Staying Positive On The Baseball Field Is Tough
Baseball Brains got its' name by paying a lot of attention to the often overlooked mental world of baseball. You don't have to be a psychologist to understand the mental game, and you also don't have to dwell on it every moment you're on the field. Staying positive on the baseball field is hard and requires a lot of practice just like the other skills of the game.
We don't want to confuse hard with complicated. Staying positive on the field is actually easier most the time when things are simpler. If our process of staying positive was a 14 point checklist on how to breathe and how to use positive self talk, our process might be more flustering than the actual game.
So keep it simple on the field. Routines are a great way to stay positive and to stay present on the field, as long as they're easy to do and effective at calming and re-focusing the player. For example, a couple deep breaths is sometimes all that is needed after a player makes an error to help him relax.
Deep breaths loosen the muscles and get the blood flowing to the extremities which will make them work better. Shallow and nervous breathing makes a baseball player tighten up, not a good way to be if we're trying to put mistakes behind us.
What If It's All Falling Apart?
One of the toughest parts of the brain game on the diamond is trying to stay positive when something isn't going right. Sometimes, even when things are going right, a baseball player's perception might have them convinced that it's all falling apart.
For example, a batter crushes a line drive that's caught. He did everything right and hit a hard line drive. The result however, was an out which can seem like a negative. Through it all, confidence is king and we must make ourselves the most positive baseball player that we can.
Here's a tip on being a positive baseball player:
Don't focus on results, focus on process.
In the example above, that batter should be very happy with his at bat. He got a good pitch to hit, put the barrel on the ball, and got unlucky. A hard line drive helps your team even though it might not seem like it.
It diminishes the confidence of the pitcher, puts a little fright into the defense, and gives your fellow hitters the confidence that they too can hit a ball hard off this guy. Enjoy the process of getting better and making small adjustments...that's what baseball is all about.
We all know that even the best hitters will only get a hit 30 or 40% of the time, so we can't worry about each at bat's result. Same goes for a pitcher. Just because we throw a strike doesn't mean we did everything right, the same way a ball doesn't necessarily mean we failed.
Staying Positive In Baseball Means Focusing On The Right Things
Focus on the process and the fundamentals of your game.
Improvement comes slowly, but it comes steadily if you stay consistent.
If we're going to stay positive on the field and always be ready to make a great impact, we must accept the fact that some mistakes will happen along the way. We wrote another article about having a long term approach to baseball, and it applies here as well. There will be bumps and bruises, but there's absolutely no reason to let those bumps ruin your long term development in baseball.
How many times have you seen somebody strike out at the plate, then go into the field sulking and pouting, and then make a mistake in the field because their head was in the wrong place? We see it all the time, and it's no way to play baseball. Everybody will strike out now and then, big deal. Great players put that behind them and go make great plays in the field. They stay positive and they help their team win the game, even if it's been a tough one for them personally.
Working Hard At Baseball Will Make You More Positive
Everybody can work hard, and working hard makes us feel good. When you do make a mistake or something happens that isn't quite what you wanted, you can fall back on your hard work to regain your confidence. In any form of competition the feeling that you deserve to be there will make you much more positive and much more confident.
There is no better way to feel like you belong than to work your butt off and earn it. Staying positive on the baseball field starts right there, focusing on how you earn it day in and day out over the course of your career.
Take pride in your process and it'll be easier to stay positive on the field, whether the results are good or not.
Follow us on Twitter for updates and free advice!