In Part 1 of this post I wrote about something called the Reticular Activation System that all brains have. In a nutshell, this system allows us to sift through the millions of bits of information we receive from our environment every minute and filter through the bits that are relevant and/or important to us. I also wrote how this system can work against a baseball player’s mindset.
Today’s post involves what a player can do to get this system to work for them instead of against them.
Disclaimer: The tips and strategies below should not be seen as alternatives to medication and/or professional therapy for individuals suffering from mental illness. If you think such an illness may be present, seek help from certified professionals.
One of the best ways to get your RAS to work for you is to utilize affirmations. Affirmations are statements that a person can write down and recite to themselves whenever they need to hear them. Many people who have success with affirmations recite them first thing in the morning as a way to start off each day with clear, positive messages. Others may use different affirmations for different situations. As you will see below, I recommend players have three sets of affirmations.
Let me stop here for a second and address something. When people hear “daily affirmations,” many think of some weird, woo-woo, new age, hippie type technique. As a result, some may dismiss it immediately. It is true that it may not be for everyone but brain research supports it and if a player believes it works for them and improves because of it, who cares how others feel about it? You might be surprised at how many major leaguers use versions of this to get them through the grind of a long season. Remember, it’s your career. Do what works for you!
Below are some examples of affirmations players can write down and read/recite when necessary. I’ve seen some players laminate them and keep them in their locker. Others literally write them under the brim of their hat so it’s always there to see. Do whatever works. The ones listed below certainly are not all-inclusive. Players will need to create their own affirmations that are specific to their different needs, strengths, weaknesses, positions, and roles. The sample affirmations below are grouped into three time slots – morning, pre-game, and post-game. Players can create more slots or less slots depending on their needs.
Sample morning affirmations.
- Yesterday’s successes and failures can’t be changed. It’s all about today.
- Today is a new day that I control.
- Today will bring ups and downs and they will all be good for me if I handle them well.
- Today I will strive to be a slightly better player in every area than I was yesterday.
- Above all else, I will be a great teammate.
Sample Pre-game/Practice affirmations.
- Today’s game/practice is another opportunity to get better.
- I will give 100% effort at all times today
- No matter how I perform I will always be a great teammate.
- There is no such thing as perfection in baseball.
- My performance will never define me as a person. I am so much more than a statistic.
Sample Post-Game affirmations.
- Today’s game was an opportunity to learn more about myself as a player and a person.
- Baseball is a game of failure. Failure is necessary for improvement.
- No matter what happened today, I am a good teammate and will become a better player tomorrow.
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