Saturday, May 11, 2013

Batter Up!

Sometimes life throws fast balls that are just hard to dodge. Split second choices make you hit the dirt or take the blow for the team.

Whether you're eating sand or shaking off the pain, you know that this won't be the last fast ball rocketed in your direction. 

When my son played Little League baseball he and a few other players had taken a few blows from a wild pitch. Staying in the box is a hard thing for a young player and requires some mental reconditioning. 

Mom confession time...I wish we could encase our kids in bubble wrap. Really. While new safety measures are being designed every season there is always the risk of injury.

I can't recall what method worked for my son so I just looked up some ideas. There are so many baseball sites out there with valuable advice. Good and not so good. Even the "not so good" comments really make me appreciate my son's old coaches all the more!

Most tips were very sincere in understanding the mental anguish part. I think that's probably smart. It's hard to fix something until you recognize the grasp that fear has on moving forward. Patience with a player seemed to be first on most tip lists.

Tips included:

  • Have the player stand behind a chain link fence and pitch to him/her
  • Have the player wear a glove to catch the ball. This would give the player confidence in judging when the ball would cross the plate. 
  • Teach the player how to roll his body away from the pitches defensibly. 
  • Build a wooden "box" for the player to hold his feet in.  

The "not so good" tip I read was to just keep hitting the kid with the ball until he doesn't fear it anymore. The coach added that it seemed counter productive. Ya think?

In passing my son just added that he was helped by a team mate. He told him to just slow down time. My son said that by pretending the ball was coming in slow motion it helped him keep a better eye on the ball. He was able to connect the bat with the ball more effectively which alleviated his fear of being hit.

These tips translate pretty smoothly into great life lessons too. Is life making it hard for you to stay in the box?

I have been there. In fact, I find myself dodging the fast balls a lot these days. I know what my triggers are for Sjogren's and once you've been whopped by one of those flares it makes you run like hell at the thought of another. I'm not only out of the box- I'm out of the diamond, passed the bleachers and in the car. Belted up.

So let's look at those great tips again:

  • Maybe we can learn to ask for help, our chain link fence support system.
  • Learn to catch those life lessons the first time so that the next time there will be a bank of confidence built up. 
  • Learn how to roll with life. Be flexible. Be ready for anything. Life's not always hard hits.  
  • Stand steady and firm in your own beliefs. Your footing and foundation are everything. 
  • Last, slow it down. Take time to notice every frame of your life. 

Life's gonna throw tough pitches, wild pitches and will even smack us from time to time. But if we can stick it in the box and make that gratifying connection to the bat. Crack! Whoosh! Watch that beautiful ball loft it's way up...and up...and up...and OVER THE FENCE! 

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