Are You Prepared for the Big Moment?
It is rare that we can enjoy the magnitude of a game 7 in the World Series. As we anticipate watching a big game like this as a young player, we often miss an opportunity to improve our ability to handle the pressure of the “game of your life”.
- Every young player should ask themselves the following “What if” questions while watching the game tonight:
- What if I were preparing to play in Game 7 of the World Series?
- What would I do the day of the game?
- What would the crowd sound like during the game?
- How would I be able to communicate with my teammates during a play with all of the crowd noise? Reference Game 6, 1st inning in the Indians outfield.
- What if I had to pitch to Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant? What pitches would I throw? Imagine yourself making great pitches and getting them out.
- How would I be able to control my emotions and excitement during the game?
- How would I be able to keep my focus in the moment rather than the importance of the game?
- What if I were up to the plate in the 8th inning of this game, down by one and Aroldis Chapman is pitching? How could I control my breathing and feel confortable in the batters box? What strategies could I use to catch up to a 100 MPH fastball?
Answering these questions, among many others you could ask yourself, is a great way to prepare yourself for a big game environment. In these games on a big stage, the hardest part is not the game itself, but how to manage the environment surrounding the game. The pre-game excitement is very different; the crowd noise is vastly different. Each moment in the game takes on an importance that is invigorating and exhausting at the same time.
The key to handling these situations is simply having the ability to stay calm and play the game without distraction. If you are prepared for the environment, and you can eliminate the environmental surprises during a big game, you can focus on the competition of the game itself.
This is what great players do. They are able to weed out the distractions and focus on why they are there, to compete on the field against other great players and teams. Simulating these situations in your head, putting yourself in World Series, game 7- while watching the game, taking batting practice, throwing a bullpen, or playing wiffle ball in the backyard are all ways to help you prepare for the big sports moments in your life.
Great players do not wait for someone to get them prepared….they prepare themselves over and over again…until it actually happens.
Challenge yourself to watch the game tonight differently…and prepare yourself for the big games that are coming up in your career.
— Brad Woodall
Owner, Woodall Baseball Academy and Silver Sluggers Baseball