You can’t play baseball without confidence: it’s impossible. If you walk up to the plate and feel less than the man on the mound, I promise things will not go well for you (just ask my abysmal attempt at becoming a professional baseball player).
Just like every other post on this blog, baseball teaches us something (or at the very least it’s applicable to every day life). This time, it’s confidence. Whether it be on the field or walking down the street, you won’t get very far without confidence. Of course it’s way easier said than done.
Everyone struggles with confidence at some point in their lives, and for most of us it’s reoccurring. What confidence boils down to, in basic fundamentals, is a few different parts: preparation, results, and reassurance.
What I’ve learned is that the very basic building block of confidence is step one: preparation. For me, from the field to the press box, if you’re not prepared fully, you have already failed. Being prepared means getting so ready that there is absolutely zero doubt in your mind that no matter what comes your way, you can handle it (ex. a curveball, tricky hop, etc). Say you have a big job interview coming up: well you better be prepared to know what the interviewer is going to throw your way otherwise you’ll swing and miss. Preparing and knowing you’re prepared are crucial; without it, you won’t even make contact. Like the great John Wooden said, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Lamens terms: You gotta be ready.
You could be the most talented, most athletic, and most prepared player in the world: it won’t matter if the ball never reaches the outfield grass (I was never a power hitter). Getting results, whether we like it or not, is a huge key to sustained confidence. Let’s be honest, this is the worst part of the entire process. It’s what leads to slumps (once again, reference my baseball career). Plain and simple, you don’t hit, you ain’t happy. This is the tricky part, it’s a Catch-22: You need results to be confident and to be confident you need results. I wish I could help you with this one, but I’ll let you know when I’ve figured it out.
You’ve prepared, you got at least some form of results, you should be good now right? Well, that would be nice. But to keep this “sustained confidence”, reassurance must keep coming your way. Think of this in a team setting. In baseball, we have the dumbest language only we know, AKA slanguage. For you familiar (and not so familiar), it’s like the phrase “Stay hot, kid.” When things are going right, you need that reassurance to keep things moving. To attain this, you need those teammates constantly cheering you on from the dugout. In real life? Surround yourself with people who know you need this (which we all do need it). Because right when the results start to falter, you’re going to need a solid “Hey, waduhyasaynahkid!” For you former or current players, you know what I’m talking about.
These three parts are the building blocks to confidence. It’s the hardest thing in the world to acquire. Just like tee work, you need to break it down to make sure you can figure this thing out. Sure, you’ll hit the tee a few times, or knock the ball over the screen, but keep working at it, and line drives will come your way.