“Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical.” –Yogi Berra
One part of the mental aspect that is a must-have for all players is blind confidence. Each player must truly believe they are the best, and that they will be successful at each plate appearance, pitch thrown, or ball fielded.
There are a few different types of confidence.
The first type is what I would call “The too stupid to know better” type.
I have played with and coached a few of these players.
With these guys, it doesn’t matter what the situation is or what stage is being played on.
These guys are typically not the most talented players on a team, but they believe they are and they have absolutely no fear about anything. Many of these players will “overachieve” throughout their careers.
They have so much self-confidence (even though they may not be the best player on the field) that they typically succeed and advance beyond much more talented players.
At the other end of the spectrum is the player that truly is the best that also radiates confidence.
Absolutely nothing can rattle this player because he knows he is the best.
One of the best examples of this type of player I have seen is Jedd Gyorko.
It didn’t matter if Jedd’s first plate appearance was a strike out or a home run; his emotions stayed the same throughout the game.
If he struck out, you could almost see him shrug like, “Oh well, I’ve still got three more AB’s.”
A perfect example of this in the Arizona Fall League. It was the first time I had seen Jedd play since he signed.
His first plate appearance he struck out, looking pretty bad. His next plate appearance he hit a weak ground ball for an infield single.
Then, he went opposite field home run, double down the line, and 500+ foot home run to left field.
This was against some very elite level pitching in the Arizona Fall League.
There are players that are all over this spectrum with their confidence.
Some truly great players are easily rattled with a bad at-bat or an error, as are some average players.
The key is getting to the level of confidence you are able to shrug off an error, bad at-bat, or even a bad stretch of games. It has happened to EVERYBODY that has played the game!
Gene Stephenson, Wichita State’s former head coach, once asked me before the start of my first season at Wichita State if I was nervous.
I casually replied, “Not really.” To which he said, “Good, if you have truly worked as hard as you can and are totally prepared, there is nothing to be nervous about.
The ones that should be nervous are the ones who haven’t worked and prepared as much as possible up to that point.”
I think this is a great point (one which I will discuss in a future article). Here is the question I want you to think about: What brings about confidence in a player?
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