We have all heard that we need to build from the ground up. If we try to build a pyramid from the top first, it would not be sustainable. The pyramid will collapse and you will have to restart from scratch. This concept holds true for building a winning mindset. As a player, we can have all the tools we need physically, but if we do not have the right mindset, it will be very tough to reach our ultimate goal.
There are many components that go into a winning mindset, but there are four that stick out the most. Having played baseball for 20+ years, from tee ball to affiliated ball, it is interesting to see who makes it and who does not. There are many players that seem destined to become a big leaguer from the time they were 12 years old, and there are many players that looked like they had no chance of playing past high school.
If the game were based on skill alone, it would be fairly easy to see who would make it to the “Big League” and who would not. As we all know, that is not the case. A ballplayer’s mindset becomes the separator between the best and the average.
Luckily, our mind is like a muscle. We can work on it just as we would any other muscle group. Developing a winning mindset takes the same amount of time and effort that you would put into working on perfecting your swing or your pitching. Here are a few tips to build your winning mindset:
Always Looking to Learn and Grow
You are never too old to learn. It does not matter if you are in Little League or in the Big League, every great player understands that they must grow. There is an abundance of resources out there now, which makes learning much easier. Those who take advantage of that are the ones who will move onto the next level of the game. They make it because once they learn something new, they implement it into their game and become a better player. Every ballplayer must understand that if they are not trying to grow, other players will catch up and surpass them, potentially stealing their starting role or their spot on the team.
Having drive means that you are willing to do what it takes to reach your dreams. If you want to be a big leaguer, you will do everything in your power to accomplish them. One thing that separates the best from the average is the drive and the player’s willingness to do what is necessary regardless of how they feel. The best players build discipline into their daily lives so that if they do not feel like getting in the cage or the weight room, they do it anyway. Their drive keeps them going and does not allow them to relax.
Confidence is one of the biggest key components that every successful athlete has. Without confidence, especially in baseball, chances of success are very slim. Confidence is believing in yourself and your abilities and trusting that it is more than enough to get the job done. You know you are confident when you are completely relaxed in any given situation including a “high pressure” situation.
Knowing that your abilities are more than good enough to compete relieves the anxiety and self-doubts. We all face self-doubts and have negative thoughts, but we are in control of those thoughts. We can counter them by saying something positive to replace the negative thought. This, along with finding other ways to create belief in yourself, breeds confidence.
Self-awareness is knowing the details of what is going on in yourself and your environment. The more details you can pick up, the more self-aware you are. The reason self-awareness is so important is that you can now make the necessary adjustments to get better in any aspect.
Mentally, being aware of your thoughts can be extremely powerful. We have control over our thoughts. Everyone experiences negative thoughts, but if we are not aware of them, there is no way to fix them. Also, if we are aware of our positive thoughts, we can now intentionally have them more often.
Physically, being aware of the small details along with the larger ones will help tremendously. Breaking a situation down into smaller details helps us to gain the edge on our opponent. Baseball is a game of inches.
Let’s use base running as an example. If you round first base by stepping on the middle of the base versus the inside corner of the base, that could be the difference between being out or safe. If you are an important run, now that hurts your team instead of helping them.
All components together make up a winning mindset. Every single player has the ability to develop this and it will help them to succeed in their baseball career and in life.