My daughter Gabby is 13 and plays softball. They have a pretty salty team finishing 7th in the World Series in Orlando last year. (Not bad for a scrappy team from a small town.) Gabby is a lights out center fielder earning her the nickname “Hoover” as she sweeps up anything that comes her way. But on the offensive side she has had some challenges. Gabby has worked with a few different hitting coaches that didn’t help all that much because her issue wasn’t just mechanical; it was mental. She really believed she could do well at the plate but it wasn’t happening.
Gabby started working with Travis Noel, her new hitting coach, at the beginning of this season. Travis did a great job of connecting with Gabby right away, gaining her trust. He would always start his training sessions giving her a hard time about something to make it fun, and to get her out of her own head and it worked. Gabby hit the ball harder than she ever has, placing it deep in the outfield and delivering her best performance at the plate. Her comment to me on the ride home was, “Now I KNOW what I can do. I never realized how hard I could hit the ball.” I knew right away what my next blog post was going to be.
The point here is that BELIEVING in yourself is critical to success. Winning over a long period of time doesn’t happen if you don’t believe you can pull it off. But KNOWING you can do it takes you to an entirely different place. Gabby believed she could do it, but never really knew what she was capable of. “Knowing” comes after you have had some success. Only then can you call on that experience to drive your belief even deeper.
A good friend of mine, Barry Kahn, turned 40 before I did so I asked him if it was a big deal and his response was, “Not really. The biggest difference is that going into meetings at work, I am much more confident in myself, like I have earned the right to be in the room for the big meeting. I don’t think I am good at my job, I KNOW I am.”
Riding home in the car after the tournament I was almost brought to tears thinking about how hard my daughter has fought to get to this point. All those times where she stood at the plate and didn’t get the result she was after. You want it so bad for your child but you know you can’t do it for them. They have to fight. We spent hundreds of hours working on it together, driving through the frustration, so that one day she would be where she is today. Believing and KNOWING all at the same time.