As humans, we are all programmed to want to do our best at the things we are passionate about. This extends to extracurricular activities such as music, art, and sports, such as baseball! When it comes to motivating ourselves, we usually learn tricks to talk ourselves into moving past our fears and accomplishing the tasks at hand. However, as parents, there is a fine line between pushing your baseball players too hard, and simply encouraging them to do their best.
How to Move from Hurting to Helping
Little League recently published a post about this topic, and we’ve included our favorite pieces from it below:
“One of the most unique things about the game of baseball and softball is that it is a game of failure. The best players, the ones headed to Cooperstown, are only successful in 3 out of 10 at bats. During those at bats, they might see 7 to 10 pitches without making solid contact. Baseball and softball are sports of constant failure, with moments of proper execution leading to success. It is difficult for professional players to deal with this low percentage of successful swings, so imagine what it can feel like for our kids.”
“There is no way around it; Little Leaguers® are going to struggle and fail, experience both frustration and stress, and hopefully plenty of elation, too. As such, one of the most important things coaches and parents can do is help our young players learn how to deal with stress, anxiety, and even fear. So how can we help them reduce their fear, and diminish their stress, so they can perform their best?”
“We can increase our performance by expanding our potential (through hours of practice, eating well, sleeping well, all the things we can see) and by stripping away all the things that interfere with that potential, most of which lies between their ears. Our players can learn to remove self-doubt, fear, concentration lapses, and other thoughts and beliefs that can limit their potential.”
“Coaches and parents can be huge contributors to stress and anxiety unless we are intentional about stripping it away. The way we communicate and interact with our young players, and the way we teach them to frame pressure situations is critical to how they will perform in the short term, and oftentimes whether they continue with baseball over the long haul.”
Shifting from Threat to Challenge
Learn more about stress responses and how to shift from a threat to a challenge in your baseballer’s life in the full article here.