Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fighting a Slump

One of my favorite parts of The 10 Commandments of Baseball is a very brief section on "running 'em out" in which fighting off a slump is discussed. There is nothing more frustrating for an athlete than a slump. Suddenly, a good hitter just can't "buy a hit" or a good pitcher seems to have "lost his or her stuff." It seems the harder the player tries, the worse it gets. A slump can make the news and be a sore subject with a coach who is asked daily about when so and so is going to "come out of it."

How do you get out of a slump and regain your confidence? You don't put a lot of pressure on yourself to somehow get more hits or pitch better. You work on the basics. Are you practicing good mechanics? How's your footwork? Are you swinging level? You go back and practice the basics, over and over again until you are sure you have them right. Once you have confidence that your fundamentals are in order, your game comes back.

I think it's one of those sports lessons that can also help us in other pursuits as well. If things aren't working well, maybe its time to look at the basics rather than focus on improving at what we are doing. We can break things down and work on the fundamentals and go from there. It's not rocket science, but it's one of those good sense ideas that can help us be more successful.

The 10 Commandments of Baseball: An Affectionate Look at Joe McCarthy's Principles for Success in Baseball (and Life) is available from Sporting Chance Press.
Library of Congress Bain Collection, image of Walter Allen Blair of the NY Highlanders in 1909 working on his fundamentals.

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