|3 Slump Busting Drills
|By: Cindy Bristow
Provided by: Softball Excellence
Slumps are things you want to either avoid at all costs, or get out of as quickly as possible. But how? Thanks to Jeff Ellsworth, a member of Canada's Men's National Team, I've got a couple great drills for actually practicing how to mentally deal with being in a slump, which helps you break out quicker.
What makes slumps so hard to deal with is the frustration that comes with going O-fer. While in a slump, you're probably hitting the ball, and sometimes hitting it pretty hard, but nothing is dropping in for a basehit. It doesn't take long and that starts to be frustrating, and now you've got two problems; not getting base hits and a bad mindset.
So, a great way to practice getting out of a slump is to practice getting into that same frustrated mindset to allow you to work on changing it. By putting your players in a position to struggle you can help them practice switching their minds from frustrated to solutions-oriented.
So, let's look at some drills to help your players tackle slump-busting:
(1) Max Machine:
• Put your pitching machine on its fastest speed and place it at 30 feet.
• This will be SUPER hard, and no doubt super frustrating.
• Do your best.
(2) 0-2 Out:
• This will be off live pitching or front toss.
• Your hitters start with an 0-2 count, but if they foul the ball off - they're out!
(3) Change Your Channel:
• Put these slump-busting drills in the first-half of practice so your players start off frustrated.
• Then help your players literally "Change Your Channel" for the 2nd half! This might include some deep breathing or their favorite drill off the T – but releasing their frustrated mindset is something they CAN practice, and change.
Keep in mind that the purpose of these drills is to quickly and immediately put your players into that same frustrated mindset that accompanies players in slumps. Once your players learn to control their minds and how they're responding while struggling at the plate, they'll be in a better position to turn their slump around.
To break out of a slump players need to change their mindset, hit the refresh button, breathe and flush out the bad…whatever their approach, players need to learn that frustration can be released instead of avoided!