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Why baseball can teach us patience

As athletes, we all experience failure at some point in our sporting journey. Whether it's missing a shot, dropping a catch or losing a game, setbacks are a part of the process. However, it's how we respond to failure that can make all the difference. As the high performance and Rehab Partners of the Brisbane Bandits Baseball team, Resistance Sports Science has learned a lot from working with these athletes. There are many lessons that can be applied to other sports, particularly in the areas of frustration and patience. Even the best Baseball players in the world fail to hit the ball more often than they succeed. However, what sets baseball apart from other sports is how players handle failure.

A baseball athlete looking to hit an incoming baseball, standing on a baseball field at the hitting plate. The hitter is wearing white with red sleeves and helmet and behind him is the catcher in clue and the referee in black.
Baseball Athlete Hitting

In Baseball, athletes who fail more often than they succeed must learn to control their frustration and maintain a positive attitude, often in front of large crowds. This can lead to feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, and frustration, which can negatively impact performance. However, the best players in baseball have learned to manage these emotions and maintain focus and composure, even in the face of failure. They understand that a lack of patience and frustration can lead to further failure. This skill is something that athletes in all sports can benefit from. In todays sporting culture, dealing with failure is rarely taught and can completely blindsight an athlete from competing at their best.

Baseball teaches athletes the importance of taking things one pitch at a time, one at-bat at a time, and one game at a time. This mindset allows athletes to stay focused on the task at hand and not get overwhelmed by the bigger picture. It also helps athletes maintain a positive attitude and avoid becoming overwhelmed by negative emotions.

Another valuable lesson that can be learned from Baseball is the importance of perseverance. Baseball players must learn to persist even in the face of repeated failures. They must learn to bounce back from setbacks, adapt to changes, and stay committed to their goals. This type of perseverance is essential in any sport, where athletes must continually push themselves to improve and overcome obstacles.

For example, an AFL player who misses a shot at goal or a netball athlete who misses several shots in a row can become frustrated and let it affect their performance. However, if they learn to control their frustration and maintain a positive attitude, they can increase their chances of success.

In basketball, a player may miss several consecutive shots from the field or the free-throw line. They may feel frustrated and become distracted by negative thoughts, such as "I'm letting my team down" or "I'm just not good enough." To overcome this, athletes can focus on their breathing and use positive self-talk, such as "I can make the next one" or "I've made this shot before." They can also use visualisation techniques, picturing themselves making the shot and feeling the satisfaction of success.

In soccer, a player may miss a penalty kick or make a costly error that results in a goal for the opposing team. They may feel overwhelmed by negative emotions and find it challenging to stay focused and positive. To overcome this, athletes can use mindfulness techniques, such as focusing on the present moment and letting go of negative thoughts. They can also use goal-setting strategies, breaking down their performance into small, achievable steps and focusing on the process rather than the outcome.

So, what can athletes do to improve their frustration management skills? Here are a few quick tips:

  1. Take a deep breath: When we become frustrated, our bodies tense up and our breathing becomes shallow. Taking a deep breath can help to relax the body and calm the mind.

  2. Reframe the situation: Instead of viewing failure as a negative, try to see it as an opportunity for growth and learning. Ask yourself, "What can I learn from this experience?"

  3. Focus on the process: Instead of getting caught up in the end result, focus on the process. What steps can you take to improve your performance next time?

  4. Stay positive: Maintain a positive attitude, even in the face of failure. Believe in yourself and your ability to improve.

  5. We highly encourage athletes to read our "Improve Your Mindset, Improve Your Performance Article" for a deeper understanding on mindfulness, meditation, sleep and visualisation in sport.

At Resistance Sports Science, we believe that failure can be a powerful teacher. By learning to control our frustration and maintain a positive attitude, we can improve our performance and achieve our goals. When delivering Strength and Conditioning to Baseball athletes or returning them to performance after injury, our athletes and coaches work seamlessly together to maximise baseball athletic performance. Thank you to the Brisbane Bandits Baseball , for teaching us these valuable lessons and for another successful season!


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