By Ethan Guevin
As a college coach, I am sure of one thing going into the season– nothing will happen as planned. As you approach the mid-way point in your high school season, you are probably seeing the same thing! The season is sure to twist and turn and there are going to be good days and bad days. Sometimes it might feel as if nothing is going right. There is no question that you are going to have to deal with adversity, the real question is how will you deal with it?
Here are some very common challenges or adverse situations you may be dealing with:
– Getting dropped down/moved around in the batting order
– Losing a starting spot
– Getting moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen
– Weather problems are preventing you from developing a routine/getting reps
… and the list goes on.
Regardless of the situation or type of challenge you’re facing, our suggestion is that you keep it SIMPLE. By following these three suggestions, you can keep your focus and your emotions in check.
1. Don’t think too far ahead, focus on the NOW. Ask yourself, what is your job at the most basic level? Each situation, game, or play may have a different job (moving a runner over, executing a fastball away, getting a bunt down, etc.), and your attention should be focused on what you need to do NOW. There is no need to worry about the future, do your best at whatever the game requires of you right now. Worry about what’s next some other time.
2. Don’t over-think the situation. As soon as you start taking attention away from what it is you have to do and start worrying about other things like, “what is coach thinking?” or “What will happen if I do/don’t do this?” you are as good as done. Keep your focus on the task at hand.Your job as a hitter in the 3 hole and a hitter in the 9 hole will be the same in any given game situation, just as your job as a starter and a reliever is to get the hitter out.
3. Take the emotion out of it. As soon as you start letting your emotions dictate your behavior, you are on an up-and-down roller coaster with no end in sight. For example, your anger over getting benched for a day should not impact your effort while working on something in practice, just as you should not get too excited when things are going well.
If you are able to follow these three suggestions, you will be well on your way to handling any difficult situation the season might throw your way. There’s also a good chance you will be back to your old self in no time!