Thursday, May 9

The 3 Secrets to Game Day Success




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As Memorial Day looms around the corner every softball player from coast to coast will start playing more meaningful games very soon...all leading up to State and National Championship tournaments.

As the games and the stakes get bigger will your athlete be ready to perform her best in the moments and games that matter most?

Will she stand out from the crowd...particularly in front of college scouts?

Here are three critical factors that will absolutely predict her success or failure during championship season:

1. Proper Preparation - I always tell my players that they can truly be as good as they want to be. If they are willing to do the work both physically and mentally the sky's the limit as to their performance level on game day. What are some of the ways your athlete can properly prepare to insure her success?

a. Recognize her strengths and weaknesses in her game and actively work on improving the weakest parts of her game. This may also include improving speed, strength and quickness. For pitchers this might include developing a better change or rise and working harder to achieve pinpoint location. On defense this may mean more work on the backhand or for catchers more practice on quick release throws to 2nd or 3rd.

Give her the gift of rock solid sports confidence today!

b. Have a mental game plan to properly prepare for each game, each at bat, each pitch on defense or in the circle. Softball is a game that demands all players make timely adjustments. By paying attention during the game any player can gain an edge that will enable her to more easily make adjustments (like recognizing the umpire's strike zone or the pitch sequence tendency of the opposing coach/team). if your athlete is a pitcher she MUST develop a consistent pre-game routine to insure her mental and physical readiness for the game.

c. Being properly prepared physically and mentally prior to stepping on the field builds a strong sense of self-confidence. If you know you've done the work and all you can do to prepare for battle it is far easier to play free of doubt and anxiety. Confidence is the critical foundation all elite athletes share. With it any success is possible on game day, while without it the game can be a nightmare roller coaster ride of disappointment.

2. Having an Expectancy for Success - With rock solid self-confidence comes an ironclad expectancy for success. Imagine this expectancy for success to be an armor against the inevitable stress and pressure of bigger games and pivotal moments within those games. Having an expectancy for success looks like an individual and team swagger that makes the game fun.

Alabama: 2012 National Champions...Expecting to Win!

Last season's NCAA Softball Championship series between Alabama and Oklahoma was a phenomenal example of two teams and 45 players breathing the expectancy for success. I guarantee you each batter on both teams couldn't wait to hit, and this against the likes of Keilani Ricketts and Jackie Traina...two of the nastiest pitchers around!

In a game built on speed where each player has so little time to make a decision there is a razor fine line between expecting success and expecting failure. Cultivating the expectancy for success takes some time, but it will ultimately mean the difference between success and failure on the biggest softball stages!

3. Rebounding from Adversity - In a game where failure is more common than success a young player's ability to bounce back from the inevitable kicks in the stomach the game will surely administer is critical. Proper preparation and having the expectancy for success and foundation of rock solid self-confidence are essential elements, but to be able to consistently rebound from mistakes and game day failure requires a far different mindset. Here are a few tips to help your athlete more quickly bounce back from a tough game or play:

a. Understand that failure and mistakes are part of the game and no one who ever played the game has been immune to game day adversity. In other words even the great players have gone through tough games!

b. See mistakes as an opportunity to grow and get better. Although it sounds weird mistakes allow each player, if framed properly between the ears, to see which part of their game needs work. I tell my girls that the game will always give them a report card that tells them exactly where they need to get better.

c. Focus on the process and not the results. Softball mastery takes years and years. No matter how old your athlete is and what level she plays at she will still need to climb the ladder of mastery for many more years to come. In the interim if her focus is on getting better and not worrying (and judging herself) solely on her results (this means you too parents and coaches!) your athlete will be able to bounce back from mistakes and poor at bats far quicker. Her confidence will more likely stay in tact and her "slumps" will be shorter.

As championship season approaches if your athlete can focus on these the "secrets" her game day performance will soar and her joy for playing and competing in the biggest games will be something she looks forward to rather than dreads.

Like I said earlier...your athlete can be as good as she wants to be. It just requires having a good game plan and sticking to it!

What better way to prepare your athlete and team for championship season than a total immersion in two of my most powerful performance boosting programs...The Game Changer and The Sports Confidence Blueprint...now both 45% OFF!




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