Sunday Setting Sights on Success Tip of the Day – Developing Optimistic Players
I have known many successful baseball players that play with a lot of confidence and other successful athletes who play with little confidence. However, the key is to develop optimistic players, no matter their confidence levels. It is much easier to play with it than not, but having it does not guarantee long-term success, as many other factors come into play.
I was an example of a player who played, and succeeded, without much baseball confidence. Confidence comes and goes for almost all baseball players. However, I have never known a successful athlete, who was not optimistic.
Even though confidence was lacking, I had an optimistic feeling about where I was headed in my career, believing good things would happen if I kept working hard, and they did. Optimistic players say things like, “My fault, but I’ll get them next time,” dealing with adversity in a positive manner. Pessimistic players say things like, “I’m no good,” or “the umpire screwed me,” beating oneself up or making excuses for poor play.
The good news is that coaches can help players remain optimistic, whereas gaining baseball confidence comes from the player.
Tips to keep optimistic players
1.Stay optimistic themselves no matter how bad the team or individual plays
2. Discourage excuse making in self and others – have players own up to their mistakes without beating themselves up over it
3. Encourage players to believe the next time (game) will be better
4. Keep players and team focused on long-range goals and not each game or at-bat – coach players to “improve,” and not try to “prove” to others what can do
5. Remind players that “There is a way,” and that way starts with hard work
6. Be able to “laugh off” bad games to ease disappointment and tensions
Players often take on the coach’s demeanor – optimistic coaches create optimistic players.