Playing tough against great teams, but mediocre against average teams is a sign that there’s more work to be done, both physical and mentally.
Would you agree?
I wanted to dive into this a bit more for you, plus provide a free resource to help you improve consistency at the end of this post.
Thankfully, there are ways to combat this!
One of the first things that comes to seeing inconsistency in performance is mindset. There’s likely something going on with the way an athlete is looking at, or thinking about, things that’s contributing to this issue. It could be how they’re thinking about the game, their opponent, practices, themselves, etc.
I’ll explain more in a minute.
Another issue that’s often creating inconsistency in performance is focus. Often times, when we see this happening, an athlete/team is directing too much of their focus on the other team, on the other pitcher, on the circumstances of the game (on the weather, the umpires, whether or not a certain teammate is playing, etc.) in other words, on things outside of their control.
One hint that this is when you hear a bunch of worried discussion about the other team or the other pitcher or a certain hitter. It’s not just sharing a matter of fact “scouting report” with teammates. It has more of an “oh no” feeling to it about all these almost impossible to defeat weapons the other team has. In these situations, they’re more focused on the uncontrollables instead of staying focused on things they *can* control.
Which brings me to approach.
For me, all of this boils down to approach.
Consistency in approach leads to consistency in performance.
Read that again. How you do what you do matters!
How you practice … How you think about the game or your opponent (even about practice) … How you show up to practices and games (the energy you bring) … How you talk about what it is you talk about. And so on and so forth.
How are you approaching practices and games?
That includes how you’re looking at, or thinking about, your training and competition. It includes how you’re looking at or thinking about your opponent (are they a “tough” opponent or a “weaker” one?) or the circumstances of the game (is it “just a scrimmage” or is it a “big game?”).
Are you bringing your intensity, focus, best attitude, and best effort to everypractice? Or just the ones before the “big game?” Are you in “Game On” mode for every game? Or just the “important” ones? Are you loose and relaxed and playing freely for all games? Or just the ones you’re pretty sure you can win?
And do you have the same approach to practices that you do in games? For example, if a player tends to be very focused, serious, and intense in games … is that how they practice? Or are they all loosey goosey and carefree in practice, but then want to “buckle down” and be all serious in games? It’s not going to work. There’s a disconnect there.
There’s no consistency in how they approach practices and games. Or maybe an athlete is the loosey goosey, easy going, laid back and relaxed kind of athlete, but for whatever reason, they try to be all serious and super intense in practices. Again, no consistency and congruence between how they are in practices vs how they are in games.
And this isn’t just for athletes either!
How are YOU, as a coach or parent, approaching these same things? Are you consistent? Or is there more intensity and focus and preparedness, on your part, for some opponents vs others. More intensity and focus and preparedness during certain parts of the season than others? How you approach the game, day in and day out, can very much influence the approach your athlete/team has.
Because remember, you might teach them what you know, but you will reproduce what you ARE. So your attitude and mindset and effort and focus and perspective and how you go about what you do … it matters.
Remember this, incorporate it, and you’ll begin to see a difference in how things play out in competition 😉
Alright, last but not least, that free resource I promised you at the start of this email … Mental Sweet Spot has a number of episodes in their podcast about consistency. This one is, literally, titled How to Improve Consistency 🙂