We all laugh at the Yogiism…
- “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
- “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
Hopefully you realized I was talking about the hall of famer and not the cartoon character!
I am certainly not asking you to spend too much time on what Yogi said, but once you get done laughing, possibly making fun; You start to realize what he meant. Some might agree it makes a lot of sense, but I will save that for another blog.
Today I am more focused on the fact we say and accept baseball statements without giving them much thought. We take the generic road, blurting out things and then if it works, as we are smelling our own perfume, we assume it’s right. Well as Lemony Snicket said, “Assumptions are dangerous things to make…” But isn’t that what we do when we say, Baseball is a Mental Game?
The assumption is repeated over and over again like a broken record; Listen up guys, the mental side of baseball is some percentage value [e.g. 80%, 85%, 90%] of the game! Unfortunately for most the motivation words is about as far as it goes because everyone seems willing to accept the fact, “We are never going to practice it.”
I get it, practicing the mental game is such an imperceptible thing its easy to understand why most teams and players view taking more grounders or another round of BP as the next best thing. So, I posed the question to the late Dick “Schoonie” Schoonover and without hesitation he said, “Tai Chi.” He credits Tai Chi to the success he had performing over 10,000 pitching lessons with quality pitchers like Eric Milton, Dustin Hermanson, and Micah Owens.
“Think about it,” Schoonie said, “whether you are at the plate or on the hill you want your athlete to have smooth mechanics and composure.” Lemony Snicket aside I admit the first picture that came to my mind was a bunch of elderly people in the park. Practicing what I preach, I needed to look at Tai Chi differently. I needed to truly UNDERSTAND before I make my decision.
Graceful: The more I researched Tai Chi, the more I understood Schoonies’ Tai Chi straightaway response. In a Living Well article “Tai Chi: Medication in Motion,” Mark Fuerst stated “Tai Chi can…make body movements more graceful and efficient…” Isn’t that how we describe the best-of-the-best in baseball; “he plays this game so smooth and graceful.”
Thinking without Thinking: When describing the mindfulness of Tai Chi Dr. Peter Wayne, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School referenced Tai Chi as providing “honesty with what is… awareness without trying to fix it or improve it.” Strikes are an outcome of good mechanics and focus more on hitting the baseball versus dictating where it has to end up.
The more I read, the more I listened the more I agreed. So whether you are looking for a particular player, or you want to be that particular player I am sure you will agree having the ability to play this game with a composed, graceful, and as Nike would say, “Just Do it,” attitude then I recommend you consider making Tai Chi part of your work out regiment. After all Yogi said, “Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”
Here are some Most Valuable Player Recommendations:
- The Handbook for Success by Glenn Moore
- Pick up Tai Chi Video to workout with at home
- Focus on What he says, not how he says it and Check out the YouTube interview of Dr. Peter Wayne [It’s a playlist of several videos] discussing Tai Chi. I especially like “What does mindfulness mean in the context of Tai Chi? https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL81149085C781D0D6
Until next blog,