Many sports are known as games of inches.
Fair or foul … swish or brick … birdie or par ... many times, the difference is just a fraction of an inch.
As it turns out, you can put away all the rulers. Success all comes down to half a foot.
Six inches. That’s it.
That’s about the distance between a human being’s left ear and the right ear.
Training regimens make players bigger, stronger and faster. Trainers and nutritionists are hired to keep athletes healthy and eating correctly for the best possible chance at success.
Even with all that preparation, it comes down to the six inches between the ears.
Do you have the confidence to perform well in pressure situations?
It comes down to who flinched and who persevered in a split second.
Confidence is an elusive commodity in sports.
Every athlete has confidence in his or her ability, and lives to defend that honor.
But confidence is fickle. It gets lost easily during batting slumps, losing streaks and even column writing.
Yet the teams with the most confidence usually win championships, or at least play for them. Confidence is contagious.
An example of confidence comes packaged in the form of Hagerstown Suns second baseman Tony Renda.
He stands 5-foot-10 (if he’s on a hill) and weighs 170 pounds (if drenched), but Renda personifies the reason the Suns have been successful this season.
“It’s thought process. … When you get into that mindset, it settles you down and doesn’t let you try to do too much.” Renda said recently after leading the Suns to another victory.
Despite his dimensions, his mindset makes Renda a pretty imposing figure. He’s a tough out and is part of the personality of a baseball team that has very little power but all of the savvy it needs to be one of the best clubs in the South Atlantic League.
It is a quiet confidence that comes from being certain of his task and executing it the majority of the time.