One of the most difficult things about working through a slump is keeping a positive attitude. The ability to maintain a strong mindset during times of struggle is a challenge, but it’s a battle worth fighting. No matter the sport - hockey, cricket, baseball or softball - if an athlete is dwelling on the past or worried about their future, they are doing themselves a disservice.
In baseball and softball, hitting a moving object is an immense challenge. Each plate appearance is unique to itself, because every pitcher has their own speed and style. Even if you face the same opponent multiple times in a game, two at-bats are never the same. Have you ever had the same exact day twice? I hope not. That would be extremely creepy and you need to call your local physician immediately. The same rings true in hitting, no two at-bats are ever the same.
Knowing that each trip to the plate is distinct in its own way, it doesn’t make any sense for a player to worry about the past or the future. For best results, focus on the present. By “living in the now” an athlete will eliminate all that external baggage that prevents them from focusing on the task at hand. Competitive sports are difficult enough, why swamp your mind with unnecessary demons?
Encouraging someone to forget about a troubled past doesn’t pose the same challenge as following through with that advice and executing. Anyone who has ever been through a slump and has experienced self-doubt knows that. However, like many things in life, it all comes down to discipline. If an athlete can exercise mental toughness, they will allow themselves to live in the moment and they will execute a task with optimal focus.
We’ve all seen the athlete with the “deer in the headlights” look. The one that seems defeated before an opportunity ever presents itself. This is a mental thing. It has nothing to do with a players skill set or abilities, but rather indicative of a fragile psyche.
Don’t be a worry wart. The past is gone and the future has yet to arrive. Be the best version of you and focus on executing one moment at a time - in athletics and life.