Friday, December 15th, 2017

Earning the right to fail

May 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Make Up, Mental Side

When the game gets tough, treat it like a video game.

When the game gets tough, treat it like a video game.

A student of mine had a rough pitching start the other day.  He lasted 1/3 of an inning before being pulled from the game.  Pitch long enough and it will happen to you too.  It certainly has happened to me.

For players at the high school level and above, outings like this can be devastating.  For many, it is the first time they have experienced such a poor performance.  It can shake a player’s foundation rather quickly.  However, there is a silver lining to these setbacks.

Kids today are used to playing video games.  Nintendo, Xbox, etc. have been a big part of youth culture in America for several years now.  When kids play video games they very quickly realize that each new level brings with it new hardships and difficulties.  They expect it.  They look forward to it!  They know that every time they clear a level, the game plays faster and gets more difficult in just about every way.  Sounds very much like baseball doesn’t it?  

The difference is that the attitude of the video game player usually is not “whoa is me” or “I stink.”  They recognize that the difficulty they face at that level is the reward for reaching that level.  In other words, they have earned the right to experience that difficulty.  They look at it as a challenge and a temporary setback until they learn what adjustments need to be made.  They usually make them. 

The typical video gamer can be a great role model for baseball players.  Instead of letting a short outing or a four strikeout performance at the plate destroy their confidence, baseball players can look at the setback as the reward for being fortunate to play the game at that level.  Most kids who start playing the game at the tee-ball or coach pitch level never get to play at the high school and college level and therefore never get the chance to experience the challenges players face at that level.

Baseball is structured to beat you up mentally.  Approaching baseball like a video game can go a very long way in guiding players through setbacks they will undoubtedly face in the game.

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