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 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.
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!
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 five critical "causal factors" of low self-confidence I have discovered in the athletes I work with: