As a pitcher, heck as a human being we have a ton of things constantly churning in our heads.
As an athlete we tend to get stuck on the things that could go wrong.
If you follow me at all, see my social content, read my blogs, listen to my podcasts, heck maybe you are one of my athletes, you know that I put it out there from a great WORLD CLASS LEADER, Simon Sinek that our brains cannot process negativity.
Who remembers my blog about, Simon Sinek his study of the brain not being able to process negativity?
"Don't think about an elephant." You just thought about an elephant didn't you?
Here is the link to watch this again! >>> https://youtube.com/shorts/LerZNVVyP-4?feature=share
"If you focus on the obstacles all you will see is the obstacles." -Simon Sinek
Key point here is I started with "don't," this is negative. The moment we as pitchers start thinking, don't hit her, don't walk her, don't throw a meat ball....guess what....all of the above happens. We get stuck on it and because we allowed ourselves to think it, to envision it...we chose our outcome in that moment.
SO much so that at times we get stuck on one of them and we can't even fathom getting past it.
Well how can we get out of this way of thinking, this mental loop that we keep allowing ourselves to keep believing every time we are faced with adversity in a sport that we love to play?
FIRST THINGS FIRST: Lets keep things SIMPLE here and focus on our brain and the ability to CHOOSE your success. I know it is nuts to even think that but again, lets keep it simple.
Years ago before visualization of your success was trending, there was a lady who would always tell me to "see it little bit." That lady was and is my mom and she was my first coach up until 12 years of age. She managed to say that phrase even while watching me play college softball right behind the ump. What the heck does this even mean...to "see it little bit?"
**KEEP IT SIMPLE** exactly what it says!
That above, those three words "keep it simple" are the key to allowing yourself to connect your brain to your body. The moment you allow the obstacles to come in, you literally start to weigh yourself down and block the connection. Example: I would like a glass of water, what do I need to get that glass of water? Simple, walk to the cabinet get a glass out and fill my glass with water.
Obstacle way of thinking, what if I can't reach the glasses, what is I fall, what if I drop the glass and it breaks? (((STOP IT!!!!!))) no more! What if I's are NOT allowed to enter your beautiful brain my friends! Have you not gotten a glass of water successfully over and over again? So why are you allowing all of the "what ifs" to make you think you are anything less than what you truly are? You are fully capable of getting a glass of water just like you are fully capable of throwing a pitch to get the last out!
Now I got you revved up and ready to learn how you can access your inner SUPER HERO!
Have you ever heard of the book
"How Do You Eat an Elephant? One Bite at a Time!"
By: Bill Hogan
>>>Here is a little video clip on the break down of what exactly this phrase means.
By the way you are correct you read that or heard that right....
how do you eat an elephant....one bite at a time.
This is where you have to start your mental prep to BULK your MENTAL MUSCLE.
Just like in pitching it is one pitch at a time, same think here...one though at a time.
>>>side note here: I am not sponsored by anyone of the authors, leaders or youtubers I simply see value, have implemented it into my own life and I and I want to continue that share through my platform.
So lets talk about visualization or envisioning the play, the game....heck maybe even how our practice is going to go.
To get started I encourage you to watch or listen this 5 minute clip below.
>>>A short clip about visualization techniques by some of out top world class athletes.
Copy and paste this link to watch: https://youtu.be/VHISQ6xIGZE
Okay now that I have your attention...
Pitchers! Lets take a field trip. No need to get up, you can take this one from the comfort of where you are or maybe you want to go lay in your bed, sit in your favorite chair.
Are you there?
Lets build our picture, you are on the mound, bases are loaded and the count is full. Sure everything around you tells you to be scared but to truly be scared means you are going to run from that situation, like walk off the mound pack your bat bag and leave. In this situation YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE to be excited and walk into courage. See courage means you are going to move forward through this situation.
Next thing I want you to visualize is the runner on third trying to bait you. In this moment you choose to stay in your tunnel and focus on the controllable. This doesn't mean you don't see her, you do but your drive is focused on the final pitch that will get the batter out.
With the sound of the crowd , your teammates and overall intensity increasing you choose to be excited and have courage. The pitch that you are going to throw is called. You give your catcher, the teammate that is going to make you look amazing as you will her and you give her a subtle nod of acceptance of the pitch being called.
You start to feel your heart rate rise but then you remember you have trained one pitch at a time, days in days out for this exact moment. This moment was made for you, made for you to own. You start to feel a sudden abundance of calmness come over you...this is you in the tunnel, in the zone...that "eye of the tiger" moment, you "owning your opportunity to do great things!"
You step on the mound and move into your pitch fully trusting every moment of training you have ever had up into this moment and you throw the pitch.
Stop, yes that's correct. I want you to stop, to take a moment here. Sure we can imaging you threw a smoking outside fastball and the batter swung and missed it but I want to push you to envision EVERY scenario.
How many of you know who Koby Bryant is? Right...all of you! He wasn't just the player he was because he physically outworked his competition but he also mentally out worked his competition . He would envision EVERY scenario, from the simple to the toughest to even the freak moments. This was truly one of Koby's biggest degrees of separations from his competition, this was his main intangibles. Because he worked so much harder on his mental game it poured confidence into his emotional and physical game which then allowed him to choose excitement, not fear hen lead to calm, cool and confident.
>>>>>Here is a short video that talks about "Mental Imagery" just copy and paste the link into you URL to watch. https://youtu.be/b_vqkXQb5yE
Okay now that I have your creativeness flowing lets talk about all of the scenarios for the final out:
You throw a strike and she strikes out looking.
You throw an outside fb and she swings and misses it.
You throw a rise ball and she pops up and your catcher catches it but as you see your catcher move to catch you go cover home (don't be a spectator, be a part of any play)
You throw a change up, low and she lunges at it causing her timing to be completely off in her bat speed and she grounds out to your 2nd baseman.
You throw what was intended to be a screwball and it falls in meat ball land on the plate, she smacks it to left center and your center fielder does her job and catches it.
You pitch your pitch and it is hit to your third baseman, she bobbles the ball. In that moment you see that your short stop is at third covering because the runner on 2nd is advancing to 3rd. You know all we need is one more out t get out of the inning so you tell her go 3!! She is in a better position to just flip from her knees and allow the SS to catch the ball and get the force out.
Whew so are you tired a little bit? Mentally challenged at this moment? Good you should be. This is a sign that you need to bulk up your mental muscle. KEY POINT here, I didn't focus on losing the game because I am focusing on training my mental muscle to WIN, to be successful in this particular situation.
With that you should ALWAYS look for wins in every moments to keep your mind on the positive side of things. Allowing yourself to listen to the negative, read, see and experience the only negative moment swill slowly deteriorate you and make you want to quit the sport you once loved so much. Heck as a coach if you only ALWAYS focus on the negativity that comes with coaching this too will make you want to quit. So I challenge all of you ATHLETE, COACH, EVEN PARENTS to find the win in EVERY situation.
>>>>Side note: if you say well what is there isn't a win in the situation....(insert buzzer sound for WRONG ANSWER in this thought) bottom line is, there has to be, you have to see it...YOU HAVE TO envision it in your mind!
Which brings me right back to the beginning of this:
"If you focus on the obstacles all you will see is the obstacles." -Simon Sinek
So instead of focusing on the obstacles out of fear lets focus on the direct way to succeed out of excitement!
It's that simple!
***For more great tips on how to BULK your MENTAL MUSCLE subscribe to my website so you will be the first to know when my NEW MEMBERSHIPS are out!
"Remember when given the choice to choose Fear or Excitement, CHOOSE to be EXCITED."
-Coach Kally V.
CEO Kally V. Softball LLC
Subscribe to my podcast to listen to this plus added bonus material: here is the link to listen to this episode >>>> https://anchor.fm/kally-v/episodes/The-Brain-and-Body-Connection-mentalmadness-e1m2260/a-a8b9hvj