Dec 22, 2011 8:18 AM
It's no secret that a self-confident player performs better on the softball field. In general a self-confident person is far more effective performing any activity. For a young person, however, the task of building rock solid self-confidence can be a challenge and a frustration, particularly when it comes to fastpitch softball.
Softball is a game built on failure and adversity where self-confidence is like the chicken and the egg analogy; what comes first self-confidence or success? Certainly once an athlete possesses a solid foundation of self-confidence while playing the game consistent success is more likely to follow. However, without a track record of success self-confidence can be extremely difficult to attain.
As a coach and softball parent it is most frustrating to see self-confidence come and go in young athletes like a mirage in the desert. In this game success can be fleeting in the face of the inevitable kicks in the stomach the game is guaranteed to administer to your athlete.
So how can your athlete develop and maintain a high level of self-confidence that will act like a shield against the game's adversity and allow her to become a consistent peak performer?
1. Change Her Beliefs: What does she believe about herself and softball? Her beliefs will determine her level of success. Does she believe she is a good hitter or not? Does she believe others are better and more worthy of success than she is? Does she believe she's not fast enough, or strong enough, or quick enough to succeed? If a pitcher does she believe she doesn't throw hard enough to succeed? These limiting beliefs will rear their ugly head after adversity and failure hit, reinforcing her distorted beliefs and leading to more failure.
2. Change Her Perceptions: How does she perceive the game and her results? Is she effort driven or results driven? Does she judge her performance harshly? Does she expect to be perfect? Does she spiral downward emotionally after one mistake? Distorted perceptions of performance will kill future performance. If she recognizes that adversity is part of the game and can frame every mistake as a learning opportunity to get better she will free herself from self-judgment and begin the process of greater building self-confidence.
3. Change Her Thoughts: Her thoughts are a direct result of her beliefs. She has over 50,000 unique thoughts each and every day. Does she tell herself she can or she can't? Distorted thinking can lead to fear, anxiety, frustration, anger and sadness. Self-confident thoughts are empowering and energizing while un-confident thoughts are destructive and energy draining. Building rock solid self-confidence happens one day at a time like building a brick wall. If she can re-align her beliefs and begin engaging in "can do" thinking her self-confidence will slowly but surely grow strong.