Players that play scared will never succeed. Players that practice, think and execute knowing that they have the ability will never fail, even if there’s a mistake. That’s because that player isn’t afraid of failure… that player will grow from it.
Players learn from making mistakes. I know it sounds utterly ridiculous, but it’s true. Failure matures a player… it wakes a player up. It stings. When you fail, you grow.
No player has even been perfect, EVER. If you play to be perfect, you’ll kick yourself a million times in your career. You can’t play that way. You cannot play tight and worried about making a mistake because your coach will yell. You need to play to the best of YOUR abilities. Play confident, but at the same time be realistic. Working hard will get you better. Understanding the game and all it’s obstacles will get you better. Playing the game hard will get you better. But walking into a game worried about making a mistake will not. That’s the bottom line. And that goes for the approach of coaches as well…
I love when young athletes want to try new positions because their confidence is high. An 11 year old player will ask a coach, “I’d like to try catching for you.” The coach looks at him, “No… you’re a second baseman, not a catcher.” That’s not growth… that’s a coach afraid to try. And moreover… how would that coach know what that kid is if he’s never played him there? Afraid to fail, and even more, he’s holding back growth.
Know the game you play. Work hard to improve… respect it and it’s obstacles, and know that being perfect is not the goal… bettering yourself and growing in the game, and even failing along the way is the best possible approach. You will learn from failure and will grow from it.
That’s how you gain confidence… that’s how you become a great ballplayer.
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