Posts Tagged ‘sports psychology’

Charles is in the middle of his first basketball season, and as you might expect, he’s really good. I always love hearing his take of what happened in the games and his elaborate, detailed replays. We were talking after one of his games in which he had posted a career high 6 points and his team had won 6-4. We were talking about him scoring 6 points and he said:

“I want to score 10 points in a game. I need to score 10 points.”

It was amazing to me that even with his limited grasp of the English language, he realized that “want” didn’t adequately convey how he really felt.

2 things I love about this:

1. He set a lofty goal for himself. I would be surprised if any other kid in the league had scored 6 points in a game this year. But 6 points wasn’t enough. He needed to score 10 points. It didn’t matter to him that it was a high scoring game for that league and both teams combined scored 10 points. He could do it, no doubt.

2. The use of the word “need”. It wasn’t just a desire he had, it was a need. What if instead of wanting to accomplish our goals, we needed to accomplish our goals? What if we had the attitude of “I need to get that job” or “I need to get that scholarship” instead of just wanting it. Our mentality and actions would change completely.

Side Note-My sister struggles on these videos. He did take the shot that went in. Notice the half hop back down the court after he makes it.

Everyone wants to be successful. I’m pretty sure no one has the dream of growing up to be lower-middle class and live paycheck to paycheck. Not everyone is willing to make the sacrifices and put the time in to become successful. Change your mindset and see if the results don’t change as well.

Bonus: I also had this conversation with him about the same game. He had mentioned several times how he thought #4 on the other team was really good.

Me: Hey Charles

Charles: Yea?

Me: So #4 sounds pretty good.

Charles: Yea, he was really good.

Me: Was he better than you?

Brief pause…

Charles: No

Can’t say he’s not confident.

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This summer, my sister pulled some strings and had Charles throw out the first pitch at the Augusta Greenjackets game, a local Single A baseball team. Needless to say, Charles was very excited when he heard the news. We didn’t realize for about a day or so that he didn’t really understand what was meant by throwing out the first pitch. For those of you who don’t follow baseball, throwing out the first pitch is kind of ceremonial thing done in baseball where someone, usually a hometown sports figure or celebrity, throws the ball to the catcher before the game starts. He was talking about it non stop and mentioned something about striking someone out. My dad and I were confused before we realized he thought that throwing out the first pitch meant he was actually going to face a hitter.

We had to explain to him that there would be no hitter and he would just simply be throwing the pitch to the catcher, in which he responded, “Ahhhh man”.

Charles’ First Pitch

Apologies for having to risk pulling something to view the video. It’s my sister’s fault.

You could pawn this off as just a case of a child being naive, but I believe it’s a kid having extreme confidence in his abilities. I lean towards the latter because of the way Charles acts and the fact he is used to playing against grown men (My dad and I. Yes, I know neither of us are professional hitters, but to him we are and I certainly don’t discourage this idea.)

The reason of why Charles believes he can compete and succeed against professional baseball players at age 5 really is NOT important. What is important is that he truly believes he has the ability to play at that level, and he isn’t scared of the idea at all.

I am shocked with how kids doubt themselves these days. You would think that the overprotective parents that baby their children would produce a kid that is confident from mommy and daddy telling him he’s the world’s greatest when he’s terrible. Instead, it has produced kids that do not believe they can get the job done. How is a coach supposed to expect an athlete to produce when they don’t expect it themselves?

Also, many times the athlete won’t succeed simple because they don’t have the confidence that they will out perform their opponent. I can speak from experience on this. When I struggled pitching in college, I started feeling like every pitch I threw had to be perfect to perform the way I thought I should. This caused me to pitch “tight” and my performance only got worse. In the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college, I felt great physically and was very confident and pitched the best I ever have in my life.

Whatever sport you play, take a lesson from Charles and truly believe you are the best person on the field or court. You will never be able to reach a level that you do not see as obtainable for yourself.

Charles is my 5 year old nephew and also happens to be a projected 1st round draft pick of the 2025 MLB draft. He hasn’t quite figured out the whole idea of having a filter and he talks all the time so you always know exactly what he is thinking. As only a child can do, he says things in a way that help you look at a situation differently. Because of that, I have decided to start this segment to look at certain aspects of training and the mentality that goes along with it.

Stud. Just like his uncle.

I was talking on the phone to Charles after his last soccer game. We have an extremely competitive family so the first question is always “How did your team do?”. His response was priceless.

“Well we lost and the other team lost,” he responded.

I was confused for a second. Both teams can’t lose a game. My sister then explained to me that the teams had tied 1-1. A light bulb then went off in my head. Not only was Charles not wrong in his statement, he might not have ever been more right.

In a society that advocates not keeping score in children’s sporting events and making everyone feel all warm and fuzzy about themselves no matter what they do, we have lost the sense of competitiveness that made our country great. There is always a winner and a loser.

To me, tying represents average. If you look at the slogan for this site, you see how I feel about average (it’s overrated). Think about how the other parents would have reacted if Charles had informed each kid on both teams that by tying, they had all lost. I would bet no parent would have agreed with him or seen his point of view.

While this easily translates to sports, apply it to your every day life as well. In the “real world”, ties are not a positive thing. If you are as good as another person applying for the same job, you leave yourself at a great risk of not getting the position. Whether it’s working out, eating right, or your daily duties at work, separate yourself from the competition. Stop blending in with the general population. There are plenty of people that will accept mediocrity. Don’t be one of them.