RT Staff Note: Baseballmentalgame.com is a great resource. I encourage all players that are struggling with confidence to buy or download his videos and books.
By Patrick Cohn
Doubt is the number one killer of your baseball confidence. You might think, “Can I get a hit off this pitcher?” or “Don’t walk this batter!” Your doubts cause you to lose confidence, question your ability and get down on yourself. Without confidence and a strong mental game, you crumble under pressure, play tentatively and under-perform in games.
Doubt isn’t the only challenge for baseball players though. Many players have fragile self-confidence. When you have fragile self-confidence, your confidence varies widely based on what’s happening during a game. When you get a hit, your confidence goes up. On the other hand, when you make a mistake, your confidence drops. We call this the confidence rollercoaster. Your confidence changes from moment to moment depending on your immediate performance.
Monday night’s game with the L.A. Dodgers and Houston Astros is a prime example of how self-confidence can benefit your game. Dodgers’ pitcher, John Ely, in his fourth career start, gave up one run and five hits striking out eight batters. Ely contributed to the 6-2 Dodgers win over the Astros.
“I’m just out here doing what I have always done. I just have complete confidence in what I bring to the table and the fact that if I execute my pitches the way I want to, I feel like I have the advantage. That is the way you have to feel every time out. If you doubt yourself, you’re going to give up hits,” said Ely.
Every time you go to the field, you want to have confidence in your game. Your confidence must not waver because of your opponent or the quality of your practice that week. A stable level of confidence is developed over years of practice and training.
Use your practice, training and preparation to develop the foundation of your confidence. After mistakes, you’ll want to remind yourself of why you deserve to feel confident. Is it your work ethic, your improved curve ball or your ability to come back after mistakes? Remember your strengths to help you feel confident.
“Ely’s going to make you hit it; he’s going to make them do the work. He changes speeds so well, I think that’s really the biggest reason why he’s had the success early on. He’s not afraid to throw the fastball any time. And behind in the count, he’s not afraid to take a little off,” said Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre.
Your mental game of baseball tip is to base your confidence over years of practice and play. Don’t wait until something good happens in the first inning to feel confident. Likewise, don’t allow a single mistake to shake your confidence. Rely on what you can control, such as your practice and preparation to keep your confidence when things don’t go according to plan.