Confidence. Just say that word in your head. What does it mean to you? For me it means believing that I am able to perform up to my expectations toward the task at hand. Now for baseball, confidence is as valuable as gold….no forget gold. It’s as valuable as a diamond because in the beginning, for a lot of players, our confidence is about as shiny as black coal. It takes a lot of refinement for the coal to turn into diamonds. The other reason I have compared confidence with diamonds is well diamonds are a girls best friend, and its true, chicks dig the long ball.
So where does this confidence come from. I’m sure you have been told that confidence comes from success, but havent you also heard success comes from confidence? So which is it? It’s both, and neither at the same time. The best way to have confidence is simple. Create it.
If I put 100,000 dollars on the table and said, I will give you this money if you can make yourself shed a tear, do you think you could? Of course you could!!!! So why would the emotion of confidence be any different. One of the biggest misconceptions about sports and competition is that, we can’t choose how and what to feel. The truth is you can! By understanding that the images in your head have a direct connection to the emotions you feel. Picture yourself being successful, you’ll feel good. Imagine yourself booting a ground ball. You’ll feel bad. It’s actually a pretty simple process.
Remember, every thought you have ever had, every feeling you have ever felt was a choice, whether a conscious or unconscious one.
I bet you my bottom dollar that if you could see what was going on inside of Derek Jeter’s head you would see images of him succeeding not failing. There is no reason why you can’t do the same.
So how can one develop the ability to choose to become confident consistently? Practice.
Like batting practice, or fielding ground balls, you need enough repetitions.
Get in a comfortable environment, and sit in a comfortable spot. I recommend not laying down. You want your mind and senses sharp.
First, I would like you to go into the past and think of three separate instances where you succeeded in baseball. Hitting a game winning home run, striking out the side, or simply moving the guy over from second or a simple line drive to the opposite field. It can be anything as long it was success related. Now go through these three separate events one at a time. Picture the uniform you were playing in. Was it a day game or night game? Were there scouts in the stands, so on and so on. Now you have used your sense of sight to replay this event. Bring in your other senses. Was it cool or hot outside? Did the air smell clean? Bring in all of your senses until you are truly reliving the successful experience. See?!! Your brain doesnt know the difference from what it sees in its mind and what it sees in the physical world. You have basically convinced yourself that you have succeeded yet again. This will take some practice, but with time you will feel and see great improvement.
Hank Aaron attributed much of his success to visualization. He found a way to put himself in the vibration of success by seeing it happen in his mind. He was a success before the game even started!
The second exercise, I would like you to perform is take three instances where you failed. A time when you struck out in the bottom of the 9th, booted a ground ball, or walked in the tying run. Now as you go through this experience of failing, change the picture. Visualize yourself actually succeeding in this same situation. What would you have done differently? Imagine how good it feels to finally have done this the way you wanted it to happen. Use all of your senses again. This is one of the best ways of creating a new confident future for yourself, by simply re-creating your past by changing it from teaching you to fear failing again to reminding you that you have already succeeded because you have seen and experienced it in your mind!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay, the last exercise. Take all the images you have collected in the previous two exercises and project them into the future. Imagine nothing but success in your future and it will come. These three exercises should take no longer than 20 minutes.
Sitting down and using your mind may not sound like the most exciting thing to do but think about this. Baseball is 90% mental. Is mastering the mental game worth enough to do some mental exercises everyday for you? Remember, part of baseball is failure; there is no way to control this, but what we can control is our reaction to it. By staying committed to doing whatever it takes to be a confident player, enough successes will come that the failure will be easier to except and can be used for positive motivation.