Mental Training for Softball
As a softball player, you need to have a strong mindset. That's why it's important for you to be making use of mental training.
There are many setbacks and challenges you will face as a softball player, making it incredibly important for you to have the mental toughness you need to bounce back from failure and perform with full confidence.
But even more than that, when you build a stronger mindset, you will actually be able to perform your skills better and you will have more success on the field.
So, in this article, you will learn how you can make use of mental training as a softball player.
Benefits of Mental Training for Softball
Softball can be hard on your mental game if you don't have strong mental skills and high levels of mental toughness.
But when you do have a strong mindset, all of a sudden your mental game turns into something that helps you on the softball field.
Here are the main benefits of training your mind as a softball player...
- Increased Confidence
- Improved Focus
- Perform Better Under Pressure
- The Ability to Bounce Back from Failure
- Improved Motivation
- More Positive Self-Talk
- Stronger Self-Image
- Increased Mental Toughness
- Better Mental Health
The way these benefits are gained is by actively training your mind.
One way you can begin strengthening your mindset is working with a mental coach. We'll get more into that later. The other way is by using mental training on your own.
If you want to begin applying mental training to your game, there are specific tools and techniques you can use.
Mental Training Tools for Softball Players
To use mental training and for it to have as much of an impact as it can on your game, you want to do so in a consistent way.
To help, I always tell the athletes I work with to see mental training just like you do physical training.
You go to the batting cage consistently. You throw and take ground balls consistently. So, you want to also use mental training consistently. That's where it has the greatest impact on your game.
Mental Training Tool #1: Self-Talk
The first mental training tool you can use as a softball player is self-talk. This refers to the way you think and how you speak to yourself.
When you use self-talk as a tool, it's a way for you to control what you're thinking during practices and games, and to help you feel more confident and focused to perform.
The reason self-talk helps you is because the way you think leads to how you feel. And what you think and how you talk creates pictures and ideas in your mind.
You want to make sure the words you are using are leading to you feeling confident and creating positive ideas of what you want to have happen.
So instead of saying, "I can't strike out," you can say, "I'm going to get a hit."
Another simple example is instead of saying, "I hope I don't make an error," say, "I am a great fielder."
The process of using self-talk as a tool looks like this:
- Make a list of all the negative beliefs you have and ways you think during a game.
- Create a list of positive alternatives for each statement.
- Repeat that list to yourself each day and use those new statements during games.
Mental Training Tool #2: Mental Rehearsal
Mental Rehearsal involves rehearsing your skills in your mind. You may have also heard this referred to as visualization. Both mean the same thing.
Mental rehearsal is a great mental training tool for you to use as a softball player because it allows you to increase your confidence, perform better under pressure, and get yourself relaxed before a game.
The way that mental rehearsal works is that your mind reacts to what's imagined in a similar way to a real life situation. That means you can actually increase the trust you have in your swing by visualizing yourself hitting.
In a similar way, you can visualize yourself pitching in a crucial moment during the game, and that will increase your confidence which will help you perform better in that pressure filled situation.
Here's how you can use visualization as a softball player:
- Get into a quiet location, sit down, and close your eyes.
- Take a few deep breaths to relax.
- Now create the scene you want to visualize (go into as much detail as you can).
- See yourself perform your skills (be sure to feel emotion while you do).
- Finish by seeing yourself succeed and feeling successful and happy with how well you performed.
Mental Training Tool #3: Breath Work
As a softball player, you want to have a calm mind. Not a calm mind in that you don't care what happens, but a calm mind because your mind is still. You don't have a ton of racing thoughts distracting you while you play.
The calmer your mind, the more relaxed your body will be. And a relaxed hitter is a dangerous hitter. The same holds true with pitching and with playing the field. Because when you're relaxed, you're ready to react quickly.
And that kind of quickness is what you need in softball.
However, it's not always easy to have a calm mind. Especially when you're feeling a bit fearful or anxious. That's where breath work comes into play.
During a game, you can use breath work to center your attention and calm yourself down. Imagine you're in the on deck circle, getting ready to hit, and you're feeling anxious. At that moment, breath work would help calm you down and get you nice and focused when you go up to bat.
Here's how you can use breath work as a softball player:
- Breathe in for a count of five.
- Breathe out for a count of ten.
I love this rhythm because it forces you to really control your exhale.
What can make it easier to use this breath work during games is if you use it every day. Just set aside a few minutes a day to perform this breathing exercise. One or two minutes is perfect.
Mental Coaching for Softball
Using the three tools listed above will help you get started with mental training. However, if you want a more in-depth and personalized approach, then you need one-on-one mental performance coaching.
With mental coaching, I will work with you to first identify your current strengths and challenges. Then I will create a custom mental game plan for you.
Each week, we will have a 50-minute coaching call, followed by action steps. These action steps are where you can take what you learned during our session and begin to apply it directly to your game.
Mental coaching is right for you if you're a serious softball player looking to take your game to the next level!
Please fill out the form below to learn more about mental coaching for softball.
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of success in all that you do.
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