It's that time of year again.  Softball tryouts are taking place across the country and with them many aspiring players are experiencing serious anxieties.  It’s perfectly normal, but can be debilitating and lead to markedly underperforming.  Tryouts would not be a good time for this. 

So, here’s an attempt to ease some worried minds as Eric Clapton begged of Layla.

Nervous?

If a player is anxious about tryouts they should first figure out why.  Have they not been practicing as much as they could have?  Do they feel less talented than the other girls?  Are they concerned they won’t make the highest level team, like varsity rather than junior varsity?  Are they worried about facing their social circles in the event of their perceived failure?

The first thing to remember is that worrying about things one cannot control is a waste of time and energy.   They can control their attitude, focus and effort, such as their preparation, hustle and demeanor.  That is all they should be concerned with.  They cannot control whether other players are more skillful or athletic, if their position is open for competition or how their peers and acquaintances may judge or treat them.

Focus on the task at hand...NOT the big picture.

Acceptance

What is the worst case scenario and what if it happened?  This answer may be different for every player.  Getting cut is the ultimate bad outcome.  However, for some players being placed on the junior varsity team may be extremely disappointing.  Regardless, what’s done is done and they’ll have to accept their fate.  They can either find another interest to pursue or continue to work towards their goals for the next season.  It’s this mindset or attitude that is necessary for them to properly deal with the setback.  

Nothing good will come from dwelling upon their misfortune, placing blame on the powers that be or playing the victim.  They need to build a bridge and get over it.  Often is the case that they’re definition of success was unrealistic leading to unattainable goals.  There are numerous articles which discuss dealing with failure throughout this web site and you’ll find words of wisdom from John Wooden about defining success in the article: The Proper Perspective & Humility.  

When tryouts are over I'll know I left it all on the field!

Bottom Line

If the player has practiced as much as possible for tryouts, then they should realize this and give themselves a big pat on the back.  They’ve taken care of the controllables.  They should mentally prepare themselves for tryouts with a little self-talk like, “I’ve worked hard to be the best I can be.  I am not perfect and won’t be at tryouts.  But, I will hustle and not get down on myself.  When I make a mistake or swing and miss, I will focus only on getting the next one.  I will smile and show them that there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.  I will be upbeat, happy and encourage all of those around me.  I will give it my all.  When tryouts are over I will walk away knowing I left it all on the field.  No regrets.”

When they walk into tryouts their hearts will be racing and the adrenaline will flow.  This is a good time to close their eyes and take a couple of deep breaths.  They should realize that after a the first 15 minutes or so, after they've warmed up ran around some, this rush will ease.  If they simply continue to focus on the task at hand, such as fielding grounders or hitting off the tee, and NOT think about the big picture, they will be fine. Focus on being the best they can be and not about anybody else.

And relax, don't worry....cuz every little thing is gonna be alright...

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