SportStars Magazine

How to Have A Champions Mindset

How to Have A Champions Mindset

Earlier this year I was talking to a guy who I only know through passing. His daughter was doing a hitting lesson at Universal Sports Academy. As we chatted a little about softball, his team, our team and his daughter, he mentioned that she was struggling to drive the outside pitch, so he wanted to make sure he got her in for a lesson. I suspected she might need to get some advice on how to have a champions mindset.

As I watched her crush every outside pitch her instructor tossed, I said to him, “it looks like her hitting is fine to me.” He agreed but went on to say that’s one of the frustrating things, he knows she is a great hitter, especially the outside pitch, but lately he can’t seem to get her to hit the way she knows how come game time.

Technical vs. Mental Training

This conversation had me thinking about how many parents and even coaches give time, money and attention to the technical part of why a student athlete may be under performing but ignore the mental reason for why a player may be struggling.

I appreciate and agree that technical issues do hamper performance and need correction, and sometimes the only way the athlete knows it is when a coach or instructor points it out.

This is true from an 8-year-old all the way up to the old timers who play slow pitch and every professional athlete in between.

(It’s 90% Mental)

Sometimes a technical reminder by way of a lesson is all you need, but most of the time it is not the physical part of the game, it is the mental part of the game that needs the help. Enter a coach, parent or accountability partner to help with the athletes mindset.

So, let’s think about it this way…

Between the time his duaghter was hitting the outside pitch in the gap to her current struggle, did she get physically worse?

Did she get weaker? Probably not.

Did she get slower and less athletic. I would guess not.

So what transpired to cause this good hitting student-athlete to struggle hitting an outside pitch.?

Well, first, it is softball, right? So ups and downs are part for the game.

The other thing that happens to athletes, especially noticeable in baseball and softball players, are hitting peaks and valleys. We call the valleys, slumps.

But here is what the elite athletes know— that all things being equal, 90% of their success is above the shoulders.

You see, the 1% who get the big-time scholarships and go on to have great careers, have a mental game as sharp as their athletic game, and those are the tools to get them out of a slump!

Instead of another training lesson, parents and coaches might look at supporting their athletes mental tool chest. That will set them apart from the rest.

Develop a Mental Tool Chest

At the highest level of sports, there have been players who had as much or more talent than everyone else but due to their lack of mental tools, they didn’t make it;  they never reached their potential.

Being great starts with a belief that you can. We all intrinsicly know that.

Many times however, I hear coaches say, “focus” or you need to be “mentally tougher”.

But those coaches might not follow up by showing their student what that means or how to do it. 

That’s like telling a young softball player to “get the bunt down” but never showing them how to hold the bat, or how to turn their feet to bunt, yet having an expectation that they will lay the bunt down properly.

OK, so Coaches, parents— our player’s mental development should be intentional.

One more lesson will not change what’s going on in your childs head. Doing well is the result of feeling good about oneself.

When athletes learn the life skills (like how to have a champions mindset), they not only become better players now, they gain life skills that support a healthy self, who’s better prepared to deal with whatever life throws at them— long term!

I personally know when young athletes have the mental tools to go with their physical ability, they get through the peaks and valleys and end up as graduates of some of the best colleges in the country. I did it!

And your athlete will also be better prepared for life after their playing days are over.

Lets start thinking together. Lets reach your potential.

How to have a champions mindset for peak performance


Be Blessed!

La Shawn B. Wells, JD

Peak Performance Coach


Feature image courtesy

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