Softball the Mental Game - helping players handle there nerves during games how to stay focused

To help your players handle their nerves during games help them understand how to control their focus in practice. When players are nervous their focus gets too big – meaning, they’re thinking about big things like “we’ve got to win”, “that team’s really good”, “what happens if we lose”, “If I don’t hit good I won’t play again” – things like that. All of these are big thoughts that either involve other people like the opponents, or else they’re not very specific thoughts like “if I don’t hit I won’t get to play again”.

Players with big thoughts get nervous because these big thoughts are not specific. They don’t give the player any real information to follow that will lead to success. Instead, they simply help to make the situation seem overwhelming causing the player to doubt herself even more.

To help your players eliminate their nerves and feel confident about their skills have them practice Small Thoughts that involve their own performance. Small thoughts would be things like, “keep my hand behind the ball at release”, “strong stride, long follow through”, “take my hands to the ball”, ” “only balls below my hands” – all of these thoughts are small, specific and give the player’s body very clear directions to follow. And, when these directions are followed the player will be more successful. The great thing about Small Thoughts is that by having them, the player’s focus turns inside their own head and performance leaving NO time to think about the other players or team – and thus, eliminating nerves!

Practice thinking Small Thoughts in practice and your players will learn how to dominate their nerves AND the outcome during games!

Looking for more exercises for controlling focus and handling fear, then check out our book A Coaches Guide to Creating Team Chemistry.

Leave a Reply