Every now and then, you might find your performance on the softball diamond has taken a dip. Whether you’re dealing with an injury, adjusting to a new setup or it’s simply not your day, slumps occur in softball. However, what can separate a great player apart is how they overcome adversity and push onward.
Like many athletes, professional softball player Amanda “Chiddy” Chidester has dealt with slumps in her time in the batter’s box. But through her occasional struggles, she’s developed a routine to help rebuild her confidence and rediscover success. Discover Chidester’s method to breaking out of a hitting slump with these Pro Tips.
BACK TO THE BASICS
There’s no denying that finding yourself in a slump can be frustrating. As if overnight, you’re not hitting the ball cleanly, you’re missing pitches in the zone or you’re not reaching base. It can be easy to overanalyze every detail of your softball swing in these scenarios. After all, a hitting slump can come out of nowhere. You can be left without any sense of where to look for relief.
To reduce the stress of searching for an issue to resolve, Chidester recommends taking a shortcut. Rather than looking for a problem, develop a universal response to a slump and go back to your foundational training.
“For me, dealing with slumps, I always think back to going back to the basics,” she says. “And for me, that’s getting back on the tee, right? Feeling good off the tee, feeling good off front toss and mentally finding a space that I feel most confident.”
When you take your training back to the basic hitting workouts, you can think of it as a reset button. Working off a batting tee and taking front toss sessions can be great drills to reinforce your primal hitting skills. And once the time comes for you to step to the plate, you can confidently dig in with sound fundamentals.
FIND YOUR SPACE
In addition to revising your training, Chidester also says to take note of your mental approach. Rather than dwell on the letdowns and misses you’ve endured during your slump, focus instead on successes you’ve had. “For me, finding my space where I’m most confident is going back and reviewing all the things I’ve had success in with hitting and working my way past that,” Chidester says.
Taking a trip down memory lane can reassure you that you can succeed in the batter’s box. From here, you can take your past softball hitting accomplishments and see how you can match or beat them with your next at-bat.
Another aspect stemming from rebuilding your confidence, according to Chidester, is having the gumption to take your next hitting opportunity. You can’t expect to dig yourself out of your slump if you don’t take a few hacks along your redemption tour.
“[I] keep telling myself when I get up to the plate, ‘Just keep swinging. Don’t stop, don’t stop swinging,’” Chidester says. “Sometimes when we’re in slumps we freeze, and we don’t know what to do. So, go back to the tee, go back to front toss, go back to the basics, basics, basics of swinging and just keep going.”
Hitting slumps can be a burden on your game. With these Pro Tips, you can look to rid yourself of those pesky shakes in no time.
Want more insight from the softball pro? Learn how Amanda “Chiddy” Chidester overcomes the fear of failure in softball in this Pro Tips guide.