Does your child experience baseball fears and anxieties? Do they experience nervousness when the lights come on during the game? In youth league play, baseball players often experience fear and anxieties which cause nervousness and often leave them unable to perform at their top ability. These anxieties can be a combination of fears in several areas such as:
- Fear of getting hit with the ball.
- Fear of being injured.
- Fear of striking out.
- Fear of being made fun of.
- Fear of failure.
- Fear of being yelled at by adults or other players.
These fears are real to young players even though we as adults may not recognize them.
The anxieties keep a young player from relaxing and performing well. I have witnessed players with excellent abilities unable to perform in a game due to their anxieties or stage fright? During practices there are no problems, but when they get into a game they become overwhelmed with fear and crumble to pieces.
What causes this anxiety? Is it the crowd? Is it the noise level? Is it the opponent? Is it the child's perception of adults that are yelling instructions as being critical? Is it the fear of not being accepted?
Coaches and parents should recognize the symptoms of such anxieties and know how to deal with them. One of the problems we have as adults is trying to apply adult rationalization and reason with a younger child. This reasoning seems logical to us as adults, but to a young player, it doesn't erase their fears and anxieties. In fact, it may cause some frustration on the part of both the player and the parent/coach that can not get the child to relax and concentrate on the game.
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