Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Youth Sports: Thoughts on Prayers For Performance

Last year in a crucial situation during the AAU National Championship Tournament, my son gave the sign of the cross before his at bat. After the at bat, I asked him about it. He said, "I prayed to God to get a hit off the tough pitcher." It didn't work, Nic popped out to deep right field.

Between games I told my son, "Nic, don't pray to God for a hit, pray to God for confidence and concentration instead. God does not care if you get a hit or not. Besides, the pitcher is probably praying that you don't get a hit so that would likely cancel out your prayer anyway. God will help you with your confidence and concentration. And confidence and concentration lead to lots of hits. Pray to God for these things instead."

I follow Morgan Ensberg's blog. Here is his account of his first college AB and a prayer to God.

Calm down.  You have been hitting extra batting practice in the cage after every single practice for a year.  You have taken extra ground balls every single day.
You have never had it easy.  You are the guy who finds a way to win.  You’re a grinder!  This is when it counts!  You can do this.  It’s time. This is your shot Morgan.

Lord, I need you now.  Thank you for this opportunity.  You continue to bless me when I don’t deserve it!  Please help me calm down and allow me to use the ability that you have given me.  Amen.
I have prepared.  I am ready.
Morgan Ensberg hit a Home Run.

The Main Point

In sports, there are many moments when you are in the spotlight alone. This is particularly true for baseball players. Players are alone on the mound facing a tough hitter, alone at the plate facing a dominant pitcher or alone in the field with a hot shot coming their way. Baseball can certainly be a lonely game, so I am thrilled that my son feels God is with him for support. I'm just teaching him to ask God for confidence and concentration instead of hits (or baskets, or goals, or aces, or birdies).

Game 30

There were no story lines during my son's volleyball game. His team lost 2 of 3 games per usual.

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