This is the first of my weekly “Monday Mental Musing” posts- where I will begin to dive into the mental training side of baseball though I hope the application will reach beyond the game of baseball. As I mentioned in my nutrition post one of my favorite quotes is Yogi Berra’s “Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical.” The more I have come to learn in this game, and the more I have seen my mental training benefit my game, the more his statement rings true.
After the first Northeastern snowstorm of 2011 this past weekend, 2.7 million people were without power and there are still hundreds of thousands of people without power. As I returned from my training session today and got ready to take my shower- looking forward to a hot, relaxing and refreshing shower after a heavy lift- I quickly realized that the water heater wasn’t yet working. At first, I balked at the idea of taking that cold shower, and then I remembered back to this inspirational video I saw posted during spring training last year from this Diesel Strength and Conditioning post and decided to use this opportunity to my training advantage…
So with this concept in mind I decided to jump into the cold- to test my mental “metal”, if you will. After jumping in I felt that cold sting on my skin, and at first my mind turned against me, and thoughts about how cold I was ran through my mind. I could feel myself getting colder and starting to shiver. As I recognized this, I started to rephrase my thoughts and to convince myself otherwise- determined to test my mental ability to change my thought pattern when faced with an outside challenge. Man, this is freezing. I’m starting to shiver. But you know what, shivering is my body’s way of warming itself up. This isn’t so bad. It’s only a temporary feeling. At least I’m not stuck outside in a snowstorm. If Navy Seals can spend a whole week, without sleep, in the freezing cold water off of California training, I can handle a 5 minute shower in the cold. You know what, this is actually kind of refreshing after a long training session. Get tough, Matt.
This ability to rephrase unwanted and negative thoughts applies directly to the game of baseball. Every mental training book I’ve read (which you can find in the resources section) speaks on this topic. I know as both a hitter and pitcher, that the negative thoughts can snowball until you have buried yourself in an avalanche. It’s important to be able to recognize the thought, and ACTIVELY change it to a positive. Instead of saying to yourself, “I’ve got two strikes on me, everything is in the pitchers favor, I’m in trouble” take the stance of “well I might have 2 strikes on me, but that pitcher still has to put it somewhere I can hit it 1 more time to get me out, and when he does, I’m going to rip it right back at him.”
Everyday, we are faced with unanticipated challenges- be them small or large- and everyday there is a lesson to be learned, if you look for the opportunity. I challenge you reframe these unanticipated challenges, whatever it might be, and use them to your advantage. Don’t get caught up in feeling sorry for yourself, step up and make it a learning experience. Plus no one wants to sit around in their own sweat all day without taking a shower, right?
I’d love to hear, what are ways that you have challenged yourself through unanticipated challenges?