Momentum is commonly discuss in athletics. Usually the team that maintains the momentum the longest during the game ends up winning the game. Coaches are always searching for ways to create momentum. Which leads us to a very important questions, How does a team get momentum?
Momentum is built by the team that thinks they have it. It doesn’t always take a big play to get it. Often teams show up, warm up, and already have it. So, what is it and how do you build the conception of having it?
I believe the main way to display momentum is to control and display positive body language. The teams that has players with positive body language even during tough innings are dangerous. Dangerous teams can beat anyone on any given day. They never give up, hence the danger.
During Warm up
This is the most crucial time to display confident body language. Not only for the players, but also the Coach. Good teams practice their warm up to make sure they do so efficiently and with confidence.
This may be the only time that the opponent has seen you play. If your warm up looks poor, then they expect to beat you. They just gained a little momentum. Do not allow them to get any fuel by watching a poor warm up.
On the Mound
Pitching is my favorite form of competition. Its you and the batter. You can through a perfect pitch and still get jacked or through a mistake he fans it. The strike zone is small enough that you have to deliver a hitable pitch. I feel body language is the number one difference between a thrower and a pitcher.
The hitter and his teammates all have their eye on you. You got the ball. A lack of confidence can give them the extra boost they need. Getting in a pitchers head is easy to do if the pitcher doesn’t practice on body language during pressure moments.
In the Batters Box
This is the chance for the pitcher to read you. A good pitcher or coach will be able to pick up your intentions by your body language. I remember being on the mound and having a good idea whether I thought the batter was going to swing or not, based on their approach to the box. Also, being able to read where he liked the ball based on his practice swing. The was always something I could pick up from a batter in the batters box or on deck circle. That gave me an edge.
In the Dugout
Don’t give the other team something to feed off of. Laziness and pouting in the dugout is the easiest way to let the other team know that you are out of the game. On top of that, the negative energy will role over to your other teammates. Whether you are in the game or not you should be standing up, near the fence, and supporting your own team.
I say supporting your own team, because often I see players yelling at the other teams. Making fun or trying to distract the other team can only hurt you. It may seem harmless and fun in the moment, but in the end you are only firing them up and making yourself look like a jerk.
At the End of the Game
The other day I saw a tweet by a coach. It was something in the regards of “If you’re not hated, then you most likely not wining”. I really hope this coach doesn’t use the level of hate to measure the level of success in his program. If you are hated, I strongly encourage you to self reflect or ask someone why. I guarantee the main reason is not because you beat some one in a game. But in the way you beat them.
Sportsmanship is often talked about but often not enforced. I have fell victim to emotion in times where I should of enforced sportsmanship and character. This coming season my goal is to have the most respected group of young student athletes in our league. Not only respected by wins, but by how they carry themselves on and off the field.
How you handle wins and losses after a game may be the most crucial teaching moment for your athletes. Make sure step back breath before you become a bad example as a player, coach, or parent. We all have a role in developing our young athletes as contributing members to our society.