Consistency Is Queen

“The Queen of Consistency” herself, Jennie Finch, explains how habits and routines lead to greatness.

At Versus, our mission is to uncover what makes the world’s best athletes tick.

Whether through mindset tips. Practical training advice. Or skill development. We provide information direct from elite athletes and coaches, to help you develop your unique sporting potential.

As we interview an increasing number of top performers—we’re noticing some patterns. 

And when that happens in a roster as diverse and accomplished as ours, it’s important to stop and take notice. 

So far, the most talked about ingredient of success amongst our experts is consistency

Consistency is discussed in one way or another in almost every one of our exclusive video training sessions.

No matter the topic—hitting, pitching, fielding, practice, routines—the advice always centers on dialing in a process that can be repeated in games on-demand.

To run through everything you need to know about this essential skill, we asked softball legend Jenny Finch, to teach a masterclass on consistency.

The Queen of Consistency

Nicknamed “The Queen of Consistency”, Jennie is one of the most accomplished and well-known softball players of all time.

Finch shattered several NCAA records while playing college softball: including going 32 - 0 her junior season and racking up 60 consecutive wins. She left college softball the career leader in shutouts, innings pitched, and strikeouts, plus was tied for no-hitters. 

Jennie went on to be a dominant force in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. She was named Co-Pitcher of the Year in 2005. Set the league’s season ERA record in 2007 (still standing). And had several extended winning streaks, no-hitters, and perfect games. 

Finch still retains a top-10 spot in several college softball and NPF all-time lists.

A long-time member of Team USA—Finch was instrumental in the United States winning gold in the Olympics in 2004, then silver in 2008. In 2016, she was inducted into the USA Softball Hall of Fame.

Throughout her playing career, Jennie Finch was renowned for her consistency both on and off the field. She was one of the most reliable and dominant pitchers in the league—while also being a tireless advocate for women in sport. 

Even as she received increasing amounts of media attention (voted most attractive female athlete by an ESPN poll in 2003; and one of the “50 Most Beautiful People” by People magazine in 2004), Jennie upheld an impeccable personal reputation as an ideal role model for young female athletes.     

In this article, we’ll cover Jennie Finch’s take on why consistency is so important. Then get into her three top tips to develop consistency in any sport.

All content is pulled from an exclusive video interview Jennie gave to Versus. We’re sure anyone reading will get value from the article. But for the full experience—head over to the website and sign up to hear Jennie talk in person.

Our free subscription gives you access to one video session from any of our athletes or coaches, plus 10 interactive questions. Standard or premium options include unlimited video sessions, future course content participation, and interactive content.

But now, let's see what Jennie has to say about why consistency is so important in sport.

Why Does Consistency Matter?    

“Everyone can be great in one moment or in one pitch—but how many can duplicate it? That’s the challenge. And that’s where the good athletes become great.”

In this opening statement, Finch explains just why consistency is so important in sport. Reliable, high-level performance is what sets great athletes apart from the rest. 

It’s the differentiating factor between an athlete with moderate success. And a competitor like Jennie, who still holds records more than a decade after retirement.

Whether through a long playing career, impressive statistical achievements, or both—consistency enables an athlete to build a legacy. Athletes who consistently perform well for years on end can stay relevant in their chosen sport for a lifetime.

It’s not that one-off achievements don’t matter. Some go down in history, literally. But being a professional athlete is just that, a profession: and it should be treated as such.

No doctor, builder, or plumber would have a long and successful career if they didn’t consistently perform. Being a professional athlete is no different.

Now that we know why it’s so important—let’s look at how to make consistency a habit.  

Making Consistency a Habit

“When I think of consistency, I think of a routine. You have to find what makes you be at your best and stick to it, through the good times and the bad times.”

Jennie isn’t the only Versus athlete who uses routines to promote consistency. 

Softball superstar, Amanda Lorenz, discusses pre-performance and pre-game routines in The Power of Routines.

MLB legend, Adam Wainwright, has a video session focused exclusively on his weekly and pre-game routines.

And most of the skills-based articles in our Expert Advice section, cover practice routines to promote in-game consistency.

For Finch, one of the main benefits of a routine is that it promotes confidence. 

Routine involves “things that you do that you walk in confidence with”, she states. “I never like to say I have superstitions. I have a routine and I stick to it. And I’m confident in that routine.”

During Jennie’s playing career, that looked like:

  • Putting on her uniform the same way each game, with a squirt of perfume before she left the room.
  • Leaving her bat bag in the same spot when she got to the field.
  • Warming up 27 minutes before game time (her number was 27).
  • The catcher never handed her the ball until they were in the bullpen ready to throw.

Many of the best players in the world use seemingly insignificant routines like this to build confidence and consistency on the field. 

Adam Wainwright, for example, has a PB&J sandwich before every start. His reason: “I know I can find a PB&J sandwich no matter where I’m playing. And I know exactly how it will make me feel.”

The key lesson here is that confidence promotes consistency. 

One of the best ways to build confidence is with routines that make each start feel as familiar as possible. That way, you can get out onto the field and give full focus to performing at your highest capacity.         

Visualize Success

“You have to see yourself succeeding before you’re going to succeed.”

Jennie explains that visualization is an often overlooked component of consistency. She encourages all athletes to utilize it regularly.

Visualization, mental imagery, and “imagining success” are well established performance enhancing techniques from sports psychology.

While there is agreement that these techniques work—it’s up to each athlete to find the regime that’s best for them.

What Jennie would do, is lie in bed the night before a game, and go through the lineup in her head. She describes it as, “Kind of like going through my plan of attack.”

She would visualize the pitches she was going to throw. Her opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. And imagine that she was preparing for a test. 

“It’s just like a student in the classroom,” she explains. “You study for a test. You prepare for a test. Boom! You can’t wait to walk into the classroom and sit down and take the test.”

No one consistently performs at a high level by accident. 

The best athletes picture what success looks like before they step out onto the field. And use visualization to mentally reinforce the actions that will get them reliable results in the game.   

Always Practice at Game Speed

“This ball, this pitch, this swing—it matters. Every single one matters.”

This concept has been discussed using several terms by our athletes and coaches:

  • Always put your A swing
  • Every pitch matters
  • We go hard all the time
  • Always give 100%
  • Game speed, all the time

They are all saying the same thing: Athletes play how they practice. 

Jennie has a unique way of explaining why practicing at game speed is so important. True to her trademark feminine approach—she illustrates the concept using butterflies!

Finch explains how, “If you go out and practice at 80% one day, then 90% the next. And the following day you’re not feeling so good and drop to 60%,” that’s going to come out as confused energy in the game.

Rather than “those butterflies and adrenaline” giving you a performance boost above 100%, “they’re flying all over,” Jennie states.

By always practicing at game speed, you can “keep those butterflies flying in formation and working for you—not against you.”  

Confidence Creates Consistency

Consistency is a skill that’s equally important for aspiring professional athletes, as for those already established in their sport.

While everyone enjoys the occasional breakout performance or perfect game. Without a background of consistency—these rare highlights won’t lead to the career most are hoping for.

Every athlete who has ever mattered in sport. Who built a solid career on and off the field. Found a way to develop consistency.     

In her exclusive video session with Versus, Jennie Finch revealed the secrets to her enviable reputation as “The Queen of Consistency.” 

Through a commitment to finding her routines. Visualizing success. And always practicing at game speed. Finch developed the confidence to consistently execute her plan each game and reliably perform at her highest level. 

Skills and physical preparation do matter. Every athlete must attend to these essential aspects of training. But to consistently unleash your full potential on the field, you need to have confidence in your abilities.

For more tips and advice on developing game-winning confidence and consistency—head over to the Versus website and sign up for one of our plans.

You can get access to Jennie Finch’s exclusive training session on consistency. Plus heaps of other skills and mindset videos from our roster of elite athletes and world-class coaches.   

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