Confidence is a fundamental component of a softball player’s success on and off the field. If a player lacks confidence, it will be hard for her to reach her full potential in softball and in everything else she is involved in outside of the diamond.

Softball is a game full of failure. Players need to be taught and learn at a young age that you will likely fail more than you will succeed in this sport. There hasn’t been a single player in history to record a perfect batting average, throw a perfect game every time, steal every base, never make an error, etc. Failure is going to happen over and over again.

Like in any team sport, there are many variables in softball that are outside of the player’s control. Players control themselves; they act and react to the curveballs the game will throw at them. A player’s confidence is built on how they view themselves, and it is pretty common for that confidence to diminish when players do not perform. It is okay to be disappointed based on an outcome; losing and lacking confidence is not good.

Below are three tips to help build a softball player’s confidence on and off the field.

Compliment Yourself: It is so much easier for athletes and females, in general, to pinpoint and knit pick the things they do wrong. We live in a society where people judge others and are criticized for many things, and because of this, we are all guilty of analyzing ourselves every day. We all wake up in the morning and find ourselves in front of a mirror. I challenge every person reading this article to look in the mirror every morning and tell yourself out loud or in your head a positive affirmation. Starting every day off with a compliment to yourself will put your mind at ease, and you will begin to notice how much more rewarding the day will be.

Control Negative Self Talk: It is super easy for athletes and females to have a negative mind. We play a sport that is consumed by pressure situations, and at times, one wrong move can lead to failure. In moments of failure, it is natural for an athlete’s self-talk to become cynical. We are, at times, our own worst critics. This behavior is acceptable to a certain point. When you find yourself in a negative spiral with your self-talk, make sure you still respect yourself. It would help if you never said something to or about yourself that you would be comfortable hearing someone else say about you. It is essential to give yourself and your mind a break and be sure not to spew on one negative outcome when there are countless positives that matter much more.

Celebrate Yourself: It is always fun to watch players play with emotion, passion, and respect for the game. These are the players who fist pump after an out is made, clap for themselves and their teammates on the bases after a hit, cheer their lungs out from the dugout, hustle on and off the field, and always have a smile on their face. The game of softball should never be taken too seriously. If you blast a home run, celebrate it by flying around the bases to meet your teammates at home plate. If you get out of a bases loaded jam on the mound, sprint off the field, and high-five your catcher. Celebrate the little things, and these moments will carry over to the bigger ones. The day you stop having fun is the day you should hang up your cleats.