How can you tell if your son or daughter’s throwing problems that suddenly appeared from out of the blue are due to their mechanics that can be addressed or if something else has “disconnected” them from how well they had been playing?
If it’s solely their mechanics, then you or a coach can give them pointers. However, if they have become disconnected and that disconnection manifests itself in their inconsistent and inexplicable performance, that’s a different story. A “disconnect” is a dramatic change in your son or daughters’ playing that is atypical of what they have ever done until then. No matter how much information and instructions that coaches give your child, it still leaves coaches bewildered and unable to help them at all. And maybe for the first time in your life as a parent, all the love, support and advice you offer them falls on deaf ears too.
It’s painfully disconcerting to watch your child who for no reason starts spiking or airmailing the ball, throwing it five feet in front of their target or 10 feet over their head, or lobbing the ball. Maybe they began to throw wild pitches, walk hitters or bean batters like never before. Or they can gun down a runner stealing second, but can’t get the throwback to the pitcher.
When you ask, “Why are you throwing that way?” they have a perplexed look on their face as they don’t have a clue. If you ask them to describe it, they can’t find words except, “I don’t know why!” And they mentally beat themselves up over it and feel they are disappointing themselves, the team, the coach and you. It makes some players wrestle with giving up the game they love. But that doesn’t have to be the case ever again.
While this repeating pattern of inconsistency may get weaker in time or even stop, it usually doesn’t disappear forever. It tends to come back weeks, months or even years later; and when it does, “it” is stronger and more devastating than ever before.
I’m Dr. Richard Crowley, a sports psychologist and author of Mentalball: Beat Your Invisible Opponent at Its Own Game with forwards by Shawn Green and Steve Blass. I have helped more than 5000 baseball and softball players get over moderate to severe degrees of Yips-like disconnects dating back to 1983 when my work benefited Dodgers Steve Sax overcoming his out-of-control throwing from second to first base.
Your son and daughter are not responsible for the unpredictable mechanics manifesting from a disconnect, ever. Why? Because they are not intentionally and willfully doing it to themselves. They are not the author, if you will, of these weird behaviors. Its coming from something else that is running the show from within their unconscious.
Since these perplexing situations are illogic and irrational in the first place, the more you try to understand them and find an explanation, the more frustrated you will become, and so will your child. This work that I do to get players over it takes place in their right brain hemisphere where their emotions, intuition, imagination as well as their unconscious reside.
My ground breaking process targets and removes once and for all these repeating patterns triggered by a player’s unconscious mind that orchestrates their unsetting emotions of confusion, frustration, anxiety, embarrassment, depression, sadness, disappointment as well as physical tension, physiological sensations and negative thoughts that show up in their practice and/or games. Then your son and daughter are back in the confident mindset they had before these disconnects ever began; throwing without thinking and having fun playing ball again.
Here are the three questions I ask ballplayers, that you can ask your son or daughter as well, to quickly assess if what they are experiencing is related to fundamental mechanics or these Yips-like disconnects.
- Do you ever remember a time when the ball felt “weird” coming out of your hand, maybe a tingling feeling, or it seems to stick in your hand or was incredibly loose vs. simply being a bad throw? And immediately after that first weird throw, did you find yourself thinking for the first time ever while throwing the ball? And does that thinking still persist while throwing?
- Are you aware right at the release point that “something you can’t explain disconnects you from releasing the ball the way you intend? That “something” takes over and you have no control over your release point whatsoever.
- Are you aware of negative thoughts popping into your head right at the point of releasing the ball that says something to the effect, “Don’t screw it up!” Don’t throw it away!” “What if it happens again?” That triggers a flooding of other worrisome thoughts making you unable to focus and find your release point?
If the answer is “No” the cause is due to pure mechanics. If I receive a “Yes” to these questions, I then have a player take the 100 questionnaire baseball survey on my sportsmaker.com site that further spells out in detail what the player is going through. These disconnects can permanently be removed fairly quickly over the phone.
Dr. Richard Crowley can be found at www.sportsmaker.com