Last week, a client and I finished our session with a Wiffle ball game in final preparation for his high school baseball tryouts the next day.
Beyond it being too wet from the rain to hit actual baseballs, I had several purposes in ending this way.
Have you ever known a ball player to not have fun playing wiffle ball?
Have you ever known a ball player to feel pressure playing wiffle ball?
If you have they need to find a new sport or regain their imagination.
Anyways, I figured going into his tryout the preparation was done and the two things he should be focused on that would allow his abilities to shine were competing and having fun.
So after he (a high school freshman) jumped out to an 4-0 lead in the first inning of a two inning affair via a grand slam over the wet nets of the tennis courts…I think he was at least having fun.
…I hadn’t hit yet.
But my first at-bats weren’t promising as I went 3 up 3 down. Was I Worried? Nope. Still having fun. Still competing. Still believing.
Going into the final inning of our showdown the howling winds picked up on cue as if they were the screaming bleacher creature fans of Yankee Stadium. And the grounds crew let us know a storm was approaching via heavier rain drops lighting up our foreheads.
Nevertheless…the game went on.
Even with poor ghost umpire calls going against him, to help him learn to control his responses when things aren’t going his way, he still managed to score 4 more runs in the top of the 2nd. And yes, I was seriously trying. When I compete I don’t care if you’re a 3 year old playing Candy Land…I’m going to beat you.
Back to the game…8-0 bad guys. And I was up…
I thought to myself, “If there’s any pressure to be had, if such a thing exists, it’s gotta be on him…I’m expected to lose.”
All the sudden…8-1, 8-2, 8-4 still no outs. 8-6…one out. 8-7…two outs…
Could it have been drawn up any better? Bottom of the 9th (or 2nd) down by one, two outs, best hitter in the world against a kid. I liked my odds.
As he came set and delivered the pitch…whack! A long towering 20ft drive…going back, going back with rain drops beating it down vehemently…aaaand NO WAY!
He makes the catch over the tennis court net robbing me of a game-tying HR and securing the victory!
Too bad it didn’t work out that way for the Atlanta Falcons:)))))
I wasn’t happy about it. But smiled, looked him in the eye, and shook his hand.
You gotta believe…in Wiffle Ball.
On the drive home (Yes I let him sit in the front seat) we talked about some takeaways:
- When playing Wiffle Ball we tend to use our imaginations to raise the stakes to MLB’s biggest stages.
- When playing on the biggest stages…we must find a way to imagine we’re just having fun playing wiffle ball.
- When your lead quickly evaporates you’ll be tempted to doubt yourself and your abilities. Don’t do that. Dig in and compete.
- When you’re making a comeback put your confidence in your fundamentals. Stay within yourself and continue to play one pitch at a time. AND BELIEVE.
- Take all the pleasure in letting them feel the pressure.
- Go compete and have fun doing it. Don’t crumble in those moments. Live for them.
- And…don’t get beat by a 14 year old. Unless he has tryouts the next day:)