Championship Thinking in Sports

Jim Meier

Championship Thinking in Sports – “…that’s not hard, you just tell ‘em to be confident, right?”

I’ve had the good fortune to speak about sports psychology, leadership and building a championship teams at 7-8 HS Baseball Coaches Associations. And I’ve usually had a display table. On one occasion a coach came up and the conversation went like this: JM (Jim Meier): Hi coach. Coach: Hi (with a handshake)…So, what do you do? JM: I teach sports psychology…how the mind works in sports. Coach: Oh, that’s interesting; it can’t be that hard. JM: What do you mean? Coach: You just tell them (the player) to be confident right? JM: Well, that’s the end goal for sure. To do well in baseball (anything really) the player must believe in himself and know they can do it. Yes, they need to be confident. Coach: That’s what I thought. JM: How long have you coached baseball and what part do you coach? Coach: 12 years…I’ve had hitting, infield, outfield and now mainly the pitchers; never coached catchers. JM: So coaching pitchers…that can’t be that hard. You just tell them to throw strikes, right? So, I tell them to be confident and you tell them to throw strikes. Easy job, right? We’re done! Heck, let’s go have an ice tea! Coach: He smiled and then we started talking about the process of building confidence. And that is precisely what this show’s guest, Keith Madison* and I will do. We peel back the onion to get at, 1) what confidence really is, 2) its link to the mental game, 3) the all important aspect of understanding personality differences, and, 4) how to create it in oneself and players. The formula is this: knowing and applying the six sources of Self-Confidence=Self-Confidence=Athletic Performance.*On January 4, Keith Madison Head Coach U. of Kentucky from 1978-2003, received the ABCA’s highest honor, the ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award. This is well-earned recognition of Keith’s knowledge, integrity and passion for the sport of baseball. With 737 victories Coach Madison has the most wins in Kentucky baseball history and is third in wins in SEC history. He has coached 85 players who were drafted or signed professional baseball contracts In 1978 he became the youngest head baseball coach at the division I level when named coach at the University of Kentucky at the age of 26. He served as President of the ABCA in 2000 and was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 2007. He currently serves on the ABCA Board of Directors. Following his Kentucky coaching career, Keith worked two years as the Major Gift officer in the U Development Office and then with FCA. Today he serves as the national director of SCORE International. This work is focused on the Dominican Republic (DR) which includes a steady stream of motivational and devotional messages as well as trips to the DR teach baseball clinics with 230 coaches from the US. Visit if you are interested in coaching in the DR. Keith publishes a magazine called “Inside Pitch”. I encourage you to go to to learn more.