Dear Warrior - You Have the Power
When a coach, parent, or another player asks you what you want to improve on, what is your response? Is it something like, “I want to increase the movement on my pitches” or “I want to cut down my home to first time?” It doesn’t matter in what sport this question is asked, the answer to it almost always has to do with developing something physically. While the physical part of the game is definitely important, the mental aspect is what sets great athletes apart from average athletes.
My junior year of high school, I felt as though I’d reached a point where I was at the peak of my physical game. It was my second year as the starting varsity pitcher, my movement was great, and I had increased my velocity. That year our season had a sour ending. Once it was over, I decided to do some reflecting. I knew I did everything I possibly could to help my team physically, but for some reason, I still felt like I could have been better.
That offseason I decided to focus on something other than just my pitching workouts. One day when I was really struggling and felt like I couldn’t throw a strike to save my life, my dad told me, “remember that 90% of this game is mental and not every day is going to be your day.” He had said this phrase to me countless times before, but I feel like that day was the first time I ever truly understood the meaning and importance of it.
Through my journey, I have found that there are three key areas to developing a strong mental game. The first is to control your emotions. Another way I describe controlling your emotions is to develop a poker face. Things could be going poorly or they could be going well, but no one should ever be able to tell which one it is by simply looking at your face. If your opponent can tell that you are shaken, you are already giving them an advantage. You can take control by remaining calm and collected in every situation.
Another key aspect of being a mentally strong player is developing confidence. In order to grow and better yourself as a player, you have to believe in yourself. Fill your mind with positive thoughts and encouragement and know that you can do anything you set your mind to.
The final aspect of developing a strong mental game is to focus on the present. That means you have to have a short-term memory when it comes to mistakes. Don’t dwell on mistakes, whether it was you or a teammate who made one. It’s a part of the game and they’re going to happen. You can’t change the past, but you can choose to learn and grow from your mistakes to better yourself for the future. Focusing on the present also means taking it pitch by pitch. Give your full attention to every moment of the game.
If you learn to control your emotions, develop confidence, and focus on the present, then you will be unstoppable. I cannot wait to watch your success unfold for you.
Enjoy every moment,
Kennedi Claycomb is finishing up her senior year at Waverly High School and is from Eagle, Nebraska. She will be attending Buena Vista University in the fall to continue her softball career and study biochemistry and minor in Spanish. She loves spending time with friends and family, playing tennis, and trying new things.
"You can’t change the past, but you can choose to learn and grow from your mistakes to better yourself for the future."