My 14u team is currently mired in a collective hitting slump. After starting the season red hot, hitting .365 as a team, we have struggled over the last three weeks hitting about .210. Our run production has gone from 5 runs per game down to 1.3 runs per game. It's no surprise that after a solid 9-4 start we're only 1-5-1 since.
It's one of softball's immutable laws...if you can't score you can't win!
It's also one of the immutable laws of the universe...13 years old athletes are inconsistent!
Now certainly hitting slumps, whether for a 13 year old softball player or 30 year old Major Leaguer, may well be rooted in physical and mechanical flaws. If your athlete is pulling her head, dropping her hands or swinging under every pitch she won't have much to show for it.
However, the more common root cause of hitting slumps lies between the ears. The mind is, in fact, so powerful that it can actually cause physical changes that make hitting a ball squarely nearly impossible. Therefore the mental plays a far bigger part in both causing and solving hitting slumps for individual players and entire teams.
So in solving your athlete and her team's hitting slump consider these 6 "mental dynamics":
Over thinking. Too much going on inside the head. Maybe coach and parent are yelling instructions while she's in the box. The mind must be entirely "zen like" focused on the task at hand to be successful as a hitter.
Can't do thinking. This looks like "expecting" failure...doom and gloom thinking. Negative thinking and fear of failure can actually cause anxiety than will cause reflexes to slow, eyesight to diminish and hitting mechanics to be altered.