“Courage isn’t something you’re born with; it’s something you train for,” said record-setting deep-sea free-diver Tanya Streeter. Free-diving entails descending to significant depths, and returning to the surface, on a single breath of air without the use of scuba equipment – Streeter’s record is 525 feet.
Free-divers push the boundaries of human potential in the unforgiving arena of deep and dangerous waters. A miscalculation or error results in panic, which burns precious oxygen. Lack of oxygen leads to extreme mental anguish at a minimum, and injury or even death is not uncommon.
Hitting a baseball requires similar courage, of a different sort. Standing at home plate against a great pitcher has its own set of pressures. For example, a young batter crumbles under the isolation of being alone at the plate. It’s batter versus pitcher with no help from anyone else. Another batter bows to the fear of being struck by a baseball; he becomes paralyzed by that thought and wants no part of swinging at a pitch. He just wants the at-bat to end so he can return to the bench. Another batter succumbs to a fear of striking out. With his focus on that negative outcome, he defeats himself before a pitch is thrown. Fear and doubt drown courage.
The solution? Like Streeter, train for courage. Use every pitch as an opportunity to develop the courage to perform at your best. Volunteer for the toughest drills; face the finest pitchers; dive into the possibility of failure; drown your fear of being hit by a pitch. Gain strength in the knowledge that most young pitchers are just as scared as you! Dare to descend beneath the surface of your fears, and discover the calm and peaceful depths of your bottomless potential.