“WHITE-LINE FEVER”

4 06 2014

field

“White-line fever,” or a decrease in performance once competition starts, is all too common in the baseball world. Almost every ballplayer at one point or another has experienced this sudden and often dramatic drop in performance between practice and competition. The ability to fight white-line fever and remain consistent is often the trait that separates the most successful players from the rest. Unlock your potential by learning how to become a more consistent athlete through mental preparation.

In our last article on white-line fever, we discussed a quick trick to reducing anxiety during competition. However, your mental preparation should start well before you show up to the yard. Get yourself in the right mindset by creating a pre-performance routine. Pre-performance routines should consist of both mental and physical skills designed specifically for your personality, time allotment, and controllability. Let’s look at each of these factors in a bit more depth.

Personality: You’re not the same person as any of your teammates, so your pre-performance routine should be unique. Some players like to be very social in preparation for performance while others tend to be more comfortable in silence. Pre-performance routines are designed to help you feel comfortable, so find one that fits your personality type, no matter what your teammates are doing.

Time: It’s nice to have plenty of time to prepare before a game, but we don’t always get to control our pre-performance timetable. Maybe your bus arrives to the game late or you have an injury that needs to be taped up. Because outside factors may shorten your preparation time, it’s important to have a “go-to” preparation routine you can turn to if you’re low on time. This preparation routine is usually just an abbreviated (“must-haves”) version of your longer and more thorough routine. Always expect the unexpected, and you’ll never be unprepared.

Complete: When create a routine pieces should be included that target your thoughts, emotions, and physiology. Have preplanned effective thoughts to keep your mind focused on the present and what you want to do instead of what you don’t want to do. To often we leave our thoughts up to chance and allow them to be altered by our environment, conditions, etc. We will talk more about emotional priming next week. Research is showing that we perform up to 15% better simply by targeting the most effective emotion! And finally, your physiology. Feeling comfortable has less to do with how we are feeling and more to do with WHAT WE THINK ABOUT HOW WE FEEL. Watch in following weeks for more information about both emotion and physiology.

Control: It’s important that you control your routine and it doesn’t control you. If you’re unable to work through your pre-performance routine, your game shouldn’t suffer. Routines are designed to help you feel comfortable and when we are comfortable we perform better. However, they shouldn’t turn into a superstition, you are still have the same skill set with or without your routine. If your routine gets interrupted, rely on your skills for performance.

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