Step Up Your Game By Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Step Up Your Game By Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Written By Renee Ferguson

If there is one thing I have learned through my years of coaching it's that stepping out of your comfort zone is a hard thing for female athletes to do.  I'm not sure if it is because we as women are just very much in our head or if it is just human nature to shy away from things that take you out of your comfort zone.  One thing I know for sure is that the athletes who reach their full potential have certainly overcome their fear of the unknown.

Working with pitchers often requires tweaking, or sometimes major, changes to their motions. Inevitably the first words out of the pitchers mouth is, “That feels weird, I don't like it.”  In fact this happens so often that after I tell them to change something, I have added a disclaimer at the end of my sentence that goes a little something like this. “Just so you know this is going to feel weird when you do it just try to remember that if it feels weird you are doing what I asked you to do CORRECTLY. If it doesn't feel weird you are doing it the way you have always done it.”  The question I often ask myself is, why do some athletes get over challenges like they are speed bumps but for others they becomes a major road block to the road of success?  I think the answer lies in both the level of desire and the level of self-confidence of the player.  

Nearly every time I am at a gym or near an outside track or baseball field I typically see the lone male athlete out there. He has his ear buds in while he’s going through his dynamic stretch routine without looking like he cares about how weird he looks to the people around him. And while he is in the zone working out, the women watching him are either drooling or secretly laughing at how weird this man looks. This secret laughing habit we have carries over to our workouts and practice routines. This problem becomes apparent when we are approached with the idea of trying something new that might help us. When trying this new idea, women become scared that if we don’t perform well immediately someone will be judging us – the same way we judged that man while he was working out. If we are ever in a situation where we think this may happen to us it can result in paralyzing fear.

As coaches we need to teach these girls to work hard, be confident, and always be hungry to succeed. I can't tell you how many times I have asked a girl to do a running drill to work on her leg drive at the Indoor training facility that I work out of, and the first thing they do is glance around the facility to see who is watching.  We have to teach these girls to be confident and chase their dreams. There is nothing wrong with working hard to become the best possible player or person they can be – even if it means looking “silly” or putting themselves in an uncomfortable situation because they are afraid of making a mistake.  I think the pressure society puts on females to look good at all times may be why fewer women athletes reach their maximum potential.  In order to progress in anything in life you must get out of your comfort zone. Growth occurs when you are willing to work through the self-consciousness you may experience when asked to perform a drill may look weird.  It's in those moments where you truly find out what you are made of both as an athlete and as a person.

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Renee Ferguson

Renee Ferguson

Renee Ferguson Renee has over 30 years of combined playing and coaching experience at the select and college levels. After a 3 year stint as Division I, Morgan State University’s pitching coach; Renee was appointed the Head Women’s softball Coaching position at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland. Where she lead the Pioneer Softball team to an 8th place finish, in the NJCAA DIII Nationals in Rochester MN after taking the helm only weeks before the 2013 season started. Renee’s goal is to instill the love and passion that she has for the game, into each and every one of her players and students.

Keep up with Renee Ferguson by visiting her site at Renee On: Facebook.

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