Thursday, November 6, 2008
Between the Ears
RT Staff Note: The following is from the book "Mind Gym" by Gary Mack. Gary is a leading sports psychology consultant and counselor who has worked with professional athletes in every major sport. He is president of two consulting firms, Sports Assist and Planning Solutions.
Like our beliefs and attitudes, our thinking can be a powerful ally. How we think affects how we feel, and how we feel affects how we perform. My job is to help athletes think clearly and use their minds effectively by teaching them to turn their negative critic into a positive coach.
One day, I was at Yale field in Connecticut, visiting the Mariners' Double A club, the New Haven Ravens. One of the young center fielders was struggling in the batting cage. "Mack, I'm never going to get this," he said between cuts. Her shook his head. "i don't have a clue." His negative critic was hard at work, shouting into his ear with a bullhorn.
"Let me ask you something,"I said. "If Ken Griffy Jr. thought like that, how good a batter do you think he would be?"
The question stopped the kid.
He knew that if Griffey thought the way the minor leaguer did, the Mariners' slugger wouldn't perform well either. The kid's thinking was hurting him more than his swing. He needed to change his thinking, or at least give his mind a rest. Ted Williams offered some sage advice: "if you don't think too good, then don't think too much."
Just as we have irrational and unrealistic beliefs, we all are guilty of distorted and dysfunctional thinking. Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine said, "I went through the 'Don't do this' syndrome at certain times in my career when facing certain batters. I told myself not to hang a curve ball. Sure enough, I did. Now I focus on 'Do this.' It's a significant difference."
Which voice do you hear? Which is louder, the negative critic or the positive coach. You can choose to listen to the voice that offers and reinforces positive thought. It has been said that thoughts become words. Words become actions. Actions become habits. Habits become character. Character becomes your destiny.