How to step up to the plate like Encarnación just did

It’s hard to imagine a more inspiring moment than watching that ball fly out of the park. The 11th inning. The game hanging in the balance. Everything on the line.

To be able to step up to the plate in that moment, to withstand all the pressure and perform like Encarnación did – that takes something special.

Having that ability is something that we all want. Though few of us will ever step up to the plate in the bottom of the 11th with everything to play for, almost all of us will have to perform under pressure at some point or another. So it just makes sense that we want to be good at it.

Of course, that 11th inning moment is different for everyone. It might be a penalty shot in soccer, or a 10k run. For you it might not be playing a sport at all. It could just be the simple pressure to exercise in the morning or go for a jog at night. Pressure has a way of adding up – from other people, from other things, and most of all, from ourselves.

When you start feeling that pressure, here are some tips to help you perform you best, to hit that home run, to run that race and to get active each and every day.

1. Focus

In particular, focus on what you know. Don’t get distracted by the pressure. Don’t think about what might happen. Just focus on the fundamentals that you know.

I highly doubt that when Encarnación stepped up to the plate that he was thinking about how many millions of Canadians were watching, or what would happen if he struck out. I’m sure he was focused on swinging a bat just like he’s practiced for years and years.

2. Believe

If you want to succeed in a high-pressure situation, you have to believe that you can. Whether you’re nearing the finishing line of a big race or working up the courage to go for your very first jog, trusting in yourself is a huge part of the equation.

You have to believe that when Encarnación stepped up to the plate that he was 100% certain that he could knock it out of the park. You don’t succeed like that unless you believe you can.

3. Relieve

It’s also important to relieve pressure whenever possible. Sometimes we put it on ourselves for no real reason. Sometimes we feel pressure from people who are really just trying to be supportive.

That’s why it’s important to be aware of it and find ways to reduce it. Talk to someone, whether it’s a parent, a coach or a colleague, about the pressure that you’re feeling. Try to realize that often pressure stems from fears that we have exaggerated.

You can bet that Encarnación was aware of the pressure. He knew what inning it was. He knew what was at stake. But you can also bet that he wasn’t lumping on any additional pressure.

4. Don’t Doubt

Doubt can do terrible things. Doubt can make you crumble under pressure, forget everything you know, freeze or worse. Doubt can stop you from trying.

During that nail-biting game, we all had our doubts – except Encarnación I bet.

5. Seize

Seizing the moment is the most sure-fire way to deal with the pressure. Pressure can quickly become a negative thing, causing us to lose our focus and belief, to loom large and fill us with doubt.

That’s why you must see that pressure as an opportunity. No one cracks in the face of opportunity. They rise to it. They use it to motivate them to do their best – to finish their 10k race, to get out of bed and into the gym, to be active every day.

They seize it. Just like Encarnación.