Just gonna let it all out here. haha. i’m a sophomore with a strong senior class at my school. there’s no room on varsity although i’ve been told i could be pulled up maybe mid season if i perform well. couple problems, this is my second year on jv, i love baseball. its about as close to an obsession as you can get, but the second year at this level is making me question my ability and things such as that. i pitched three innings today against probably the best jv team in the state other than ours and struck out nine in three innings. completely dominated. the only problem is that its not much of an accomplishment because its just jv baseball in vermont. any thoughts on how i could increase my motivation and confidence? might be a stupid question. its just a frustrating experience because i can’t improve. i can’t pitch to contact because my fielding is at best erratic. only 3 or 4 kids on the team actually care heavily about baseball. so here i am trying to strike everybody out, throwing a ton of pitches, and not improving due to competition and my team support. any thoughts? thanks. don’t want to seem like a whiner. just spouting off a little i guess. frustrating experience
Sometimes I’m just not sure if what I’m about to say will hit the bullseye or not. But here goes…
I read your post and immediately thought of myself. My dad, who worked at the mill from 7 -3 , ate dinner at 4:30 every day on the nose and whose prized possession was his Gibson guitar would before going to bed check on both his sons and say something like, “Dino what’s on that mind of yours tonight?” That usually illicited a complaint about life’s unfair treatment and predjudices. To which he responded more often than I can count, “You got to pay your dues.”
Over time I learned that his response was not merely meant to say “quit your whining.” It was meant to say something like this…
In life’s efforts you start somewhere, usually its lower than you think you deserve. You start to put in alot of time and effort doing menial things to achieve your goal. Even in this world of instant gratification nothing really comes easy. So you work. And at times you have to make decisions based on your morals and values. You might refuse to take a shortcut to the top and that might delay your arrival. You might value your long term accomplishment over short term pleasure. So you work. You suffer setbacks that are not your doing. So you work. And when you finally arrive you recognize how really important it was to your personal pride to actually “pay your dues.” When you do achieve your goal having earned it and not been given it…it tastes so much sweeter.
And that is what my dad taught me by watching him, day in and day out. All he ever said to me was, “You gotta pay your dues.”
thanks thats exactly what i was looking for. i’ll just have to get after those seniors and see if i can’t make myself into someone who clearly deserves a varsity spot, not just a bubble guy looking to squeak on. thanks for the thoughts
The old "sophomore slump."
I’ve seen that happen to a lot of players who have a terrific rookie year and then, when the second year comes around, can’t find the plate or hit the ball out of the infield. My guess is that they did too much in their first year and used up all the gas in the tank. I don’t know exactly what it is—but I can guess that something caught up with them, either the hitters are getting a very good read on the pitcher or the batter’s weakness has been exposed. In either case, they slump.
In an article I wrote for the Baseball Research Journal some years back I expounded on the psychology of the hitting slump. I speculated that the batter suddenly starts going 0-for-5, 0-for-15, 0-for-30—and it all ties in with a psychological truth called the “law of reversed effect” which simply states that the harder one tries to do something—anything—the tougher it gets. The same thing would be true of a pitcher who has a great rookie season and then suddenly in his sophomore year can’t find the plate to save himself—his stuff isn’t working, he walks the ball park, his control in effect deserts him—and he doesn’t know why.
Many experienced pitchers—and pitching coaches—have a solution to the problem. STOP TRYING! If you’re a hitter, just get the bat on the ball, or let the ball hit the bat. Don’t swing at anything—just take the pitches as they come. Just getting on first base via a walk is a step in the right direction. If you’re a pitcher, don’t try to get the ball over the plate, and don’t try to hit the corners. Just throw the bleeping ball, and somewhere along the line the batter will get himself out. And just as suddenly as the slump began, it’ll be over, and all because you didn’t try to do anything. Things have a way of straightening themselves out.
Maybe this sounds simple—but very often the most complex, the most problematical situations, have simple, uncomplicated solutions. So—if you’re up against this particular problem, just step back and take a look at it from a distance. And somewhere along the line an answer will jump out at you. 8)