What Mentally Tough Baseball Players Do #9

#9 Mentally tough baseball players embrace the big moment.

Mentally tough baseball players embrace the big moment.  They want the ball in their hands, to be at the plate, or the ball to be hit to them with the game on the line.  Late in the summer I contacted approximately twenty well-respected coaches in both high school and college baseball to get their thoughts on mental toughness.  Although I am still working on how to incorporate the great insights I got from those coaches into something bigger, embracing the big moment was what came up the most.  Coaches want players who are able to perform in "clutch" situations.

This is certainly relevant with playoff baseball now in full swing.  There have been some great games already, and some very high pressure situations have presented themselves.  Last night, while many of you were watching college football, I stuck with the Nationals/Giants game for all eighteen innings.  What stood out to me was a lot of HUGE swings and overaggressive approaches in the extra inning frames.  I had the thought sometime around the eleventh inning that the only way someone was going to score was to run into a ball and hit a bomb.  The lack of offensive execution could be credited to a number of factors.  First, you have to give credit to pitchers.  There was some good stuff being thrown every inning.  Second, however, would be a lot of guys trying to do a little too much.  Anytime we try to do a little too much, instead of letting what we are able to do happen, we run into problems.  Our swing gets a little long, we expand the zone too much, we leave fastballs up, etc.

Mentally tough baseball players embrace the big moment and perform.  In my opinion, they do this by doing the same thing they always do.  We often throw around the phrase, "Who's going to step up?" when adversity or a big situation presents itself.  I don't like it because for me it implies elevating your game and going outside of what you are capable of.  I prefer "step forward" instead because of the imagery it creates of a player stepping into a situation and being himself.  Stepping forward into this high tension, big moment as YOU gives yourself the best shot of succeeding.  Being a little more than you are implies that "you" isn't good enough the other 99% of the time.

If you are someone who seems to perform better in the big moment than normal, however, my question for you would be "Why do you think that is?"  My next question would be, "Well how can we get you to do that all of the time?  Imagine how good you could be then."

In closing, take a closer look these next couple of days at who embraces the big moment.  Take note of the demeanor of the players who perform and those who do not.  Tweet who stands out to you, or send me an email!

Side Note: How about the Royals?  I've loved watching them play, and I've loved the analysis of how they have decided to play the same way they have played all year long.  It's working out just fine for them so far!


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