Today’s blog will be about a topic that doesn’t get talked about too often for reasons i’m not too sure of. We in the baseball world hear the word and teach the word “comfortable” a lot. Whether it be with your mechanics in pitching or mechanics in hitting. We try to get as comfortable as we can to make sure we are relaxed and getting the most out of our ability. Now the subject I want to touch on here is the untold truth about being “uncomfortable.” Look I don’t care who you are and how good you are there will be times in your baseball career where you just flat out feel uncomfortable and totally out of place.. trust me i’ve been there. This blog will touch on that particular subject, things I’ve found that can help, mindset that can get you through those moments, and most importantly (in my opinion) is to limit the amount of times you feel uncomfortable in between the lines! Lets get to it..
We all seek comfort in our everyday lives.. It’s just a fact of life. There’s no disgrace in that. It’s what we’ve been essentially wired to do. We do things and seek things out that will bring certain comforts in our day. Now for ball players (and I will speak from a pitchers side because I am one but this can be applied to really any athlete) we do a lot of things in our day to make sure that when we step foot between the lines we are comfortable with what we are doing. But the reality of it is.. in my opinion.. no matter how much you practice, no matter how many reps you hit in the weight room, no matter how good your diet is, you will have moments of uncomfortableness on the field. Whether it be on the mound where you feel like you’re throwing the ball with the opposite hand or at the dish where it feels like you’re swinging a giant redwood tree. I believe that it just happens and these are things that every athlete just goes through. But as I get older and more mature in my baseball playing career I’ve noticed that being uncomfortable sometimes isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Now I know i’m not saying to seek being uncomfortable i’m just saying it’s something that we know we will face at some point but why back away from it? Why let that fear set in and totally dominate your whole being? Definitely things that I, personally, have done myself. I’ve learned to embrace the uncomfortable moments in the game to realize that you truly can’t improve drastically unless you face these particular moments head on.
Ok lets break this down because I want to make this simple and I know sometimes my writing isn’t the easiest to understand. For broader terms what I am trying to say is as quick as you can become comfortable during the uncomfortable moments is when you will open eyes during competition. You can say all the right things on how to approach pressure during stressful times but in reality it’s about getting those particular reps in to mold you into a better athlete. I’ve had numerous outings where it felt like I was 120 feet away trying to throw strikes and I simply just couldn’t. Or when the ball feels like a golf ball in your hands and the game starts to speed up and before you know it you got guys on 2nd n 3rd with no outs. That’s the game of baseball.. things speed up and happen in an instance. You can quickly get caught in quicksand if you aren’t truly prepared. Now lets talk about how to prepare you for these moments.
When I was young I really didn’t know what was happening.. I had a super simple approach to the game which was fantastic. I played in really big games without even knowing the magnitude of the situation. That suddenly changed when I got older. I started to understand more, I started to realize that there was more to do and more to think about on the baseball field. Or is there? The thing I want to talk about is going to sound silly but it is the most important thing you will hear if you want to advance in this game.. “The game of baseball is the same from little leagues to the big leagues. The only things that change are the names and faces.” Now sure we have instant replay and pace of play rules now but the overall game is literally the same. You are playing a game that you’ve most likely been playing for quite some time. Find comfort in that. Certain situations will cause a bit uncomfortableness but at the end of the day you’re playing the same game you’ve been playing probably your whole life. Find comfort in the amount of work that you’ve put in. Find comfort in the simplicity of the game. Don’t make the game harder than it is. I know how easy that is for me to say but it’s the flat out truth. Throw the ball, hit the ball, catch the ball. Hustle hard, play hard and good things will happen.
I want to touch on some certain mindset techniques that I have found useful for me personally. Like I said the game is the game it doesn’t change. So take a look at something on the field that is always going to be there and be still in that moment. For me I’ll look at my glove or the ball. Things that I will always have with me. It puts me in a place of comfort because i’m doing the same thing in front of thousands of people as I would be with no one watching. Be grounded by the foundation of the game. What I mean by that is the way you train and the way you practice when no one is watching is what’s preparing you for that moment when multiple people are watching. It’s all the same! For me personally I find joy in the competition the game brings. Whether it be competing with myself in a bullpen or competition against another guy at the dish, I absolutely love it. I get lost in the competition and there’s not any thought of self doubt or who’s watching me it’s just mono y mono. If you’re a competitive guy I encourage you to get lost in that competition between you and the guy who’s starting you down. it will bring the best out of you.
Lastly, remember that you do everything for a purpose. I see too often athletes that go through the motions of practice. I can’t stress enough that the little things matter. We talk about gaining comfort while being uncomfortable so how do we do that? I’m a believer in just flat out reps.. the more you do something the better and more comfortable you become. So take time to practice game reps. Play games in your head that put you in certain “high-stress” situations and visualize yourself flourishing! It starts with a belief in your ability before anything else. YOU have to believe that you CAN do something before you even set out in doing it. Ali said he was the greatest before he even knew he was. Think about the weight that holds when you believe mentally that you can do anything. You’re body will start to believe it even if it isn’t true.
I appreciate y’alls time reading this blog. I believe in this brand and i’m trying to help as many people as I can so do me a favor and help spread the word to fellow ball players! God bless!