Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Mental Battle: Get Out of Your Own Way

By Patrick Cohn /

Your mindset can be an asset or a determent to your performance. If you doubt yourself, lose composure after mistakes or over analyze your performance, your mindset can hurt your performance. You can be your own worst enemy. In these situations, it’s hard to bounce back with confidence and composure during the game.

Many baseball players struggle with these mental game challenges. Cleveland pitcher, Justin Masterson is aware of the mental battle with himself. Masterson helped the Indians beat the Red Sox 11-0 last Wednesday night.

“You get a little excited, but once you get on the field, it is game time. Half the time, the battle for me is with myself,” Masterson said.

Half of the battle is fighting with your own mind. Many ball players sabotage their performance; they can’t get out of their own way. They set high expectations for their performance. If you expect to perform perfectly or not make any mistakes you are setting yourself up for failure. When you don’t achieve those expectations, you become frustrated with your performance.

You can also sabotage yourself by adopting negative self-labels. Negative self-labels are confidence-busting names you use to describe yourself. You might tell yourself you’re a streaky hitter, for example.

Even though you may engage in self-sabotage, you can improve your mindset. First, let go of any expectations you have for your performance. Instead, focus on what you need to do in the moment to execute, such as seeing the ball well. Next, change your negative self-labels into positive ones. Instead of calling yourself a streaky hitter, tell yourself you’re a consistent hitter.

If you feel like you’re losing the mental battle, stay patient–you can improve your mental game with practice. Take time to become aware of your mental shortcomings and work to improve your mindset. A strong mental game can only benefit your performance.

No comments: