Competition Often Breaks Down Mechanics, But It Doesn’t Have To…

“Practice makes perfect” as the old saying goes. But practice and competition are two completely different ball games, and it’s important to understand the connection between the two in order to excel at both.

Athletes train all throughout their off-season to fine tune their strengths and work out the kinks in their game, but it’s easy to lose the momentum built from preparation when the lights come on. 

The difference is often in your mindset.

In order to be at your best during competition, you need to come into the game prepared, and then position yourself mentally to allow your raw talent and skills to take over.

At the end of the day, you can practice as much as Kobe Bryant, but if you don’t have that Mamba Mentality during the heat of competition, this can all be for naught.

Flow State

“Flow” is the feeling of excelling at something naturally, defined as occurring when “you’re so immersed and energized by an activity that the rest of the world seems to disappear.” (Psychology Today). This is often referred to as “being the zone.”

Flow state, while difficult to achieve, is optimal for allowing your abilities to shine through without overthinking, pressure, or stress holding you back.

Flow state occurs when the skills you’ve mastered before entering a game are matched with the adrenaline of the moment, combining to bring out the best in your abilities.

This happens effortlessly, but can be harshly contradicted by putting unnecessary pressure on yourself or feeling the need to do something extraordinary.

By positioning yourself for success mentally, your physical abilities should naturally follow suit.

Making the Mental Adjustment

The most important thing to understand is that if you’ve worked your absolute hardest, there’s no moment you don’t deserve to play in.

Your preparation justifies you being on the mound, in the field, or in the batter’s box at any given moment, and you should never feel like you have to be more than the player you are to seize the moment.

It’s often hard to handle the pressure of a big moment when you’re thinking about it. When you think too much you get tight, your heart rate goes up, your brain starts over analyzing, and you can’t get past your mistakes.

Instead, think back to all the swings you took in the cage, all the ground balls you’ve fielded in practice, all the bullpen sessions you’ve thrown. Reflecting on everything you’ve done up to that point will give you confidence, whereas focusing on what you need to do will increase the stress you put on yourself and can impair your performance.

It’s also important to understand that you will make mistakes.

Messing up is a natural part of life, but it’s how you bounce back from mistakes that will define you. It’s very easy for one mistake to compound into many if you let it get to your head. 

If you strike out or make an error, shake it off, it happens to everyone! Reset your mind, and think back to all those times you did it well in practice!

Just don’t let pressure and/or shame overpower your fundamentals.

While practice is a good time to be a perfectionist, game time is not. Analyzing your mechanics during practice will help you get better, but doing so in the heat of competition will only stress you out, without leading to a positive state of mind or any additional improvement.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and all the pressure you place on yourself at one moment in one game isn’t going to take away from the practice you have put in over the years. Positive thought can’t replace practice, but it can set you up for the success that a strong work ethic brings.

Practice Makes Perfect

Improvement is never ending. 

Every time you step on the field is an opportunity for improvement, games just aren’t the time to focus on that. Competition will make you better, but it’s not the time to focus on improving your skills, it’s the time to apply them. 

Practice is about working towards the bigger picture of improving yourself as a player, which is done through creating an actionable plan for growth and working hard towards it. But competition is about that exact moment, the little picture that means the world when you’re immersed within it. 

By working hard in practice, you’ll trust yourself and be more confident to excel in big moments than you will from stacking up unnecessary pressure on yourself all at once.

Excelling in competition is a culmination of preparation, which comes from your hard work, and then allowing this to flow through you when it matters most, which will ultimately boost your chances of success.

End of an Era: Kevin Bruggeman


End of an Era: Kevin Bruggeman


End of an Era: Kevin Bruggeman

Sunday, October 14, 2018 marked the end of an era for the BVSA Fury program.  One of it’s greatest players played his last game wearing the #5 Fury uniform.  Kevin Bruggeman has been playing Fury baseball since 2013 when he was 12 years old.  The first time I saw him play, the year before, for an another organization, I new he was a player and a gamer.  Fortunately for us, he came to Fury the following year and I had the opportunity and great fortune to be his coach for his first few years.

Kevin exemplifies everything you want a player to be.  He plays with passion, energy and a level above most around him.  He plays with grit and determination and is looked up to by his teammates and opponents.  He works at his craft like no other and it shows on the field. His efforts and production helped lead our team to multiple tournament championships and tremendous experiences for all of us.  It seemed like whenever we needed a big hit or a big play, Kev delivered. He has a great appreciation for the game and although an intense competitor, there’s always a smile and a joy for the game.

Kevin’s primary position is catcher and he controls the game behind the dish the way great catchers do.  Even at 12 he had a great feel for the game and always called his own pitches very effectively. At SS or 3B (or wherever for that matter) he fortifies the defense effortlessly and with great consistency.  Just about every game I ever coached while Kevin was playing, either an umpire, the opposing coach or even opposing players would make positive comments about #5 after the game. It was very easy for most to see that Kev was special.

His tremendous work effort carries over to the classroom where Kevin has earned excellent grades.  His combination of talents has earned him a scholarship to play at Hofstra University where Kevin will be headed next fall.  

On behalf of all of your coaches, teammates and the BVSA/Fury family, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Kevin for putting on the Fury uniform for all these years and setting the standard for all Fury players.  It was a great pleasure for me to be your coach but there is just one thing. I asked you countless times to take the mound and throw an inning or two and you never did. Someday, somewhere, your going to have to put on the #5 uniform one more time and throw a few pitches for me.  I’m sure it will be a 1,2 3 inning.

Best of luck #5,

Contact Us!

Here at BV Sports Academy, we are a passionate group of dedicated baseball and softball instructors with some pretty impressive resumes. More importantly we have been educated by Bobby Valentine himself. If you don’t know who Bobby V is, it’s worth a quick google search. We teach a proven curriculum which has developed some of the finest talent in our area, and we’re just getting started. BVSA was founded in 2006 and has been growing steadily ever since.

We have been blessed to be joined by some of the top programs around when it comes to other sports like lacrosse and soccer. Check out our valued partners section above to learn more about them. Parties and events for all ages, we do those too!

There is something for everyone at BVSA. We look forward to helping all athletes become the best they can be. If you would like to book anything or have any further questions, please email [email protected]