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How the Psychology of Body Language led a Little League Baseball Team to the Championship Game.

Turning Self Doubt into Confidence.

How the Psychology of Body Language led a Little League Baseball Team to the Championship Game.

Turning Self Doubt into Confidence.

A couple of years ago my youngest son was on the 10 year old All Star Baseball team in Live Oak. My husband was asked to coach.


The team had an amazing first game, crushing their competitors and their chances of making it far in the playoffs looked good.


This was a big deal because Live Oak Little League is like the Bad News Bears of the little leagues. Live Oak had not been to a championship in so long, that no one in the league could remember the last time their All Star team made it. Easily 20+ years.


There was a lot of talk about, could this be the one?


They team went into their second game feeling good, they were playing an inferior team, composed of kids they had easily beat in the main season.


The Live Oak team was playing solid and leading the game until the 4th inning when the outfield began making errors. With each error, you could see the collective frustration building, their shoulders began to turn inward, their heads were down, everything about their energy seemed to slump.


I knew if they didn’t turn around the way they were feeling, they were going to lose that game.


And they did.


They ran out the next inning with low, unsure energy and the game never got better.


That night I talked to my husband about the psychology of body language and how I knew they weren’t going to turn that game around, simply by looking at how they held themselves. I decided to write a speech he could deliver to the kids before the next game.


It went something like this:


What I’m going to tell you is incredibly important. You must pay attention. This is information that will help you in all avenues of life, throughout all of years, let alone the next few hours. These are all proven tips that your favorite professional athletes use day in and day out to get where they want to be in life and play at such an elite level.


Not listening to these tips will put you at a disadvantage.


Do yourself a favor and listen to these five key pieces of advice

1 - Fake it ‘til you make it’ actually has a lot of truth to it.

Research shows that appearing confident makes people perceive you as confident.


Athletes who win competitions show more expansive, open body language than those who lose.


Those who lose exhibit body language that is more defeated – curled inward.


Carry yourself in a way that shows you will succeed -even if you feel completely insecure! If you act like you are confident you will trick your brain into believing it.


You WILL play better.


Improve your posture, make direct eye contact and walk into an event that tells yourself and others – I’ve Got This!!


When YOU are confident and ready, it punctures holes in the confidence of your competition.

2 - Control the negative thought spiral!

Stop and breathe – notice how you are thinking.


Focus on this phrase: No failure, just feedback.


Setbacks are not failure, they are feedback for getting better in the future.


No one expects you to be perfect, but we do hope you’ll learn from your mistakes.


If you make a mistake in the game – shake it off – you did not fail, you just gained some feedback, so relax, smile, learn from the mistake and move on.

3 - Power Pose

Picture a winner and loser standing next to each other. Do they look different?


Winners stand tall, eyes wide open and their arms are often opened up. They are proud of themselves and take the space to show it. They are portraying Power.


Losers stand with their head drooping, shoulders rounded in defeat, taking up a smaller space…. Their bodies are showing Weakness


Everyone stand up and do the classic Wonder Woman pose. Legs Spread. Arms at side. Head up. Chest out.


Hold it – pay attention to how you feel. It takes less than two minutes for the changes to kick in inside your brain and affect your confidence. A power pose not only reflects power, it also CREATES power inside of you.


--- Keep in mind, this is useful for getting yourself in the right mindset but not for using when dealing in your everyday life with friends and such – it will put them off if you’re always power posing in front of them ;-)

4 - Smiling

Smiling is incredibly powerful.


Smiling when you don’t feel like it will change your mood.


Smiling can trick your brain into feeling more positive and therefore more confident.


It’s also proven to make people think you are smarter than you are.


It also will freak out your competition, they’ll wonder what it is you are smiling about…. Use it.

5 - Visualize success

Studies have proven that it is highly effective to visualize yourself doing well at whatever your goal is. Successful athletes use this practice before every game.


It activates the neurons in your brain as actually doing that thing in real life so you’ll have much more confidence and likelihood of succeeding when your turn comes to the plate.


While you’re waiting for the next batter – visualize your success.


Close your eyes. Picture the fly ball coming your way, feel the ball landing in your glove. Feel the perfect throw leave your arm. Feel the perfect swing, the ball slamming against your bat and running for the bases. Feel the exhilaration of you running across home plate.


Picture yourself doing every play amazing. Picture your team winning in victory.


Successful professional athletes around the world do this daily, it can transform your game. If you aren’t doing this yourself, you’re giving your competition an advantage.

After the speech, the kids sat in silence for a full minute, Nate had never seen them collectively be so quiet.


The team went onto the field in a storm of energy and began taking down each team they faced right and left. When they went up against the Goliath of the little league world, and my son faced them off as the main pitcher, he said he could hear my voice in his head – Head up, shoulders back, positive energy.


The team came together in a way that was beautiful to watch, the community rallied behind them and the 10-year-old All Star team took Live Oak to the Championship All Stars Game for the first time in as long as anyone could remember. It was a moment those kids will never forget. And neither will I.


All views are my own and are not reflective of any organization I am a part of

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