It is truly amazing to watch some athletes accomplish things no one believed they could. They could be less talented, undersized, and lack overall athleticism, but yet somehow they accomplish goals. Why? Simply because that athlete believes in themselves. They believe that no matter what obstacle gets in their way, they will figure out a solution. That is the biggest difference between those who play at a higher level versus those who do not.
People believe that some people are just born with self-confidence. In other words, you were just built differently than others. In some regards that is very true, it’s just a part of who you are. But for the majority of people, it has to be learned and developed. And the great news is that anyone can learn to build self-confidence. It is a matter of how much time you want to put in and how hard you are willing to work.
Self-confidence is built through repetition and work ethic. For example, when you first learn to throw a breaking ball it’s probably not very good. So what do you do? You practice throwing it. You work on it everyday to develop better spin, sharper break, and eventually throwing it in the bullpen. Then one day you try to throw it in the game. Maybe you can’t throw it for a strike so then, like most pitchers, you just forget about the breaking ball for the rest of the game. Why? Because you are not confident in that pitch due to the lack of self-confidence to throw it which is due to the lack of preparation.
But you don’t give up because you know you have to develop a breaking ball if you want to continue pitching. You work on your grip and just keep throwing it, again putting in the time. Now you start throwing it more often in the bullpen and start to get a feel for it. Then you try it in a game and suddenly something amazing happens; you throw and the hitter swings and misses. You almost get a feeling of relief and excitement all at once. That one pitch, that swing and a miss, suddenly allows you to start building confidence in your breaking ball. Now you can start building off that success and make that breaking ball even better. Eventually you will start throwing more breaking balls during your outing and having success because now you have built the self-confidence in yourself to throw that pitch for a strike.
It comes down to repetition. That is the only way to truly develop self-confidence. You have to make mistakes and learn from that. You learn how not to throw a breaking ball, what grip doesn’t work for you, where you shouldn’t locate the pitch, and so on. But you only learn this through actually throwing the ball and practicing, day in and day out.
Having success as a pitcher is all about sharpening the skill of repetition, as with most anything else. Your pitches, your delivery, your mechanics, and your mindset, all only develop if you work at each of those parts everyday. If you do that, those things become what we call second nature. It just becomes so natural that you don’t even have to think about it anymore. And when you’re not thinking about your mechanics, for example, it is because you have built the confidence within yourself to know that your mechanics are solid and flawless. You have put the work and the time in to perfect your mechanics, now you continue to build on them.
Repetition creates self-confidence. That is the most important thing to understand if you want to get to the next level.