Ever seen the movie The Replacements?  The movie is about replacement football players due to a strike by the professionals.  In the movie, the coach asks the players what are their biggest fears. Keanu Reeves character who is the quarterback says quicksand.  Everyone is confused until he explains. “You’re playing and you think everything is going fine. Then one thing goes wrong. And then another. And another. You try to fight back, but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink. Until you can’t move… you can’t breathe… because you’re in over your head. Like quicksand.”

In baseball, this can happen far too often.  One strikeout or one error leads to another and then another and then another.  So how can we prevent this from happening? The answer is in our mindset.

Take a second to think about your past few games.  Think about the ones where you played well. Think about the ones where you didn’t play as well.  What was common across those games?

You may find some of the following to be common when you have a poor game

  1. Over or underestimating an opponent
  2. Thinking about if its a big game or not
  3. Worrying about the people who are there to watch
  4. What happened the last time you played the team
  5. Thinking about what could go wrong
  6. Caring about what other people will think of you

You may find some of the following to be common when you have a great game

  1. Treating all opponents the same
  2. Reminding yourself of your preparation
  3. Not worrying about whos watching you
  4. Treating each game as a new game.
  5. Focusing on your game plan
  6. Staying focused in the moment. Not in previous innings.

Stay in the moment.  Worrying about how games went in the past or worrying about who you’re playing sets you up for failure.  Whenever you feel yourself leaving the moment before the game take a step back and take 5 deep breaths and bring back your focus.  It’s just an average game. One catch at a time, one pitch at a time, one swing at a time set you up to play consistently at your best.