What happens when a solid team meets diversity or when softball gets tough? Its amazing. Either they will crumble or persevere to the end of the game. How can you make your team into the one that perseveres?
I was watching an amazing NCAA game between Michigan who was first in their division, and Illinois who was last. Illinois jumped up into a lead in the third inning and Michigan started falling like it was their first game. Routine plays turned into errors allowing Illinois to jump ahead by 5 runs after 5 innings. It was almost shocking to watch.
What Happens When the going Gets Tough
If your team has solid fundamental skills and, confidence in their abilities to execute those skills, the team will experience success. Teams that have met challenges before and have mastered mental training skills to deal with those challenges, will be able to maintain their composure and allow their body to do the work that their mind is trying to take them away from. Being determined to succeed rather than afraid to fail will keep players moving forward on every pitch.
Its when athletes are afraid when doubt enters the equation and errors follow. “OMG a team that we should beat is getting runs!!” Those thoughts can make a great team look like an average or inexperienced team as their muscles tense and their minds become intense. You can hear fans gasping and saying “wow they never make errors like that” You can almost see the team and their body language giving up sometimes as they either get angry or discouraged. The coach shakes his/her head and looks into the dirt a lot and the tone is set. Disappointment.
But what if the coach instead was to call a time out and just remind the team to draw on their proven skills to carry out the remainder of the game. What if the game was put in perspective and the coach reminded the team to focus on the process. This awesome game has so much potential to turn at any time and players need to remember that and play every pitch as if the game is tied. Nerves can make an awesome experience into one that you never want to relive ….
So. Encourage your team to let their skills do the work and calm your mind.