What Mentally Tough Baseball Players Do #7

#7 Mentally tough baseball players approach every game the same way.

Mentally tough baseball players approach every game the same way.  It does not matter who the opponent is, the conditions of the game, or whether the game is at the beginning or end of the year.  Nothing like that matters because mentally tough players trust their preparation and ability.

Mentally tough players approach every game the same way because the game doesn't change.  All of the pressure of playing certain opponents or playoffs is completely fabricated by outside influences.  It's nothing more than a fugazi unless you allow it to become reality.  If you disagree and say that pressure is undoubtedly real, these players at the very least have the ability to accept pressure for what it is and not allow it to consume them.  This might be what stands out to me the most when I watch a big league game.  These guys are playing in front of tens of thousands of fans and for their livelihood, but they are unbelievably relaxed.  They trust their preparation and have perspective with playing what is ultimately a game no matter how we important we make it at times.  The game is the same regardless of the circumstances it's played under.  This may sound cliche, but the pitcher still is charged with throwing the ball across the plate and the hitter with hitting.  Mentally tough players understand this and are able to perform at their best level, whatever level that may be, regardless of circumstance.

Another way mentally tough baseball players are challenged to approach every game the same way is to not allow the opponent to dictate how they play.  It doesn't matter if they're playing the New York Yankees or the Sisters of the Poor (a favorite of my college coach).  Mentally tough players prepare and play with a consistent approach that leads to consistent results.  There are no let downs for mentally tough players.

Coaches can have a huge influence in how well or poorly players are able to keep a consistent approach to games.  I had an epiphany last season in our high school baseball playoffs.  We were about to get eliminated.  It was the end to what was a very challenging year, and I realized the way I approached the playoffs was contradictory to everything I had come to believe as a coach and aspiring mental coach.  One of our major themes as a team and as hitters was being prepared and trusting the preparation.  We wanted to put in the work and be purposeful hitters on a daily basis so that our at-bats at the end of the year were the same as our at-bats at the beginning of the year.  For whatever reason though, I gave into the hype of getting scouting reports for high school baseball games.  Although it's fun to talk to other coaches, the scouting reports completely changed the way we had done things all year.  Rather than trusting what we saw a pitcher doing, we were a little too overly reliant on a piece of paper based on someone who had seen a pitcher throw once or twice.  Regardless of the quality of the report, it said that we needed to change what had made us successful as an offensive team all year.  It sent the wrong message to our hitters about our preparation and everything we had worked so hard to build throughout the year. Needless to say, we had been eliminated and did not swing the bats the way we were capable of.  I'm convinced that a change in preparation created this feeling that the game was somehow different and contributed to our early exit.  This year I will challenge myself to trust the preparation and ability of the players on the team.

Know of a player who comes to mind as being really good at approaching every game the same way?  Let me know!  Tweet or email me your stories and examples.


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