Practicing what we preach-Focus the mind

Remember the blog in April where I talked about how kids need to learn to train their minds to be tough and ignore all the noise happening around when pitching? Focus the mind! Well I had a chance to actually practice what I preached to my daughter about mental focus.

If you are following my blog, you also know that my 9-year-old started playing travel ball this summer in the same organization as my 12-year-old.  Since this was her first “A” ball team, I was trying to make her transition easier into long tournament days by staying in a hotel near her tournament location at Concord.

Did I get to practice what I preach that night? You bet I did.  We stayed at Crown Plaza Hotel in Concord/Walnut creek.  The facility was nice and it seemed like they were going to have a wedding that weekend.  They had a restaurant inside the facility so once you check in, you did not really have to leave to go get food.

They had a heated swimming pool and a hot tub.  I was really looking forward to the hot tub to relax.  But I was disappointed when I found a young couple in the hot tub (obviously they were very young) acting very inappropriate, so I tried not to take my daughter by.  The staff walked by a few times but no one said anything to the couple.  This was my first disappointment

Anyway, our dinner was great, our waiter was very nice and our hotel room was really nice and clean.  I read reviews about the loud planes taking off from the small airport nearby but that was not an issue when we stayed there.

My issue was, the really poor quality walls between rooms.  The only reason we decided to stay overnight near the tournament was to get a little bit of extra sleep so we did not have to travel early next morning, but that was completely thwarted by our really loud neighbor.  This was my second disappointment and a big one!

You see, the bay area and surroundings are unlike any other place in the United States.  You see people from all parts of the world speaking a hundred different languages.  At first I thought may be the neighbors had set their TV to start automatically at 5:00 am like an alarm clock.  Our local TV’s have other language channels.

The guys voice I heard was like an announcer on radio or TV, very low-key like someone tuned up the base volume on their speaker.  I was hoping after 10 minutes they would either leave the room or do something else, but NO, the talking continued on and on for ever.  At this point I was getting so annoyed!  I tried putting a pillow over my ears but you know how base noise travels through everything?  That was the case.  There was no escaping this noise.  I say noise because thankfully the language the guy was speaking was not English and I was so grateful that it was not English, so it was just noise for me since I did not understand it.  It must have been 45 mins or so and then light bulb flashed in my head.

I thought this is how kids feel when they are pitching.  All the noise from the dugouts bothering them.  Then I thought this my challenge to practice what I preached.  How can I figure out a way for my mind to ignore this noise?  Now it became a challenge.  Then I tried putting myself in the neighbor’s shoes.  I thought, may be they are out on their vacation with friends and this is the only time they could actually have a great conversation and hang out.  May be it was their only chance to meet (who ever they were talking with).  They were obviously having a great time laughing and joking and having fun.  May be they had it bad in their house and this was their only relief to talk their heart outs!

When I tricked my mind into thinking that the others did not have a choice but I had a choice to ignore it, I was surprised how soon I fell back asleep.  My mind stopped focusing on the noise and helped me go back to sleep.  I couldn’t hear the noise anymore even though it still was there.  What a relief!  Our minds are very powerful and we can train it to do the impossible!  The great golfers and other athletes do it all the time.

You know, I could have knocked on their door to tell them to keep it low.  May be I should have done it.  But it gave me a chance to practice what I preached to my kids.  Moreover, my 9-year-old was so exhausted from the days games that nothing affected her.  She slept right through it all.  I probably would have knocked on the next door or complained to the hotel staff if it bothered her and prevented her from sleeping.

This also gave me an idea to add a page for review of hotels where we stay when we play tournaments.  So keep a look out for “Hotel Reviews” page soon.  I already started a page for “Softball Park reviews” where we play tournaments.

Have there been situations in your life where you thought you should practice what you preached to your kids?  Tell me about it.  How did that go for you?

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