Positional players must recognize, defensively, it is their job to help the pitcher reduce their pitch count.
We have all witnessed, or worse, maybe participated in a game where an error on the routine play results in a rally for the other team. I must admit I hate the one where you mentally hear “circus music” versus a feeling of confidence going after a foul ball and a chance to get their best hitter out. Nope! Too many times our “inner self” is saying, “I hope the other player calls it!” We end up running in circles. Yep, send in the clowns.
Don’t you hate the simple foul pop-up near the fence where the player seems to drift over, as if they are lining themselves up in S-L-O-W motion? First they go left, then they drift right, then in anticipation of running into the fence, they pull back; only to have the ball drop between them and the fence. It never fails, the next pitch he hits a bomb. “Don’t you hate the circus?”
So next time the ball is popped up, sprint to the fence, grab it with your throwing hand, turn and find the ball. Remember this is a pop up, which means, once you eliminate the fear of running into the fence, ah, that Zen feeling. With the panic feeling gone catch the ball like you have done a million times before. Look up, find the ball and react. No need for clowns here! You have three simple choices:
1. Stays put and catch the ball at the fence.
2. Under control, slowly drift away from the fence towards the ball and make the catch
3. Climb or reach over the fence and make a spectacular catch – now we’re talking ESPN music!
Catching “pop-ups” has as much to do with “success” as it does with “failure.” The more success some athletes have the more they are afraid to fail. Think about, as coaches, parents, and players we spend the majority of our time discussing (sometimes yelling) failure and other than kudos, we spending zero time explaining to athletes how to deal with success. It is scary when you start to question, “Am I good, or just lucky?”
So before you send in the clowns check out Glenn Moores’ “Handbook for Success.” It will help you deal with Success and Failure.
Until next Blog,