Baseball Magazine


By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
In yesterday’s post I talked about the importance of staying in the “NOW”   That, of course, is easier said than done.  In the future, I’ll write about some actual techniques to help players improve in this area but today I wanted to add something to the concept of focus. 
Our culture is very results driven.  Money and success is often earned and defined by the results of our actions and behaviors.  This, of course, inspires many to constantly strive to achieve better results.  Our society does a lot to reward this type of attitude.  Good grades, salary bonuses, promotions, MVP trophies, championship rings, and headlines in your local paper are some of the many ways we do this.  Overall, this system seems to work pretty well.  But, at least in baseball, there can be a downside.  A hitter can do everything “right” and still make an out by hitting a bullet right at someone.  A pitcher can throw a perfect bases loaded, 3-2 count fastball at the knees that is called a ball by the umpire.
The point is, in baseball and sometimes in life, individual results can, at times, be completely out of your hands.  Focusing on a results driven definition of “success” can lead people toward feelings of anxiety because of this lack of control.  As I stated in the previous post, dwelling on past results or possible future ones is a waste of time.  Some might argue that focusing any attention on results may not be best because of the examples I provided.  It’s understandable that the hitter would be disappointed or frustrated by hitting a ball right at someone but did he really “fail” like the drop in batting average seems to indicate?  I certainly don’t think so. 
That’s why I have always recommended players focus on the first and last words in the title of this post.  Approach and Response.  In truth, they are the only things a player has control over.  In sports, so much of winning has to do with what the other team does and we can’t really control much of that.  You don’t tell them how to practice.  You don’t control their hitting philosophy or the way they train for bunt plays.  All you can really control is your approach to a particular situation and your response to whatever happens.  Once the pitch leaves the pitcher’s hand, the result is up to the hitter, catcher, and umpire at that point.  The pitcher’s job is done after he gets rid of the ball and can only react to what happens next.  What happens next is in the hands of someone else.
I believe most of the things associated with the negative side of sports occur when people focus too much attention on the results.  Cheating, unsportsmanlike conduct, tantrums, ejections, burnout, arguments between parents in the stands, etc. are all results driven.   Placing closer attention to the things you can control – your approach and your response – alleviates a lot of the stress that can sap a player’s potential.
Interestingly enough, when players and teams focus on the proper approach and the proper response, they usually find that the results they were ultimately looking for are far more likely to occur.

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