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How to Handle Perfectionism in Softball

Aug 21, 2008
76
0
I have a 13 year old daughter who is a perfectionist in everything and who is a very intelligent young lady academically.

We have had numerous issues over the years and continuing through the present with my daughter getting down on herself after striking out or making an error. On occasion, she gets emotional (which tends to go along with perfectionism) which is not acceptable while participating in a sport, especially at her age.

Any suggestions on how to make her understand that short term goals of good cuts, sound mechanics and hustle are another measure of success, besides playing an errorless game or going 4-4 batting. She just cannot seem to mesh the concept that good hitters in softball "fail" 7-10 times with her perfectionist personality. She truly loves the game of softball and skillwise she is solid (probably from that same personality trait). This perfectionism standard is a positive trait in practice but at the same time is a hindrance in game situations (following a perceived failure) which reflects in her sometimes low overall batting average.

Any approaches to reinforcing a positive mental attitude and handling a strike out / error, especially for perfectionists, would be greatly appreciated. What I am looking for is a routine or a method of calming that she can work on and implement when she feels herself becoming frustated and/or tense.

I have googled for suggestions mostly to find price tags of $75.00 or more for psychological products.

Thanks!
 
May 12, 2008
2,217
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The measure of success must become internal rather than external. This is big when changing a swing but it might work for you as well. Her measure of success should be, did I put a good swing on a good pitch? If she did, she succeeded. She should be pleased with a screaming line drive that almost takes a fielder's glove off but gets caught for an out and displeased with an ugly swing on a bad pitch that goes for a bloop single. IOW, the measure of success needs to be internal rather than external.
 
Aug 21, 2008
76
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I appreciate your response.

I agree with you 100%. My difficulty is how to instill the internal gratification. Just having a conversation with her about it (which we have had several times) alone has not been successful. Changes in hitting require repetition and drills; I do not know of anything beyond conversations with her to change the mental portion of her game.

I am just at a loss how to help her change from viewing success externally to internally.
 
Sep 10, 2008
1
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That sounds alot like my 13yo DD...her pitching coach recommended a book called "mind Gym"...it's pretty good.
 
May 12, 2008
2,217
0
I appreciate your response.

I agree with you 100%. My difficulty is how to instill the internal gratification. Just having a conversation with her about it (which we have had several times) alone has not been successful. Changes in hitting require repetition and drills; I do not know of anything beyond conversations with her to change the mental portion of her game.

I am just at a loss how to help her change from viewing success externally to internally.
Make sure you are reacting appropriately. Be pumped up on good swings at good pitches regardless of whether the pitcher made her miss or the ball went for an out. Be "yeah but" when a lousy swing goes for a hit.
 
Jul 16, 2008
1,437
38
Oregon
Tell her that is what is great about this sport. You can fail more times than you succeed and be a great player. Ruth hit 714 homeruns and led the majors for 40-50 years, but he also struck out roughly 1,500 times. A .400 hitter (which I have not seen in my lifetime) gets a base hit 4 out of 10 at bats, that means 6 times they failed, but they would get into the Hall of Fame.

remember though girls have to feel good about themselves to play well, and boys have to play well to feel good about themselves (not sure where I heard that).
 
Aug 21, 2008
76
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Thanks for your suggestion for a book. I have ordered it and will give it a try.

I appreciate all the input.
 
May 5, 2008
358
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Another great book, Heads Up Baseball - goes over instructions and suggestions on exactly what to do when you feel yourself losing control (among other things). Get it at http://www.allaboutfastpitch.com/HeadsUpBaseball.html

Also, explain to her that she is NOT being a good player when she allows negative thought in, when she allows herself to get down and outwardly show frustration. The best know how to move forward and focus 100% on the next play. Focusing out past outcomes or future results can keep her from giving 100% to what's going on NOW.

www.GetSoftballConfidence.com also has great info including a free mental game newsletter.
I even heard a podcast once about how perfectionism in sports can actually hinder performance. If I find it I'll let you know.
 
Aug 21, 2008
76
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Thanks!

I want to thank those that responded with suggestions and recommendations for books.

My daughter read both books this past week and completed the exercises found in the various chapters.

This weekend, she looked SO MUCH MORE RELAXED at the plate. Consequently, her hitting was fabulous. She actually enjoyed the game and was not quite as serious as she normally is.

Thanks again.

I would highly recommend both identified books.
 

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