In the game of baseball (or softball in my case), it’s normal for hitters to go through a slump every now and then. To go through a stretch where nothing seems to go your way—your hard hit ball lands in foul territory, the outfielder makes a diving catch to rob you of a base hit, the umpire makes a questionable call, or you just aren’t seeing the ball well! Slumps are very much a part of the game.
As a softball pitcher in college, I, too, went through the occasional slump. I couldn't find the strike zone, the hitter got a lucky hit, the umpire made a questionable call. During these slumps, I always thought the fix was to practice harder and longer, pitch more pitches in the bullpen, focus harder on softball.
You, senior high school students, are on the home stretch of the college application season, and you may be encountering a slump of your own. Maybe you’re sitting at the computer looking at a blank Word doc, wracking your brain for topics to write about for those last few essays. Maybe you’re seeing double and can’t bring yourself to edit that essay just one more time! Maybe you just want to cuddle up on the couch to watch a holiday movie and forget the whole thing. No matter how well the months of September, October, and November went, you may be in a college application slump.
During my senior year of college, I encountered one of my biggest slumps of my career. It was an important time in the season, just before a championship weekend. And that’s kind of where you’re at—the very end of the process, the time that really matters. So what did I do? I frantically searched for quick fixes for my slump and ended up calling my childhood pitching coach, the coach who had coached me for ten years and knew me better than anyone.
And what was his sage advice that was supposed to magically cure my slump and help me lead the team to victory? He told me to go for a walk.
A walk?! How could I take time away from the game during a slump to GO FOR A WALK?!
Well, I trusted him, so I followed his advice. And my brain cleared. During my walk, I reflected back on years of practice, experiences, and successes. I breathed in the air around me, really looked around, and calmed down. I drew up some confidence I had been lacking, and I switched my mindset.
And boom, my slump was cured.
So, my advice to you? GO FOR A WALK! Clear your brain, breathe in the air, look around you. Take a moment or two or five for reflection on where you’re at in your life at this point. And where you want to go next. Zoom out to see the bigger picture, not just the computer screen in front of you. And finish out strong. You’re almost there. Get yourself through that slump, and we can’t wait to see what you send our way!