My mission is to inspire softball players to DREAM bigger, WORK harder, and SMILE more often. I look to not only help to improve their physical softball skills, but also show them the importance of confidence on AND off the field. Through my website you will find information on all things softball—motivation, inspiration, blogs, quotes, videos, tips, preparation, etc. Feel free to leave questions/comments, I’ll get back to them as soon as I can!
I pitched, hit and played first base in college, but I have a SPECIAL place in my heart for pitchers. While much of my motivation and many of my blogs can translate to any position on the field, most of what I write now is directed toward the leader in the circle with the ball in her hand.
I undertand, to the greatest extent, that pitching can take a toll on you and at times make you feel like you’ll never be good enough, you’ll never figure it out or like there’s no way you’ll make it through.
Everybody needs someone or something to lift them up on certain days. This game of softball is a game of failure trying to pull us down at every chance. So what I wanted to do was pul some of my favorite quotes from the 60+ blogs I have written on my website. Even the most talented softball players will have days where they want to give up. Remember, even though there will be down days, the awesome days are just around the corner waiting for you. Be confident. Try to grow every day physically or mentally, or better yet, both. When the failure gets the best of you, it wins Believe in yourself and keep a positive frame of mind…
“This game is about the long run. LIFE is about the long run. Pick successes that can build your confidence over time and stay in the process. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, but you can’t see the light if you fall into the trap of all the failures trying to pull you down.”
“Take it one pitch at a time. Take it one day at at time.”
“The majority of players have to learn to be confident, just like players have to learn to throw a ball. It’s a process and it gets stronger the more it’s practiced. Even if you have to fake it to practice it, fake it until it becomes real. You WILL start to believe it.”
“ANYONE can be on a team, but NOT just anyone can be a loyal leader who people look to and who rises above all the negativity and drama.”
“The true definition of confidence has nothing to do with other people who surround us and statistics on a sheet of paper. The only place that confidence comes is from inside YOU. Yes, you. Our confidence belongs to us, no one else.”
“Every morning we wake up we have a choice at how we are going to believe in ourselves. Too easily we forget, especially when we are in the middle of a whirlwind of a season, that every day we wake up is a new day, and you have a choice every morning if and how you are going to believe in yourself. You own that belief. No one else does.”
“When you take the field or look at yourself in the mirror, YOU must be the one to believe that YOU are meant to do great things. YOU get to show everyone what you are made of and your love for the game.”
“Realize this: We aren’t going to be perfect with our outcomes/results, in this game of failure we call softball. However, every time you are in a pressure situation it’s a chance to prove that you’re in the “perfect” frame of mind. The “success” and “failure” comes from being in the right frame of mind and giving yourself a chance to have success when the big moment comes; it doesn’t always necessarily come with the outcome, despite what all eyes watching might think. Results will come once the frame of mind has been altered.”
“The only way you won’t “make it” is if you don’t have passion for something and don’t work hard enough at it – with all my heart I believe that. When you have passion for where ever your heart wants to take you, it drives you, it gives you direction and it gives you momentum. Let your passion push you to your dreams. Your passion is the driving force behind your energy and motivation.”
“Passion creates work ethic. Work ethic creates possibilities. Possibilities creates happiness.”
I get asked about confidence…A LOT. Mainly because confidence (no matter what your softball mechanics look like) is a HUGE key to an individual’s success on the field and in life. I might not know you, and I might not know your daughter, but what I know for absolute certain is that if she feels fully confident and happy, she will flourish and feel like she can achieve anything she puts her mind to.
Instead of thinking of confidence like it’s a big mystery, it’s important to keep it simple and know going into it that confidence will fluctuate (just like our bank accounts). It’s vital to realize what is taking away from our confidence (just like what is it that we are spending our money on) and also what is replenishing our confidence (just like adding money to our account).
Everyone knows what it’s like to look at your bank account and see deposits and withdrawals of money. Most people have a certain idea of where they want their checking account to maintain at. Maybe some people want $5,000 in there, maybe some people want $10,000. The amount of money each individual person wants to know is in there is different; the amount of confidence each person needs to feel is different, as well. Confidence is so subjective, but there is a way to make it more objective in each of our eyes…
Okay, imagine your confidence is like balancing a checkbook.
Your confidence has its own Checking Account. There are things in life that will withdraw your confidence, and there are things that will deposit into your confidence. The items or situations that will deposit and withdraw confidence are different for every single person (in life and in sports). No two people are going to be exactly the same.
We each have different types of Confidence Accounts. For example, maybe you have a Pitching Confidence Checking Account, a Hitting Confidence Checking Account, a Fielding Confidence Checking Account. Then, of course you have a “joint account” that is your Softball Confidence Checking Account.
Let’s say you start at $1,000 in your joint Softball Confidence Checking Account, and $1,000 is where you know you perform your best. Maybe you are on a team where your coaches constantly yell at you, your parents don’t show you enough support and you also gave up 3 homers the last tournament and struck out 5 times. All of those things are major things that withdraw from your Confidence Checking Account. The closer we get to $0, the less confidence we will have. (Just like a real checking account, imagine being close to $0 and the amount of anxiety and negativity one might feel). If you’re close to $0 in your real checking account, you are going to find ways to make money to get that account back up. The exact same thing should happen with our Confidence Checking Account, although I feel a lot of young girls don’t know how to get off of Empty.
So what is depositing into your Confidence Account? How is your “tank” getting filled back up? Most importantly, do you know what can fill up your Confidence Account? It’s easier to find the things that are withdrawing from our confidence than the things that are adding to it. Every person, every player, will have a breaking point. The situations that lead to that breaking point and the amount of time it takes to get there will differ for every person. There are SO many things that can go into it – did you just recently move? Did your best friend on your team leave? Have you practiced as much as you think you should? Are you making big mechanical adjustments? Is your family supportive?
There will be times where your Confidence Account is overflowing, and there will be times where it’s almost empty. It’s only normal. However, the biggest question is if you know what it takes to get it back to where it needs to be. Are you able to recognize the situations that give YOU more confidence? Do you know what to do to get back to your confident place? Are willing to put yourself in situations and surround yourself with great people to help get you back where you know you are best and happiest?
I encourage you to monitor your Confidence Checking Account just like you monitor your bank account. Sometimes things are taking out of our Confidence Checking Account that we don’t actually know are taking away from it. (Think of if someone steals your account information and goes on a shopping spree, and all of a sudden you look at your account and it’s lower by $2000) The same can happen with our confidence.
Also, remember the more accounts you have to manage, the more difficult it may be to keep them all balanced and give them the attention they each individually deserve. A pitcher who hits and plays short stop has MANY different accounts. The more accounts you have, the more time you have to invest to making sure they are all fully loaded and being refilled. It is also important to make sure that one account is not effecting the other account (i.e. a pitcher taking her emotions to bat with her).
Try to find the ways to keep your Confidence Checking Account loaded! Oh, and also, every now and again, put some into savings….you may need it at a later date…!
Does being surrounded by players who share your values about confidence and being in the right mental state help you as an athlete?
Being surrounded by players that share these values absolutely helps improve your mental state. Players can push each other on the physical side of the game, but can also push each other on the mental side. Players should be surrounded by other players who are reinforcing that feel good, play good mentality. Try to get your teammates to hop on board with those same values. Confidence is contagious. Be someone that your teammates can look to, who plays the game confidently and with a strong presence.
Be a teammate who makes your other teammates better and stronger. By playing the game with confidence and with a strong mind, you make others around you play the game better, as well. Not only will you feel better and stronger off the field, but you will see positive results on the field — having more fun, winning more games, relaxing while you play.
These values not only affect you on the playing field, but off the playing field. The confidence and the mental state you are learning on the softball field greatly affects you in every day life at school and at home. To be completely honest, it doesn’t just have to do with players who share the same values, but with coaches who share similar values and are reinforcing a positive mindset and helping players to feel their most confident.
Uncontrollable: Who is on your team; Other players attitudes; Other players work ethic;
Controllable: Being a good teammate; being a good leader; leading by example; not talking about people behind their back; putting the team first; being loyal
“I don’t get along with some of my teammates.”
“Most of my teammates have a really bad attitude.”
“My teammates don’t care as much I do.”
Well, you’re stuck with them! So you can either figure out a way to handle different situations that are presented, or you can opt out to quit. In high school, you don’t really have a choice of who you get to play with, what their attitude is like, how they treat people like and what their work ethic is like. When you get a job, you don’t really get to have much of a choice either. You can never change people, but you can always have a voice and try to lead by example in your own actions. When speaking up in a team meeting or to a teammate, have good intentions with where you are coming from with your statements. It’s always about the team, not always about you. Trying to prove yourself as “right” usually does not work in conversations with a teammate. Leading, reminding of a vision, reminding of the mission of the team works better than pointing fingers.
If you have a teammate who doesn’t have a good attitude, and you think it’s affecting the team, it’s completely acceptable to pull that player off to the side and let her know how you feel.
I recommend doing this before you go days upon days talking to your other teammates about the girl who has a bad attitude. Then it festers. Then it just makes the other teammates turn on her. It grows to become a cancer. Say something to her before you talk to all of you teammates constantly about it. It’s HER job to take it the correct way, so long as you are telling her in an appropriate manner.
Sometimes, before even going directly to the player, you can try to have team meetings. This works best without your coach even TELLING the team they need to get together. Be a leader and pull together the team before your coach recognizes that the team needs to meet together to talk some thing out.
If you are truly a leader on the team and want the best for the team, you are ok with standing up for what you believe in and what is truly going to benefit the team the best.
Remember, you don’t have to want to hang out with every player on your team OFF the field and be best friends. But ON the field, it’s your duty to find a way to get along with each other and take care of each other. From the outside looking in, nobody should be able to tell that you are NOT best friends. Supporting someone on the field does not mean you have to go to the movies with that person on the weekend. It’s a very mature thing to do to be able to separate the two. The same can be said in an opposite situation: your best friend plays on the team, but she is showing a bad attitude and not trying hard. It says a lot about you as a leader if you are able to tell your good friend that how she is acting is not helping the team, it is only hurting the team. You all have the same mission: winning together. And THAT should be what is remembered when it comes time to compete on the field and at practice
TEAM comes first
How can you find a way to communicate with someone
On the field, get along and fight for each other; off the field you don’t have to be best friends
Think about what you say before you say it or repeat what someone told you.
Work as hard as YOU possibly can.
I’ll say it again, no matter what, TEAM COMES FIRST
There is only so much you can say and so much you can lead by example when you notice it’s just not working, but that doesn’t mean it has to pull YOU down. When someone has a bad attitude around you, if you’ve already tried saying something, it’s best to ignore it. The strength of the team has to move forward to try to drown that person out. Don’t give that person energy. Don’t give that person time. If they’re not going to change, they’re not going to change. There will always be those “inbetweeners” on a team. Do you know who I’m talking about? Those are the players who could go either way – they can pull more toward the strong leaders or they can gravitate more toward the cancers. It’s your job as leaders to try to get them on YOUR side. They become the difference makers on the team. Empower them to feel the difference of what it’s like to be more on the positive side than the negative side.
Don’t get caught up in team drama!!!! Don’t do it! I know it’s temping, and it’s there (a lot). If you hear someone talking about another person, say you don’t want to hear about it. Maybe even tell them not to talk about that in front of you. Maybe you can tell them that if they have a problem with that person, they need to go talk to that person directly.
It’s not “cool” to be the teammate who talks about other teammates behind their back once you leave the field. I PROMISE.
What is your character like? What do you want it to be? It speaks volumes about you, not just as a player, but as a person, for the drama to end with you. It’s ok to be that girl who other teammates know they can’t talk about other teammates in front of! Be a loyal teammate. A loyal teammate does not talk about other teammates behind their back. For 4 ways to learn how to be a loyal teammate, click here.
Learning to communicate is one of the biggest things we can learn in this world.
Communication is SO VITAL in life and with your teammates. Learning to talk to someone in the right tone, and have a conversation, not a fight, is important in terms of respecting each other. Learn to say what you want to say with words without yelling.
Just because you are yelling doesn’t mean that someone is listening or understanding you that much better.
Set expectations and standards of how your team plays. Control your own attitude and your own work ethic. If you’ve tried to have a one on one talk and a team talk, and it’s just not working, don’t let it effect YOU. When talking in a team setting, it’s ok to say stuff out loud that you believe in and you know that’s right. At the end of the day, remember that every action is either hurting or helping the mission of the TEAM. I don’t know about you, but I like to win. Team chemistry and trust are huge parts of winning. Set a good example, treat your teammates the right way and do all that YOU can to help the mission of the team.
Last Thursday I had a chance to FaceTime and talk on the phone with a team from Trussville, AL, CLEAtS ‘02. These girls were SO sweet. Prior to our conversation, I told them to think of 5-6 questions they wanted to ask me. They all asked great questions. One of the questions was, “What was the biggest lesson I learned from playing college softball?” I had to think about this one for a few seconds. The first thing that came to my mind that I wanted to share with her was the concept of loyalty. I asked the young girl who asked the question, “Do you know what loyalty is?” And she replied back, “Yes.”
I told her the biggest thing I learned from college was how to be a loyal teammate and a loyal friend.
I told her it was very important to me to be a leader on my team and someone that my teammates and friends could go to. They could tell me things they were feeling, confide in me, and they could feel that whatever they told me was safe with me. I told her how important it was to be someone that her teammates could rely on and trust in. If you don’t have trust on a team, you don’t have anything. This is a quality that I still value very much in my every day life.
I don’t know if it’s the Taurus in me or something I learned from my parents or previous coaches, but if you know me, you know I am loyal. I hold that quality very dear to my heart, and I think that it’s a quality that can dictate a lot of decisions that we make in our lives on and off the field.
I disliked drama from a young age. I didn’t and don’t like the feeling of being in the middle of things. To me, it’s negative energy. I don’t like to have negative energy surrounding my life, I feel like it pulls me down and it weighs on me. I remember middle school not being very fun years of my life. I wasn’t the most popular or prettiest and I didn’t have the most friends. Middle school is hard! I learned what it was like to have people be DISloyal to me, and I hated the way it made me feel…so that made a lasting impression on me. I never wanted someone to have to feel that same feeling because of something that I did them.
I like the feeling of smiling and laughing 1000 times more than I like the feeling of talking about someone behind their back.
Along the way I have learned…
If someone confides in you, guard their secret.
It’s your duty as a friend that if someone chose you to tell something you, then they trust you. It is your job you to care so much about that person that that secret stays with you. If a teammate confides in you, that means they see you as a leader. It’s important as a leader to understand the types of things you and your teammates can handle on your own, and the types of things that are the big issues that the coach should get involved with. To understand what to go to an adult about, think about if you feel like your friend, team or the mission of your team could be severely hurt because of what was told to you. (Important note: If there is a secret that a friend or teammate tells you that could be harmful to that person, it is important to tell an adult.)
If someone is talking about someone else to you, don’t endorse it or repeat it.
The one thing about being on ANY team is that there WILL be teammates who talk about other teammates. So when that time comes, tell them you don’t want to hear it. Sometimes you may even have good friends who talks about other teammates, and it may be hard for you to tell them you don’t want to hear it or get involved, but if they don’t respect your decision for not wanting to hear it or talk about it, and they don’t really understand why, then that’s their problem. Whether you have the courage to stand up to your teammate to tell them not to talk about drama around you or not, don’t repeat what you hear. Don’t feed into the drama and into the gossip. Have the gossip stop with you. It might even get to a point where people stop gossiping to you…trust me, you want that! Stay far away from drama and the people who attract drama. Remember, when you repeat that gossip to someone else, even if you aren’t saying that they are YOUR feelings, you are endorsing whatever is coming out of your mouth to someone else, thus making it what YOU are thinking and feeling.
Always remember your own values.
To know your values, you must understand yourself and be comfortable with your own thoughts and feelings that you feel in your heart about the type of person you want to be. Close your eyes and think to the future. What do you want to be like? Think about what kind of friend you want to be known as and what kind of teammate you want to be viewed as. What do you see? If people who don’t understand those values, you’re better off without them. You will find those people who have the same values as you – those will be your forever friends. Sometimes, there might be only 1 or 2 of those friends and other people may have more friends than you. But who cares! I bet you will have way more fun with those 1 or 2 friends who hold the same values as you. Remember, you are never alone.
Have your teammates back, respect each other.
Your teammates should feel like you have their back and they have yours. This does not mean you have to be best friends off the field and do everything together outside of the field. That’s not what I’m saying. Sometimes you might not even agree with everything your teammate does outside of the field, and you can’t control that. What you can control is how you respect each other on the field with everything else put aside.
When it comes game time, and you and your teammates go into that dugout, they should feel undoubtedly that you have their back. True competitors and athletes leave everything but their sport outside of the field. Once you step onto that field, it’s go-time, and you compete together for the same goal. Because believe me, when you are out on the field with the lights on in the middle of the big game and you look to the person to your right or left on the field or in the dugout, you want to think, “I got you” – and not just think it, but MEAN it.
ANYONE can be on a team, but NOT just anyone can be a loyal leader who people look to and who rises above all the negativity and drama.
Through all of this, remember to be loyal and remember the mission of your team. Every team has a mission, no matter what sport. That mission is to win championships. (any championship: tournament championship, league championship, conference championship, district, etc). Do you REALLY want to win? If you are a true competitor and have visions of being great, all of your decisions you make should be based off the mission of the team; any other decision could be considered selfish and detrimental to the mission of what the team is trying to accomplish.
Remind your teammates the mission of the team when things get tough. Remember that mission is bigger than one person. Drama brings attention to the one person who is starting it. The mission of a team is bigger than drama, gossip or bullying. It’s never about just one person, it’s about the team. If everyone feels like they are on that mission together, united and loyal to each other, that is when that team will win championships. It all starts with being loyal. Be loyal in your every day life and to your teammates wearing the same uniform to accomplish big things on and off the field.
I recently was introduced to the book Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence by Davis Casstevens, and I absolutely feel in love with it. It has great stories, very motivational and inspiring, right up my alley in so many different ways. In one of the chapters, Riding the Pines, Casstevens writes about an article he himself had read about being your own boss, thus leading him to come up with the idea for an athlete to “inc” himself/herself (ex. AmandaScarboroughInc) and the idea that your “company” (ie YOU) are a stock. Everything you do increases or decreases your value to the public. The “public,” in my eyes, can either be considered your current team OR the “public” can be a college recruiting you. OR, if you are a player already committed, the “public” is your current college you committed to, as they are wanting to see your stock continue to increase in value before you actually set foot on their campus.
Even if you are not the star player of your team, you are still a commodity to your team. However, being a commodity is not just handed to you, you have to make yourself a commodity by earning it. Every day you have to work on getting your “stock” to climb…this could apply to every day starters, players who are injured or players who are not in the everyday starting lineup. Ask yourself the question every day when you are playing or practicing, what are you doing to get YOUR stock to climb? Having a bad attitude would decrease your value, not giving your best every single second at practice also would decrease the value of YOUR stock. Those of you who are not in the starting rotation have to remember, you are ONE PLAY away from being a starter. At any second the person in front of you could get injured, and then it could be your time to shine. It would be YOUR opportunity and YOUR chance to make the very most of it. Don’t you want to be the one prepared for that opportunity?
Your coaches are a reference…
If a company (ie college coach) is going to ask about acquiring your company (ie you as a player), what are your coaches going to say about you? Are they going to say you have a good attitude, works hard, coachable, and a real team player? Or are they going to say the complete opposite? Your coaches’ opinions do actually hold weight and college coaches take that into their opinion when thinking of whether to buy your stock (recruit) you or not.
Along the same lines of this is social media with Facebook and Twitter. Before you put something up for the world to see, ask yourself, if my coach saw this, would this increase or decrease my value as a stock? Before putting your entire life and every personal move on twitter, be careful and think twice when it comes to language, relationships, friendships or any kind of social scene. Ask yourself, “is this tweet or status going to increase or decrease my value?” Twitter and Facebook should not be used to show that you are an emotional rollercoaster. A college coach is looking for someone who is positive, steady, and a leader. And remember, at any second, a college coach can get online, and go and check out these social media outlets.
On the field, every inning think about if your stock is decreasing or increasing in value. This is not necessarily simply performance based, but think of other things that help raise your “stock” like being a leader and helping out your younger or new teammates . Are you going to be the teammate who watches as someone sturuggles to learn the system or to learn a drill? Or are you going to be the teammate who goes over and helps them work through things, thus increasing YOUR value and your TEAMMATE’S value? If you are the “boss” of a company, you aren’t just worried about yourself, you’re worried about the employees who work for you, too.
If you are injured, because let’s face it, injuries are GOING to happen, but consider it a perfect time for you as player to start thinking about situations, pitch calling, trying to pick up grips of opposing pitchers, trying to pick up the opposing team’s signals, making sure your teammates are in the right spot on defense, helping to keep your team’s energy up. There are SO MANY things you can be doing during the games and at practice. If you are a player who is injured, and you are not doing anything to help your team on a consistent basis, your stock value is dropping. You can do nothing or use the time you are injured wisely, the choice is yours. Observe. Visualize. Go through situations mentally, so once you get into the game and get back out there, it’s like you’re picking up right from where you left off. You possibly could be a bit behind physically wise from not being able to practice, but mentally pick up right from where you left off because you still visualized yourself being out there in any situation, and your mind is still as strong as it was when you were healthy.
In Mind Gym, Casstevens talks about “can-do” planning. This is when a player makes a list of things you can do when you’re “riding the pines,” whether you are injured or just not in the start lineup. The list is made up of things you can still be doing to help contribute to your team, and I listed a few things above such as studying your opponent by trying to pick signals (defensive and offensive), trying to pick pitches by seeing if the pitcher tips any pitches, cheering your teammates on, or exercising in the weight room. Write these things down and see all the different ways you can still contribute to your team and to yourself.
One thing in the game of softball we NEVER can control is the lineup, and who is in the starting 9. One thing we ALWAYS can control is our attitude and how we accept that lineup. Everyone wants to be playing, without a doubt. Have the attitude though, that you are continuing to learn and at any moment you could be called upon to action. You can control that aspect of the game, always. Be so ready in the dugout, that if someone gets hurt who plays in front of you or you get a chance to pinch run or pinch hit, that you are ready for that opportunity. Make it be as if that opportunity doesn’t come as a surprise to you during the game, because mentally you are ready, and it’s as if you were already in the starting 9. When you get that opportunity to go into the game, you’ve got to be able to make the most of it, and take it and run with it. THOSE are things you can control. Remember you can never never, (as a parent or a player) control the lineup of a coach. Casstevens quotes the serenity prayer in Mind Gym,
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
A simple quote that many players and player’s parents can really learn from and keep in their back pocket to remember. This is a helpful motto not just in our game of softball, but in life in general.
Teach your kids life lessons….
From a perspective of being a coach, I see parents all too many times who are not necessarily helping with this idea of their players being all they can be and “increasing their value” even if they are not in the every day lineup. They actually KEEP the player from increasing their value because of what is being said in the car ride home from games or in between games, or wherever the conversation may be taking place.
Let me say, that I totally understand that some players and families are not going to be happy, and there will be players who switch teams. It happens. It’s a part of our game, and I do think it is important to be in an environment and in a situation where everyone can be happy, as it’s a two way street with the team and also the player. A player will THRIVE in a positive situation, as it’s important to find a place where your daughter can feel the most beautiful (ie. happy) when she is playing. However it’s how you handle it before the move that decreases or increases the “value” of your daughter as a player and the lessons you are teaching her with such an important change. Even if you are not happy with your situation, it should NOT be shown in the stands or on the field. There is a time and a place for everything, and if you want your daughter’s “stock” to be at the highest value for the “trade,” then it is important to handle it in an appropriate manner. Even if you KNOW you are switching teams at the end of the year, or whenever it may be, still enable your player to get better every single game and practice no matter the situation. There is always learning to be done in any situation. Switch teams when the time may come for that change, but up until that last second, encourage your daughter to continue to increase her stock.
Teach young players that it’s NOT just about the players who are in the starting 9, that there are lessons to be learned that are outside of softball and bigger than the game of softball. Kids are so observant and are always learning and picking up things. Even if you are not happy with your team and situation, it is not an out to not work hard and not continue to invest in yourself. Teach your young players that even when there is a tough situation, you work through it until the time comes for the actual change Don’t teach them that when a tough situation comes up, it’s okay for them to “check out” of practice and games by having a poor attitude towards their teammates and coaches and not working hard. Commit to being your very best, at all times, even when no one is watching. Player’s stock value is dropping or increasing due to the lessons that parents and coaches are teaching them by their actions, especially by what parents are saying to them outside of the actual field.
Important for all of us to remember as players and as coaches that:
What lessons are you allowing your players to learn along the journey? A lot of times we get caught up on the outcomes (wins and losses), but really when we look back, it’s not all about championship rings and innings played and batting averages. I don’t remember those things as much as the lessons I learned from my parents and coaches, the way that those people made me FEEL and the great mentors I met along the way who have made me the person I am today. We get caught up in the moment and forget about the longrun. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. We all learn from mistakes and from failing, much more than we learn from when we don’t fail. Allow your players to fail, this allows them to learn. The failing is part of the journey. “Failing” could be striking out. “Failing” could be making an error. “Failing” could be not being in the starting lineup. Once you define a fail, more importantly, define how you are going to learn from it.
EVERYTHING is a process in life, and your goal is that that your “stock” is TRENDING upward. This means you’re going to have moments of downs, we all do. But when you look back, you hope to see that if your playing career or life was a graph, you would see the trend increasing over an amount of time.
My “company” was surrounded by mentors who helped increase my “stock” every day, and I was not faced with the social networking animals of Twitter or Facebook (until I got to college). Whether you’re injured, not an every day starter, or you’re in the starting 9, engage in can-do planning and recognize the things you CAN change vs the things you CANNOT change and see the difference. Every day, commit to increasing your value, as a player and as a person, whether it’s on or off the field. Remember that there are bigger goals ahead for you, and the actions that you have now are going to effect what happens to you later.
TEACH FEMALE ATHLETES HOW TO BRAND, TEACH’EM, TEACH’EM HOW TO BRAND!!
What exactly is a brand? Simply put: a brand is an IDENTITY. It is a set of associations we make with products or services and what differentiates particular products and services from competitors. In sports, we have popular apparel brands like Nike and Under Armour, league brands like the NFL and NASCAR, team brands like the Yankees and Manchester United, and athlete brands like LeBron and Tiger.
Wait, are athletes brands? Similar to the associations we make with products and services, a personal brand is the set of associations we make with a particular person. Athletes with strong brands can benefit from lucrative endorsement deals during and after their careers. Even after their careers end, well-branded athletes can transfer their brand power to entrepreneurial endeavors, appearances, or other business aspects. Want to be like Mike still?? He’s over 10 years removed from his playing days and his Jordan brand is stronger than ever. Well-branded athletes not only earn more, but they have the ability to influence larger masses and opportunities to transfer their brand power beyond the playing field.
So what about the not-as-well-branded or not-as-well known personas in sport? Are they still brands? Tom Peters says: YESSS! Peters is the author of the article titled “A Brand Called YOU” where he claims we are all brands. In fact, we are all CEOs and brand marketers…of our own brand. The way you dress, style your hair, the friends you associate with, the books you read, the food you eat, the car you drive, the content you post on social media. All of this makes up YOUR BRAND. As brands, we each have our own unique name, reputation, credibility, and image. We all have our own brand personalities, or the human element of your brand. We all have different qualities…..
CONFIDENCE: a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something.
Definitions are reminders to us of the real meaning of a word – not the meaning that others have applied to it, or meanings that have formed in our head over time from up and down experience. The thing that sticks out to me about this definition of confidence is that it only has 1 pronoun in it, “you.” The true definition of confidence has nothing to do with other people who surround us or statistics on a sheet of paper. The only place that confidence comes is from inside YOU. Yes, you. Our confidence belongs to us, no one else. Every morning we wake up we have a choice at how we are going to believe in ourselves. Too easily we forget, especially when we are in the middle of a whirlwind of a season, that every day we wake up is a new day, and you have a choice every morning if and how you are going to believe in yourself. You own that belief. No one else does.
In my opinion, a “belief” is stronger than a “feeling.” It’s one thing to feel like you are confident (a feeling can vary from day to day, can be short term), but it’s another thing to believe you are confident (a belief can control your inner thoughts for the rest of your life, can be long term). It’s important to not let those down feelings that we get on some days in our life to snowball into a belief that we are no longer worthy or no longer confident in ourselves. A feeling can just be a feeling – a single act, a one time thing. A belief runs deeper.
A belief runs down through your inner core that no matter what has happened in a game earlier that day or yesterday, that you know deep down, without listening to what anybody else has to say, that you are meant to do great things. Because you are. We all are.
In sports, we are never ever in a million years going to be perfect. Let me repeat, we are never going to be perfect. In fact, we are all perfectly imperfect. And in a game of failure like the game of softball, it’s going to challenge us to our max to dig deep in our own thoughts and mind, and believe that there is a confident athlete on the inside, at all times no matter what.
Remember, don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself. Unrealistic expectations get in the way of our belief. It’s unrealistic that you’re going to go 4 for 4 every game or throw a 7-inning shutout every time you take the field. If we make this an expectation, then we can only let ourselves down, because we won’t ever be perfect. On top of that, we usually judge the outcome when we don’t meet the expectations we have set. The important thing to remember is not to judge the result. When we judge, we feel like we are letting ourselves down and others down, and then we stay down feeling like we failed. It creates negativity in our mind to where we might not be as productive the next time. Instead of judging, recognize instead what you did wrong – don’t attach a feeling or an emotion to the outcome. By recognizing what you did wrong, you can still keep the belief of confidence inside of you, and have a high chance of making adjustments. This is something that must be practiced and become routine.
Play bigger than a feeling. Play with a belief that others might not be able to understand.
When you step out onto the field or into the batter’s box, you can’t go out there hoping that you don’t mess up and being scared to make a mistake. If you think this way, you’ll play tight and you might get lucky throughout the game, but the game won’t come as easy and won’t be as fun. Realize you are thinking this way. Don’t judge it. Just notice it, and change your thoughts. Understand when you think this way, that not only do you give yourself the impression that you’re scared, you give others the impression that you are scared (coaches, parents, fans, opposing team). That helps give others the upperhand.
I remember taking the field and trying to have the mindset, “I get to show the other team and the fans how good I am.” This wasn’t to put pressure on myself and it surely wasn’t to be cocky (if you know me, you know I am far from it). It was because I loved to play this game, and I believed in my preparation and how FUN the game can be when you really let your negative thoughts go, and you play like you really believe in yourself. “I can’t wait to show them how much I’ve worked on my pitch selection.” ” I get to show that other team how much my change up has improved since last season.”
The thing that I chose to believe in was my preparation and hard work, more than any negative outcome that tried to take that belief from me.
Unfortunately in this world, others put their unrealistic expectations on us, watching us, thinking we are supposed to play perfect. Other people around us may second-guess our physical talent or second-guess decisions that we make. A lot of times, it’s parents questioning playing time or coaching decisions. Go back to the definition of confidence. It didn’t say “they” or “he” or “she.” The only thing it said was “you.” Because if YOU believe, then “they”, “he” and “she” don’t have any choice other than to believe in you, too.
Remember, it comes from a belief, not just a feeling.
It doesn’t matter what others think – it matters what you think and the belief that you truly feel deep down about your own self and your own abilities every day you wake up. That belief can feel quite liberating and can be used as a shield towards what anyone else has to say.
I know it can be hard to push what others say away. At the end of the day, remember that other people’s opinions are never greater than the belief that you have in yourself. But here’s the thing: YOU must believe you are worthy to be out there and believe in your preparation. Believe it deep down. Don’t let others take away from your own belief – your beliefs are some of the strongest things you own on any given day.
When you take the field or look at yourself in the mirror, YOU must be the one to believe that YOU are meant to do great things. YOU get to show everyone what you are made of and your love for the game.
“To live is rarest thing in the world – most people just exist.” To truly believe is to live. When you let others or outcomes dictate your confidence, you are just existing. Every day, when you wake up, make a commitment you are going to believe in yourself unconditionally, and you get to show the world (including yourself) that you are meant to do great things.