Sunday Setting Sights on Success 

Mentally tough players are not born that way

Mentally tough players have the confidence and the willingness to compete, no matter the circumstances. They do not shy away from challenges, when others would rather let their teammates handle the tough situations. Of course, mentally tough players have previous success to fall back on, whereas others do not.

It is a beautiful baseball sight to see a batter foul off a great number of pitches, before finally getting a hit, working the walk, or even striking out. People praise that player for their mental toughness. The following player strikes out on three pitches and people assume the player lacks the mental toughness to succeed. That may be, but usually, there is a simple answer to the difference in players. One player has better hitting fundamentals than the other player does, with mental toughness having nothing to do with it. 

Many coaches give up on players who appear to lack mental toughness, assuming that some players naturally have it, and others do not. The good news is that mental toughness is one of the easiest things for coaches to help players attain. It is just a matter of improving their fundamentals. Better fundamentals lead to success and the resulting mental toughness.

10 Keys to Building Mentally Tough Players

Most coaches demand players do things their way. Unfortunately, most people do not like to be told what they must do. The best coaches do not demand, they ask. This method has a better chance of gaining players willingness to practice, which is the first step to building a team of confident players.

Coaches should:

  1. Ask players to trust you (the coach), and you will guarantee them greater success, when they trust
  2. Explain the importance of the correct fundamentals
  3. Keep instruction as simple as possible
  4. Ask players to try what you suggest
  5. Ask players to practice what you tell them, even when they leave practice
  6. Explain it is not necessarily the amount of practice but the quality of it that leads to improvement
  7. Notice and point out any little signs of improvement
  8. Praise, praise, and praise their effort, especially when they work away from regular practice, which is usually evident in their play.
  9. Explain that good things come to those who wait
  10. Never give up on slow developing players

Teams that have the most mentally tough players, generally win. Therefore, coaches simply need to develop more mentally tough players and winning follows. Easier said than done, but coaches, who stick with coaching the fundamentals develop confident players, who usually, win.

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