become the best player she can be? This is the "cumulative cause and effect" I talked about earlier. Is she doing ALL she can to get better, to master a difficult game....does she take massive action?
  4. Does she enjoy the game? Ultimately for your athlete to reach her fullest softball potential she must enjoy the game enough to put in the consistent time and effort to achieve greatness. Remember what Tony Robbins said: "The difference in the results that people produce comes down to what they’ve done differently from others in the same situations."  For your athlete to stand out from the crowd she needs to have passion and joy for the game...a  pep in her step that others notice.
  5. Does she expect success? Here is the mental ignition that can absolutely propel or limit your athlete's game day success level. Having the expectancy for success allows an athlete to bounce back from mistakes or bad games because she knows that she has done all the right things with her decisions, actions and choices and, thus, deserves success. 
In the final analysis you don't need to be a fortune teller to predict your athlete's game day success level. It is the sum total of her actions that will define her greatness or lack thereof. It's simply the Law of Cause and Effect in action.

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Wednesday, October 3

The Confidence Battle in Softball

As I have written many times before the game of fastpitch softball is a tough one to master. It is full of cliffs, ledges and pits to fall off or fall in every game.

I have come to the conclusion after 11 years and over 1,000 games of coaching that the absence of a high and consistent level of self-confidence is the single biggest cause of poor game performance for every athlete.

For most younger players maintaining confidence on the field is an ongoing battle. At times the confidence is low as a hitter but high as a fielder (or pitcher). Other times the hitting confidence is soaring while fielding (or pitching) confidence goes in the tank.

Boost her sports confidence and her game day  performance level. Free audio lessons!

The bottom line is that self-confidence can be fleeting at best for most younger athletes. It's the roller coaster ride that drives players, parents and coaches nuts!

But like everything else in sports and in life there is a clearly definable cause that dictates confidence levels in a younger athlete. And more often than not player, parent and coach rarely focus on what that cause is and how to change it. You see if you change the cause you can change the effect...meaning low or inconsistent levels of self-confidence on the field can be changed more easily than you may think!

girls softball game
 To change a player's confidence level requires pinpointing exactly what factors are causing the problem. Invariably it gets down to an athlete's thinking; particularly at the "point of attack" as a hitter, fielder, pitcher or base runner.

Change the thinking and you change the results.

Here are but a few "causal factors" of low self-confidence I have discovered in the athletes I work with:
 1. Past experiences. Looking at past failures as a predictor of future performance. This is very dangerous for a young athlete to engage in this type of thinking because it will limit performance potential and create a self-fulfilling prophesy for future failure and further self-confidence erosion.     

2. Expectations for perfection. In a game where no one is perfect a young athlete can easily get down on herself after a poor at bat or error in the field. Negative self talk can ensue after a mistake puncturing self-confidence quickly and swiftly.
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3. Being results only focused. Every young athlete needs time to learn the game. Mastery does not happen overnight in such a difficult game. Focusing their thinking only on game results (hits, errors, walks) can lead a younger athlete down the wrong path. Once she can become "effort" or "process" focused she can start seeing her mistakes as part of the process of getting better and as a challenge to take back into practice. Self-confidence can flourish with this kind of thinking.


4. Excessive external expectations. Parents and coaches can often make or break a younger athlete's self-confidence. All kids seek to please their parents and mentors and, thus, seek approval for their performance. Criticism is the quickest way to damage self-confidence. Far too often parents and coaches expect too much from someone so young and inexperienced. Once an athlete is allowed to blossom in the sport over time, often needing to take a step back before taking two steps forward, her confidence and game performance will soar. Unconditional support, not perpetual criticism is the answer to increased self-confidence. 


5. Poor focus or concentration levels during the game. In softball laser focus is essential to success. When a younger athlete gets distracted from the task at hand game performance must suffer. If a player is worried about failing, nervous about letting parents, coaches or teammates down her performance will drop. Over-thinking at critical moments can cause doubt and hesitation, leading to failure. A confident athlete trusts in her ability and decision making and reacts while an un-confident athlete lacks trust in her ability to succeed and waits before reacting...usually losing the play on defense or failing at the plate.
Self-confidence will always be a battle for a younger athlete, but a battle she can win once the cause of low confidence can be identified and eliminated.

Remember, a younger athlete needs time to develop critical game skills. As a parent or coach your unconditional support and patience during the process of mastery will allow your athlete to build self-confidence in all areas of their game and reach their true softball potential on game day!
**Check out my new Sports Confidence Blueprint Program to drive your athlete's sports confidence and softball performance through the roof!



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