Performing under Pressure

    Posted on Monday, December 19, 2016 at 5:04 PM

    Posted by Judd Hoekstra on Dec 19, 2016 5:04:52 PM

    How to Be Your Best When It Matters Most

     by Judd Hoekstra, Vice-President, The Ken Blanchard Companies

    The following is an excerpt from ‘Chapter 6: Reframing from Doubt to Confidence’ within Crunch Time: How to Be Your Best When It Matters Most. The book is being released on January 23, 2017 and is available for pre-order now.

    Have you ever seen Jesus? Resolving a confidence crisis. 

    Chad Bradford was a relief pitcher for the Oakland A’s from 2001–2004. Under pitching coach Rick Peterson’s tutelage, he became one of the dominant setup relievers in the American League. He did so without a blazing fastball. His fastball was in the mid-80-mph range—very slow for a big leaguer. To be successful, Bradford relied on deception. With his unconventional submarine-style delivery, his knuckles almost scraped the ground as he released the ball toward home plate.

    Chad shared with me a funny conversation Rick had with him to move him from doubting to confident.

    In 2001, the Moneyball season and my first season with Oakland, Rick made some big changes to my mechanics in spring training that really helped me and gave me a lot of confidence. I had pitched well most of the year, but in August, I had a stretch with a couple bad outings in a row. I was struggling with my confidence. It was my greatest weakness. When things weren’t going well, I had zero self-confidence.

    “All the pitchers that believe they can and all the pitchers that believe they can’t are right.”
    —Rick Peterson, borrowing from the famous quote by Henry Ford

    Rick pulled me aside and asked, “What’s going on?”

    I told Rick, “I don’t know. My stuff just isn’t there right now. I’m getting hit. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t feel like I can pitch consistently right now. I don’t feel like I can get guys out. I don’t know if it’s my mechanics.”

    Rick tells me, “Chad, your mechanics are just fine. You’re just doubting yourself.”

    And I said, “Maybe you’re right. I had a really good stretch of games for a month and then I just hit a wall.”

    We started talking about my confidence and Rick asks me, “Why don’t you believe you can get this done? Why don’t you believe you can go out there and get these hitters out?”

    I said, “Well, Rick, I don’t know. If I could answer that question, I wouldn’t be in this predicament.”

    Rick thinks for a minute and then asks me, “Are you a Christian?”

    Rick knows I am a Christian. He knows what’s important to all of his pitchers. I went along with him: “Yes Rick, I am.”

    “So you’re telling me you believe in Jesus Christ?”

    “Absolutely, 100 percent.”

    “Have you ever seen him?”

    “No Rick, I’ve never seen Jesus.”

    “Have you ever seen yourself pitch well on video?”

    “Yes, I have seen myself pitch well.”

    “Rick starts laughing and says,

    How in the world can you believe in Jesus Christ and you’ve never seen him  and you’ve seen yourself pitch great for months and you don’t believe you can get hitters out?

    It was so simple. Rick boosted my confidence. It was hard to argue with his logic.

    Chad closed his conversation with me by saying, “I want you to know about the major impact Rick has had on my life. When I first came up to the big leagues in Oakland, Rick improved both my mechanics and my mental approach. He taught me how to be successful in the major leagues. After we both left Oakland for different teams following the 2004 season, I got injured and didn’t pitch much in 2005. When I did pitch, I didn’t pitch well.

    In 2006, when I had the chance to be reunited with Rick and play for the New York Mets, it was a no-brainer. In New York, he got me back on track. I had a great year and we went to the playoffs. Right after that season, I signed a three-year, $10.5 million deal with Baltimore. My family is financially secure because of what Rick did to get me back on track.”

    Performing under pressure. Crunch Time. Judd Hoekstra. Judd Hoekstra appears by permission. He is coauthor of the bestselling "Leading at a Higher Level" and "Who Killed Change?" as well as Vice President, The Ken Blanchard Companies.
    He is an expert in making concepts universal and accessible. Performing under pressure is one such concept, which he ties masterfully to athletic performance in his most recent book, "Crunch Time: How to be Your Best when it Matters Most."
    Judd is also a Bridgedale dad, as his son Cole is an 8th grader at Bridgedale Academy.
    If you would like to learn more about performing under pressure, stay tuned for future posts and check out:
    "Bridgedale Academy is honored to have Judd Hoekstra as a contributing writer on our blog page. At Bridgedale we are committed to the development of our young student-athletes, helping them to develop their physical and mental skills so they can perform at their best when it matters most, no matter the arena of life that challenges them. If you would like to learn more about Bridgedale Academy, please click the button below so we can schedule a time to chat."
                                                                                Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy



    Talk to Headmaster 

    Bridgedale Academy is an all-male school for athletes, a sports academy offering grades 5 through 8. All our students are hockey players and in addition to our winning combination of sports and academics, we focus on leadership training. We use a classical academic curriculum and our graduates go on to attend some of the most prestigious high schools in the midwest, including Lake Forest Academy, Culver Military Academy, Shattuck St. Mary’s, Northwood School, Benet Academy, Fenwick Prep, St. Ignatius Prep, Latin School and Providence Catholic. Three of our students have been offered spots with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.

    « Previous Post Developing Hockey Sense - Part 3 Next Post » Performing Under Pressure - "Hit the Glove"