Write an essay where you tell us what test preparation practices work best for you and why.

In October 2016, I was playing for Zoom Baseball Academy in a 17U Championship game in Fort Myers, Florida. We were starting to end our warm up catch and on one of my last throws, the ball just came out of my hand weird and bounced in between us. I started to laugh, but that quickly stopped when it kept happening. Embarrassment rushed through me and I had to run to the dugout and stop the madness. Our coach saw what happened and asked me what was going on, even though he knew. I had no idea and just started to overthink. Since that very moment, I have had the worst case of the “yips” that I have ever seen. The “yips” is when any athlete thinks too much and can not complete some of the simplest tasks in sports. For me it was having a catch with a baseball, which I’ve done since I could remember.
This was a giant challenge that wasn’t there for that day only. I would solve it and it would come back again over the next three years. During this time of major struggles, many thoughts ran through my head, even wondering whether I wanted to even pick up a baseball again. I knew in the back of my head that I needed to work on this challenge. There were outings I had where I would throw and not make it out of the first inning and other times I would throw a complete game shut-out. It was confusing and I needed to figure out how to stay on the positive side while the negative side kept coming back. I was struggling with this case of the “yips” for a very long time and last winter, in 2018, I decided to just stop throwing until the start of high school season began in March 2019. I was about to take this adversity head on, directly into the spotlight.
During that time off, I focused on my classwork while also working out 4 times a week, but I did not throw. When the time came around to start throwing again, I knew I needed to focus on basics and just not overthink. Through the high school season it came back a little, but I knew I was starting to overcome it.

Tommy from New Jersey
High School Senior
Audubon Jr./Sr. High School