Slumps are the worst. Whether it’s committing a series of errors, going hitless in your last 10, 15, 20 at-bats, or being unable to throw a strike to save your life — trust us, we’ve been there. There’s nothing more frustrating than being repeatedly unsuccessful, especially at such a young age when it feels like just one error committed, called third strike taken, or walk issued is the end of the world. And then the problem gets even worse when your youth baseball player gets into his own head, shaking his confidence even further. Next time you notice your kid in a slump, or if you are a kid in a slump, suggest some of these solutions.
Get Out of Your Head!
This is one of the most important pieces of advice you can give a youth baseball player. Young minds are overly sensitive to failure, and it’s easy for one mistake to become distracting, paving the way for more mental mistakes, and it’s all a giant snowball effect from there. The slump might even be stemming from an off-field distraction. It’s obviously easier said than done, but you simply have to try to leave that last at-bat in the past, leave other mental distractions off the field, and focus on the next pitch. Each pitch is a new situation with another opportunity to get an out (if you’re in the field) or get a hit (if you’re at the plate). Shake it off, knock the dirt off your cleats, and play ball. You’ll be impressed what a positive mindset can do to your performance.
Hit the Cages (or the Practice Field)
Sometimes it’s more than mental errors that contribute to lessened success on the field. Maybe you developed a bad habit of swinging up on the ball, resulting in tons of pop-outs. Maybe you’re dropping your arm when you pitch and your release point is off. Maybe you aren’t getting low enough on grounders. Head out to the batting cages or your local practice field with a friend, a parent, or a coach and, once you identify the problem, just keep taking reps. You know what they say — practice makes perfect — so get out there and practice! When you see improvements at practice, you’ll feel more confident in the game, and you’ll be sure to break out of that slump soon.
For more advice on breaking a hitting slump specifically, check out this list from Active.com. Click here for some advice from BaseballCoaching.Tips about breaking a fielding slump. And click here for some more general slump-busting tactics from CompetitiveEdge.com. There’s nothing worse than a slump for youth baseball players. We hope we were able to help you break it.
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