Confidence. Confidence. Confidence. Many talk about how important it is in youth baseball, but few youth baseball players have it! We lay out in this brief blog a few simple things to instill in your kid to give him tremendous confidence at the plate. Sometimes the smallest mental adjustments can make the biggest difference in youth baseball.
“The expert in everything was once a beginner.”
Step #1: Remember The Good, Forget The Bad
When a kid is hitting well he usually continues to build confidence as he does so. This is why you should reminisce about great at-bats. Remembering yourself being successful can be a great tool as you are on the on deck circle. This is one of the best ways to quickly build a kid’s confidence, just remind him of his last great at-bat. On the contrary, bad at-bats can do the same for a kid negatively. Those are the at-bats you’ll have to encourage him to forget about. That is such an important thing to teach your kid about his at-bats; remember the good ones, and forget the bad ones.
“You have to have a short memory. Learn from your failures, but don’t sit around worrying about them.” – Derek Jeter
Step #2: Walk To The Plate With Your Chest Out
Confidence is something that a kid can control if he really wanted to. One of the best ways to get him to feel that feeling of confidence is to teach him to walk with it. Have him grab the barrel of the bat and walk to the plate like he’s got the biggest chest on the field. It is scientifically proven that good posture can boost confidence, and that being confident can boost confidence. Have him do both everytime he walks to the plate and we guarantee you he’ll hit better!
Step #3: Be Fearless
No matter how small or skinny your youth baseball player is, you can teach him to be fearless at the plate. There is no reason you should ever give the opposing pitcher any credit when talking to your son. If your kid is 8, let him know that he can hit any 8 year old in the country. Look at the worst kids in youth sports, they probably all have one thing in common, fear. Fear can kill a young ballplayers mind set and it should be avoided at all costs. Speak positive things to your young ballplayer, and never give an opposing pitcher too much credit, your kid can hit him if he’s fearless I promise!
Step #4: Have A Routine At The Plate
You’ve seen all the big league guys, they do the same things and they have the same rituals every time they step into the batters-box. There is a reason they do this, it builds confidence and adds a level of consistency and comfort. Baseball players play the best and hit the best when things feel routine. Nothing is more routine than doing the same thing every time you step into the box. So whether your kids’ thing is to spit on his batting gloves or dig into the back corner of the box, encourage him to do the same thing every time. When things become routine, they become easier.
Step #5: Visualize Success
This last one is the best because it can be done anytime of day, even outside of baseball. Teach your kid to visualize positive outcomes in his spare time. Your brain can’t distinguish the “imagined home-runs” for example from the “real home-runs.” What that means is that eventually it can feel like your kid has done it before and the brain tricks the muscles into feeling like they can do it easily. I remember sitting on the bench before an at-bat, visualizing myself hitting a double in the gap, and then going out there and doing it first pitch. I’ll tell you what, visualizing success in baseball works! I wish I would have known about it when I was 10 or so like many of your kids!