The more and more that I work with young players the more I realize that most youth athletes are scared to not succeed. And I am learning to hate to use the F word, FAILURE. In this microwave, quick results world that we are living in young players think that baseball results should be just as quick.
Baseball is a game of repitition or what I like to call it, a game of muscle memory. And muscle memory is not something that builds quickly. It takes time and constant repitition of the proper movement to build the correct muscle memory. The law of 10,000 hours stands true for most people. For some it may take longer and others may happen quicker. But the reality is its going to take time and a large amount of it.
But the problem is players want results NOW and feel the pressure from outside (parents and coaches) to produce every time out. So how can we change this? How can we help players lose the outside pressure and just get back to playing the game, not worried about failing or not producing?
Simple, teach players to fail. Teach players that failure is not a negative thing. In fact, failure is not the opposite of success it is part of it. I have yet to read about a successful athlete or business person say they succeeded at everything on their way to the pinnacle of their career. Looking at failure in a new light can help our players grow faster and to let their instincts take over. Failure is an opportunity to learn and if we teach that to our players, whether in a team setting or during individual instruction, they will develop quicker.
For the coaches who think it is negative please stop coaching, you are killing our game. And for parents who hound their child at games screaming all the time at them, stay at home. I doubt your child is watching over you at work telling you everything that your doing wrong.
Its time teach our players that the result of the last pitch or the last play or the last at-bat doesnt determine the success of the next one. Its hard to develop as a player if your scared to make a play or if your scared to take a chance. Lets teach them that every time they strike out or make an error or give up a homerun, its an opportunity for them to learn. And then show them how they can learn from it. You will be amazed what your players, or child, can do when they lose the fear of failure and the pressure from the outside world.