Mental Strength and Resilience

We all know baseball is a very mental game. There have been many talented athletes that failed to meet expectations not because they don’t have the talent, but because they don’t have the right mindset. We often refer to those players as being mentally weak.

Resilience is an inner strength that keeps you going despite the hard times, setbacks, or difficulties. It is what allows you to bounce back from disappointment. You may think the character trait of resilience is something you are either born with or without. That is not the case. Resilience can be learned and developed if you work at it.

Here are some tips to help increase mental strength and resilience. These tips are good for not only baseball, but how you go through life as well. Remember, developing the right mindset doesn’t allow you to pick and choose when to be mentally tough.

It is a skill that needs to be worked on each and every day.

  • Use your mental energy wisely. That means you must be deliberate in choosing to do the things that lead you to your goals and not let yourself become distracted by tasks that are either unimportant or non-productive. Maintain your focus on what’s important.

  • Be wary of negative thoughts and try to reframe them. Mentally strong people refuse to entertain negative thoughts. They don’t dwell on criticisms, worries or negative internal dialogue. They force themselves to view things from a more positive perspective.

  • Mentally strong people create specific goals and hold themselves accountable for reaching them. By prioritizing long term goals, those who are stronger mentally find it easier to resist giving in to short term gratifications that may lead them off from where they want to go.

  • Take some time each day to evaluate your progress. This is when you can reflect on your goals and determine if anything led you off track that day from the process of achieving your ultimate goal. You can use this time to figure out how you can make improvements.

  • A mindset of gratitude can set you up for more good fortune. Be grateful for the opportunity to go to school, hang out with friends, and of course the opportunity to continue playing the great game of baseball (or any other sport). It is a privilege, not a right.

  • Be wary of your emotions and try to balance those emotions with logic. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Mentally strong people realize the role that feelings can play in creating perceptions and motivating behavior. You must consciously strive to balance feelings with logic in order to avoid biased judgements. This allows you to make better decisions.

  • Stay true to your values. We measure success if we beat the competition, sometimes at all costs. Measure your success and self-worth by staying true to your personal values. That means know who you are and don’t lose sight of that. If you know you did your best and acted accordingly, you should keep your head up and feel good about your actions. Most importantly, respect the game.

The habits listed above can be used as a guideline towards personal success. It’s not easy. Lots of people have tried and failed to have a mentally strong and positive approach to the game and life itself. Remember, this is something that can be learned which means time and effort need to be put in. You will fail from time to time, just like in the game of baseball, but its how you respond that separates you from the pack.

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