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Negative vs. Positive Phrases in Coaching Youth Baseball

images-1“Don’t use don’t?”

This entry is dedicated to an old high school baseball coach who implemented a rule unto his players.  He stated we will not encourage or instruct starting with a negative.  For example:

“Don’t be too aggressive”

“Don’t take a called third strike.”

“Don’t let anything get by you with a base runner on third.”

“Don’t think too much, just have fun.”

“Don’t get fooled on this curveball.”

“Don’t miss up with your fastball.”

This list can go on and on and every reader can probably add two or three to an ever growing list.

The question is – why don’t use don’t?

Too often the first word we say sets the tone for the intended encouragement.  When a player hears a word with a negative connotation like “don’t” their brainwaves stop thinking positively and start thinking about doing something wrong.  

Often times, the result of the play on the field might have nothing to do with the encouragement given by teammates or coaches.  But, sometimes the result is directly affected and many spectators will never know why it occurred.

Putting a negative thought into a young player’s minds, even if it is meant as positive immediately makes the player think about the bad result.

A player hears “don’t get fooled by the curveball,” and immediately thinks about swinging and missing at the curveball or their knees buckling on a good twelve to six curveball.

Instead “stay back on the curveball” or “see the curveball out of his hand” or “be aggressive.”

So much of this game is based on split second reactions and too often the mind needs to be thinking positively about the situation for the body to react quickly.

Even if the intended message is positive, the way it is delivered is more important.

Until Next Time,

Chad

 

 

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