Every player will deal with all these emotions at one point or another in their career. How they learn to deal with these emotions is crucial for their performance. We must plan ahead.
Situation: Hitter steps to the plate with two strikes and the winning run on third. Pressure cooker, right?
Coaches and teammates: “Protect the plate!, Don’t be a looker!, Stay aggressive! We need you! Step up!”
Hitter’s mom and dad: “You got this!, Get your hacks!, Don’t get caught looking! You know how much I’ve spent on hitting lessons, you better get a hit or it will be the longest car ride of your life!”
Hitter’s inner voice: “Oh my God!! I’m going to let everyone down! Don’t screw up! Why Me???”
How do we win in this situation?
Remember these important things:
1. Thinking negative thoughts will lead to a negative outcome. Think positive, act positive, walk positive talk positive, and be positive!
2. Every time you face a challenging situation it is a chance to learn and improve. See the opportunity not the challenge.
3. When your heart is pounding and your breathing accelerates you are in a position to perform well. You have the choice of feeling threatened or powerful. You know what to choose!
4. Visualize success! Picture your swing being strong and aggressive! Imagine yourself hitting a line drive in the gap to win the game! Think, over and over again, of your successful performance in these situations.
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.