No athlete or sport is immune to failure, and that includes softball. No matter your age, skill level, history or prospect, you will eventually fail in one way or another on the diamond. Even the greatest players have had their bouts with adversity. However, how they progressed from it – rather than fearing it – speaks more of their performance than the failure itself.
Professional softball player Amanda “Chiddy” Chidester acknowledges failure as part of the game. Dealing with this defeat and staying confident has become normal for her on the diamond. Learn how you can overcome the fear of failure with these tips from the softball pro.
MORE OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD
One of the first realizations, Chidester says, when addressing your fear of failure is acknowledging there will be a next time. With each missed strike comes a new pitch or at-bat. An error in the field doesn’t end your day. There will be another play and more opportunities in the near future.
“There’s been many moments in a game where I’ve struck out three times my first three at-bats or struck out two times my first two at-bats, and then I have one more at-bat and the game is tied, I’m up to bat,” Chidester says. “If I’m still continuing to dwell on those first couple at-bats, I’m not going to be okay for my last at-bat.”
With the abundance of challenging moments in softball, you should strive for a short memory. Being mindful of mistakes without dwelling on them can help you stay clear and focused on future opportunities.
DEVELOP A ROUTINE
Another way to overcome your fear of messing up is to keep a comfortable profile. A great example of this is having a routine in the batter’s box. Before you ready yourself and get into your batting stance, run through a checklist of tasks you must complete. Anything from taking a few deep breaths, to readjusting your batting gloves, to aligning your hands on the bat. Do whatever you need to do to calm yourself before turning your attention to the opposing pitcher.
“I’ll kick the dirt, or I take a deep breath and each movement that I do to get myself ready when I get into that batter’s box is specific to me,” Chidester adds. “It tells me how I’m getting ready, like, ‘Oh, I’m wiping away all my fear,’ or, ‘I’m taking a deep breath to feel calm.’”
Being calm in the batter’s box can help keep you confident. If you’re positive at the plate, you shouldn’t be fearful of any chance of failing.
ACCEPT, EMBRACE, SUCCEED
Accepting failure as part of the game can be a great way to remove any sense of fear, according to Chidester. Once you embrace the fact that every play won’t be your best, there’s no reason to let fear affect you. “I accept it, it’s okay and success starts to happen,” Chidester says.
“But if I’m constantly thinking, ‘I don’t want to mess up. I don’t want to be the one to not get the game-winning hit,’ then guess what? We’re going to mess up and we’re going to mess up all the time.”
Embracing failure and eliminating overthinking can help you stay prepared for any situation. Whether you’re at the plate or in the field, you can better analyze a play and react accordingly with a clear conscience free of worry. “If I go up there at the plate and I think, ‘Oh my gosh, bases are loaded. What do I have to do?’ It gets you anxious, right? And then, you’re not prepared,” Chidester says.
Wanting to succeed is a common goal for softball players. However, you can’t be afraid to fail throughout your career. With these softball tips, you can embrace the notion, set yourself up for success and learn to build on past miscues. After all, failing seven times out of 10 still leads to a legendary batting average.
Found yourself in a slump at the plate? Need some help in getting back to your hitting ways? Discover these tips for dealing with slumps from Amanda “Chiddy” Chidester.