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Control What You Can Control – Jennie Finch



Advice from Jennie Finch to softball players of all ages

Control What You Can Control

You don’t have to let other people dictate how you feel or bring you down. Find something positive to focus on, because once you’re angry, you’re conquered. You’ve given other people the power to control your feelings.

A great skill in sports and life, is to learn to let things roll off your back. Instead of getting upset, ask yourself whether you have any control over a situation. If you don’t, then don’t worry about it. Just worry about controlling your own attitude and effort. This will bring so much peace to your life!

If you give everything you have in practice or in a game, that’s what truly matters! Your effort on a daily basis directly translates into results at crunch time. Your effort influences both your attitude and your level of confidence.

Here’s a simply reminder to you today that you’re doing better than you think and you can handle anything that comes your way! You are strong, brave, and courageous!

Overcoming a fear of failure is an important part of gaining mental toughness. Fear of failure keeps too many people from taking any risks at all. The pressure to be perfect can lead people to be cautious and prevents them from embracing the moment.

The truth is in sports – and in life – we are going to fail. There is no way around it. You can look at the most accomplished people in the world, and they’ve failed at something at some time. Failure is a part of competition. But it does not define you.

Even the elite players fail seven out of every 10 times they come to the plate. That means even the great players experience twice as much failure as success. You have to be resilient and mentally tough enough to overcome that constant failure, to not give in to it, and to be confident that things are going to change. Overcoming mistakes and setbacks only makes you stronger.

And this applies to every part of life. Keep looking at the positive side of things and don’t give in to the negative. Life is too short. Take risks, embrace failure, and keep pressing forward.

Taking risks.

Life is all about taking risks. I get really bad butterflies – even now. But in a way I embrace those butterflies because they let me know I’m out of my comfort zone. My butterflies tell me that I’m alive, trying new things, testing myself. I always try to take that nervous energy and use it in a productive way. The only way you can get out of your comfort zone is to take a risk, to try something you’re not sure you can do, to challenge yourself.

What risk have you been afraid to take? The butterflies may not ever go away, but you are brave and courageous! You can do hard things! You can take the risk! You never know what’s on the other side of one courageous step in a new direction.

 Why softball?

 Sometimes I’ve been asked why I devoted so much of my life to softball. It’s a hard question to answer because the answer is so multi-faceted. So here are just a few reasons:

  • I love the game.

  • I love the feeling of being part of the team, of playing for the name on the front of my jersey and not the back.

  • I love to compete against others and test myself.

  • I love to take risks and accept a challenge.

  • I love to push my body as hard as I can and feel the sweat drip off my face.

  • I love the process and the feeling of satisfaction that comes from working toward goals, both individual and collective.

  • I want to make my family proud of me.

  • Because I can! My mother and grandmother never had the opportunity that I have.

  • Playing helps me both build confidence and overcome the fear of failure.

“What’s your “why” behind what you do?” 

Body image.

I wish I could tell every girl who has self-doubts about her looks not to worry! Work on what’s on the inside – the things that make you passionate and happy and fulfilled. When you’re feeling great on the inside, the world will notice.

Softball was a way for me to feel confident about myself. It was a way for me to learn to love my muscles – they helped me be a strong player. And my height – it helped me pitch better. Softball not only helped me accept my body, but it also helped me learn to take better care of my body.

In truth, your concerns about your looks and body never go away. I know mine haven’t. It’s something I work on every day. But I find that focusing on ways to make myself a better person makes how I look feel less important. The less we focus on ourselves, the easier it becomes to accept yourself.

Physical fitness.

A huge part of physical fitness is mental. I’ve found that it helps me so much to have the right mindset: a game plan, a strategy.

How do you get that right mindset? Carve out time for your workout. If you don’t actually schedule it into your busy day, you will almost always come up with an excuse for not doing it. Making it a part of your regular routine is the best approach. Even write it down in your planner, along with your homework assignment.

Find a time that works best for you. I’ve found that if I don’t exercise in the morning, when I’m at my best, I don’t get as good of a workout. I also might end up sacrificing my workout because of other unpredictable things in my day — and then I’m only cheating myself.

“What are some of your strategies to stay fit and achieve your goals?” 


Jennie Finch played for the University of Arizona softball team from 1999 to 2002, where she pitched the Wildcats the 2001 Women’s College World Series and was named collegiate All-American. She led the US Women’s National Softball Team to the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics  and the silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics  She pitched for the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch from 2005 to 2010.

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