When you play a sport where you fail more than you succeed, it can feel as if everyday is an off-day.
But then there are those days. The days where it feels like absolutely nothing is going your way. For me, I have had a handful of days like that. I actually just had one this past weekend, but hey, no big deal!
But when this happens, there are things you can do to help you move forward and try to keep it from happening again.
It is so important to realize that everyone has off-days.
It is more important how you bounce back.
I am not an expert on "bouncing back", nor do I have any type of degree that gives me solid ground on this subject, but I have played a game of failure for more than 14 years and have had my fair share of bad days and bad games. So take my suggestions and do what you wish, I hope you find something of value in this.
1. Take a few minutes to pout and sit in self-pity
This probably sounds a little ridiculous, but you need to take a few minutes to yourself. Especially if you just got pulled from a game because you weren't performing as well as you should be, it is impossible to immediately be happy and supportive for your team-mates right away. You need to take a few minutes, maybe half an inning, to go to the end of the dugout and just sit there. Try not to think too much. Just be quiet, and take a few moments to yourself. After that...
2. Turn every bit of energy you have into positive energy for your team
Realize that someone was just put in your place to help your team. Realize that they may have been put in a really tough spot because of your off-day. They need positive energy and support. Find a way to put your bad day aside and be there for your team.
3. Talk to your coach, team-mates, parents, etc.
After the game, it may be really tempting to keep to yourself and push everyone away. I did this through most of my teenage years, but now that I'm older, it's really important to talk to the people around you. Honestly, it really isn't going to be a surprise to everyone that you had a poor performance, it's best to just lean on everyone and let them help you.
4. Take time to reflect on your performance
Do not beat yourself up. Take time to think about your performance and even compare about better performances you had in the past. Was something stressing you out? Did you get enough sleep? Did you feel okay? If the answer to all these questions is no, that is okay. Sometimes you just have a bad day. Sometimes you make good plays, but your opponent makes better plays. Sometimes you make good pitches, but your opponent makes better swings.
5. Don't lose your confidence
One bad performance, in anything, does not define the type of athlete, worker, or person you are. You are where you are for a reason. You are put in tough situations because people believe in you.
6. Maintain, or start having, a positive attitude
Positivity can change everything. If you can take any situation and put a positive spin on it, your life will be so much more enjoyable. Use your bad experience as a learning opportunity.
7. Reevaluate your goals and stay accountable for them
Many athletes have goals. These goals may change game to game or they may be for the whole season. Take a look at them and make sure they are attainable. Make sure you are excited about your goals. If you don't want to achieve them, you never will. Then tell someone you're close to, maybe a teammate or a parent or a coach, your goals and ask them to help you reach them.
And most importantly,
8. Remember how absolutely fabulous and awesome you are
Bad days can make us forget the good things about ourselves, don't let it! You have the power to keep your self-confidence high and remember that you are on your team for a reason. Never forget it!
These are all pretty generic suggestions and I'm sure you have heard all of it before. When I was younger and someone would tell me to "Keep your head up!" I would roll my eyes and ignore them. But now that I'm older and playing at this level, that simple suggestion rings so true.