Oct 7, 2011 9:15 PM
As a fastpitch softball game coach I fully recognize the enormous value of physical training. Softball is a tough sport to master with a seemingly infinite number of variables that require a ton of physical repetitions to become proficient at; whether hitting, on defense, base running or in the circle.
However as a mental skills coach I also recognize that without similar time and energy focused on understanding then mastering the mental side of the game no athlete will ever truly reach her full potential...it simply is not possible.
As I cover in my new book, How She Thinks is How She Plays, at a certain level of competition you will find that most of the players are physically sound and know how to play the game. By 15 or 16 most players at the elite travel level have mastered the physical side of softball. After playing the game for ten plus years these players have had enough physical training to allow them to play the game well, even very well.
However, at this stage of a player's career (and sometimes a year or two younger) many of them peak; meaning their game doesn't get any better. In short these players have advanced as far as they can with physical training alone. So where do they go next?
At this stage of a fastpitch softball player's career the only place she can turn to is mental skills training. So often I see elite "physical" players who are not yet elite "mental" players. These are the athletes who can't seem to play at a consistently high level from week to week or from game to game. These are the athletes who tend to choke in the big game or big at bat. These are the players who the recruiters look at and say "wow" one day and "whoa" the next!
The bottom line for your athlete...physical training alone is simply not enough to insure that she will become the very best she can be; the consistent peak performer that top coaches want on their team. To focus solely on the physical and ignore the mental is a game of Russian Roulette you really don't want to play with your athlete's future.
To reiterate I am 110% on board with as much physical training as it takes for your athlete to master the physical side of the game. Drills, batting practice, pitching lessons, speed, agility or conditioning training I absolutely support. Why? Because she needs it!
Unfortunately focusing on physical training alone is like painting a portrait in black and white; the true colors of your daughter's potential will only come out on the canvas if she also focuses on her mental training.
As a game coach and mental skills coach I often connect competence with confidence. I believe the two are intertwined in a sort of cause and effect type relationship. I believe that confidence breed competence. I also believe that competence breeds confidence. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? You can't have one without the other.
Well I believe the same concept is true with both physical training and mental training...your athlete needs them both to be optimally confident and competent. And the great thing about mastering both the physical and mental is that your athlete will quickly become a far more consistent performer who actually loves playing the game. Her confidence and competence will soar and recruiters will be lined up at your door!
To Learn more about how your athlete can move beyond physical training to become the very best she can be with a personalized mental skills game plan check us out at Winner's Edge Softball.
Boost your athlete's game day confidence fast with the Sports Confidence Blueprint program!
For more mental performance info and tips visit me at: John Michael Kelly Sports.