“Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical” – Yogi Berra
“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over” – Yogi Berra
I guess you could cross out “baseball” and insert “softball” here. Even though the quotes above by Hall of Famer Berra, who is famous for his Yogiism makes us chuckle, he is correct in the 90% mental part of the game. This weekend I was witness to a game that one of my child’s team played that started out great in the first two innings and then the team kind of fell apart towards the end. Players made some mistakes and just couldn’t shake it off to finish the game.
They got hard on themselves and felt like they let their team down. I guess the more upset and tense they got the worse they performed. How can this be rectified? It is easy said than done. I think if we parents were put on the spot with many spectators watching, we would probably crumble the same way.
How do you control your negative emotions when put under pressure and when you make a mistake?
I think we all need a “Bagger Vance” to caddy for us like he did for Junuh in the movie “Legend of Bagger Vance” to keep us focused.
What came to my mind was my meditation teacher instructing the class to take a deep breath and let it go and come back to the “now”. It is a very hard thing to do. Our mind is like a monkey which chases our thoughts from one event to another. Have you ever seen a monkey calm when it is not sleeping? By nature we humans are really good at building up on a negative thoughts and keep on going.
It takes twice as much effort to think positive specially when you are facing a negative situation.
Unless scientists invents time travel to go back to the past, we really can’t go back to correct a mistake. The only thing we have is “now” that we can control.
The players who accept that mistakes happen and mentally get past it to focus on the current game are the ones who achieve the mental toughness that coaches talk about. I guess this will be the coach’s “Teachable opportunity” to stay focused on the current game and not worry about what just happened in the last play.
It is a great lesson to be learning for pre-teens and teens in the team and also their parents watching the game that day. Imagine what your kids are missing out when they are not playing a team sport!
I’ll end this post with another one of Yogi Berra’s quotes : “I never blame myself when I am not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps it up, then I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I am not hitting, how can I get mad at myself? 😉
How have you dealt with negative emotions of your teams and how do you get them past it? Please share your teams mental drills if you have one.