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Brad The Therapist
Brad The Therapist, LCPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 549
Experience:  10 years of experience in working with youth and adults
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my grandson is a really good baseball player - plays 3rd base

Resolved Question:

my grandson is a really good baseball player - plays 3rd base and pitches- he is a freshman but was moved up to the JV team - he is really great at practice but falls apart in a real game - he has now been moved back to the freshman team and is very upset - what can he do to overcome his fear when the game is for real
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 2 years ago.

Brad The Therapist :

Thank you for your question. Before providing suggestions, I have a few questions. First, what kind of fear does your grandson experience? Is it anxiety during a real game? Has he had any other performance anxiety in the past?

Customer:

he is afraid he won't do well

Brad The Therapist :

I see... a suggestion I have is for your grandson to use a technique called visualization. To do this, have him imagine being in a ball game and have him visualize what he is going to do...for example, if he is batting, have him visualize the ball and how hard he is going to hit it.

Brad The Therapist :

The more exposure he has in a real game, the less the fear will be.

Brad The Therapist :

outside of practice on his freshman team, he can join a community league as well

Brad The Therapist :

Another suggestion is for your grandson to have a "routine." An example of this routine is to watch MLB baseball players when they go up to bat. Normar Garciapara had this routine of adjusting his wrist guard, tapping his hand, etc before the pitch. This routine is a calming routine (although some say it is OCD or superstition)...it's a calming technique to focus on the ball before hitting.

Customer:

he has been in little league since he was 6 - plays all the time - the above will not help

Brad The Therapist :

if he played for little league since he was 6, what is it about being on the JV team that is different? Is he being teased on the team?

Brad The Therapist :

Does he feel he needs to prove to everyone?

Brad The Therapist :

hello? are you still there?

Brad The Therapist :

Why do you think the above will not help? Have you had him try it?

Brad The Therapist :

If so what were the results?

Customer:

sorry , children calling to wish me a Happy Easter - this has been going on the the last 2 years - before that he was fine - now for some reason he feels pressure

Customer:

not being teased or anything and yes the above have been tried

Brad The Therapist :

Has there been significant changes that occur two years ago?

Customer:

just becoming a teenager - he is now 15 - great at football also - but then you have drills to follow

Brad The Therapist :

unlike baseball...so does he perform well in his freshman team?

Customer:

very - first stri;ng wide receiver

Brad The Therapist :

Does he prefer football than baseball?

Customer:

no - he likes both - whichever is in season

Brad The Therapist :

And is he performing well in baseball (on the freshman team?)?

Customer:

in practice not during the game

Brad The Therapist :

what types of errors does he make during the game?

Customer:

his pitching is ver irratic and so is he hitting - last year his hitting was good - but again in prcatice he is fine

Brad The Therapist :

hitting in practice is a bit different than in games. He is hard on himself during and after the game?

Brad The Therapist :

What types of things does he do to calm his nerves during the game?

Customer:

he is during the game I don't know

Brad The Therapist :

so after the game he moves past this?

Customer:

what he does to try to calm down

Customer:

it seems so but I don't go home with him and he doesn't want to talk about it

Brad The Therapist :

ok, and his coach...is he hard on him as well?

Customer:

well - he was moved back to freshman team

Brad The Therapist :

Here are some tips from sports psychology theory...first, he needs to find a way to calm his nerves during the game

Brad The Therapist :

This can be done through visualization technique I mentioned early or through deep breathing

Customer:

yes and then what

Customer:

this is common sense

Brad The Therapist :

Here are more tips:

Brad The Therapist :





  • Recognize that pre-race jitters are normal. Accept, rather than fight, the nervous energy you feel. Don't misinterpret it by thinking that it is fear. That adrenaline rush you feel is normal and it is part of your body's natural preparation for the competition. Notice it, but don't focus on it. Once the race starts, that feeling will subside, as it always does.

     



  • Prepare both mentally and physically. Arrive at the event with plenty of time so you aren't rushed, which only increases your stress. Get a thorough warm-up. Do some easy stretching. Know the course. Dress for conditions.

     



  • Visualize. Allow a few minutes to practice visualization. During this time you mentally rehearse, showing yourself doing everything right. Breathe easy, close your eyes and use mental imagery to visualize yourself performing well. This positive self-talk can change your attitude. While athletes need to be flexible enough to react during the event, you should enter the event with a general strategy of how you want to race. Your strategy can be simple (maintain a steady pace or maintain a steady heart rate) or complex.






 

Brad The Therapist :




Reduce Performance Anxiety During the Event



  • Focus on the task at hand rather than the outcome. Stay present in the moment and avoid thinking too far into the event or thinking about the finish.

    If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts or negative self-talk, stop and focus only on your breathing. Focusing on your breathing rhythm will automatically pull you back into the present.


     



  • Force a smile. Really. If you are struggling with negative thoughts and can't break out of the cycle, simply force yourself to smile, even if only for a few seconds. This simple action will change your attitude in a split second. Perhaps that is all the time you need to relax back into your performance.

     



  • Race like you don't care about the outcome. If you find yourself caught up in negative thoughts and find that you suddenly expect the worst it will be impossible to perform at your peak. If you begin to race like you don't care about the outcome, you may relax and enjoy the event for what it is - another day in your life. Not the most important thing in your life.






 

Brad The Therapist :




Reduce Performance Anxiety After the Event:



  • Review the race and recall the things you did well. Focus on actions, thoughts and behaviors that helped you perform.

     



  • Acknowledge, but quickly dismiss things that hindered your performance. This is the same principle as avoiding an obstacle while driving - look where you want to go, not where you don't. When you focus on the pothole, you invariably hit it. Focusing on the negative aspects of the event will not help you improve in the future. Rather, you want to focus on the times when you 'got it right.' This is a form of mental rehearsal where you practice skills that will be used in the next event.

     



  • Design a training program that mimics race-like conditions. Teams and clubs often do such training. If you always train alone, consider joining a group so you can do this type of simulation. Practice is most effective if you can mimic the conditions you will be faced with in competition. Coaches can also help or hinder an athlete's ability to overcome choking during competition. Coaches often inadvertently reinforce a pattern of choking when trying to encourage ("the next shot is critical"). Such talk only increases the pressure an athlete feels to perform.






 

Customer:

this information is good - but he is a teenage boy -

Brad The Therapist :

Yes, I understand. He does not have to use all of these tips. These tips are just a guide for him to use.

Brad The Therapist :

especially if he is hard on himself

Customer:

how do you get him to do this

Brad The Therapist :

you can practice with him or have his coach be informed about these tips.

Brad The Therapist :

so that the coach can work with your son

Brad The Therapist :

grandson

Customer:

the coach is a coach - wants the team to do well - does not have time for individual people

Brad The Therapist :

I see, will you or his parents be able to work on these tips with him?

Customer:

I don't know - he is at school and then practice or a game - never home before 7:30

Brad The Therapist :

What is stopping you from giving him these tips?

Customer:

nothing - if he will listen to me but that does not mean he will use them

Brad The Therapist :

Yes, but that is the first step. SInce he is 15, he can make the decision whether or not he would like to use the tips. Has he asked you for help? Or was this question based out of your own concerns for him?

Customer:

my concerns

Brad The Therapist :

I see...I would simply ask your grandson how he feels about his baseball performance. See what he says. If he discuss with you that he isn't sure why this is happening to him, you can give him the tips we have discussed here.

Brad The Therapist :

If you need the transcript of this discussion, it will appear after pressing the 'accept" button when we are done.

Brad The Therapist :

Do you have any further questions?

Customer:

I do not feel I was given great advise

Brad The Therapist :

Why do you feel this way?

Brad The Therapist :

You mentioned that the tips I gave early could be helpful.

Brad The Therapist, LCPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 549
Experience: 10 years of experience in working with youth and adults
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Brad The Therapist
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