Baseball is a grind. The season is long, the weeks are full, and the games take hours. Finding motivation can be a challenge for even the most elite ballplayers. But being motivated helps boost energy levels, creates confidence, intensifies practice and fuels passion for the game. So, how do you push yourself through mid-season lulls, slumps or low energy levels?
Mental training offers a plethora of skills to support the development and maintenance of motivation, beginning at the most basic level: creating a mission statement.
The goal of a mission statement is to inspire and motivate its creator. It is a short statement, phrase, design or acronym that sums up what you love most about your sport. Once you have it, place your mission statement in a place where it can inspire you—on both good and bad days.
To create a mission statement, start by making a list of everything that comes to mind when you think about baseball (or your sport). The list can include anything from feelings to other people to future goals.
Next, circle the three words or phrases that mean the most to you, and write them in a separate area. They need not be related in any way. Then, using the three words or phrases, draft your own mission statement. Be as creative as you wish.
Examples of mission statements you may have heard include the adidas tagline, "All day I dream about sports," or Nike's "Just do it." Make your mission statement truly personal. It's yours alone and needs to have meaning only to you.
Here is another example that might help. One of my athletes chose "sweat, challenge and success" as his three words. He then combined the words into a design, which he wrote on his shoe and made into a necklace. He liked the fact that his design looked like a bull, viewing it as a sign of strength.
Finally, think about where you will place your mission statement. It should be in a location that you see frequently or can access easily when you are having a not-so-great day—for example, your alarm clock, bathroom mirror, locker, gym bag or shoe. Each time you see it, your mission statement should remind you of the three reasons why you love your sport.
Don't let the grind of a long season reduce your passion for your sport. Being as good as you can be takes an overwhelming amount of motivation. Let your mission statement support you in your efforts and make a daily difference in your performance.
Christine Rickertsen is a mental training consultant currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area. After receiving her master’s degree in sport psychology, she started a consulting business designed to help athletes. She’s had the opportunity to work with an increasingly diverse population of athletes and teams. Visit her website at selfmadeathlete.wordpress.com.