Win at the Basics…Win More Games

I have the privilege of serving as the Sport Psych to a few teams and organizations and this weekend I was either in the dugout or watching from the stands with a couple of them.  Here were some takeaways…

  • You won’t always be the best team talent wise but you can always win the controllables that lead to consistent wins over the best talent:
    • Pregame preparation
    • Playing 1 pitch at a time
    • Communicating on the field and from the dugout
    • Staying positive amidst adversity
    • Encouraging teammates after errors
    • Congratulating teammates when they have success
    • Remaining an active participant even when not in the game

These are just a few things that I saw teams do well and not so well this weekend…and the results showed.

Over the next few days I’ll cover these and some strategies to conquer the controllables:

Pregame Preparation:  Have simple routines and systems ALREADY in place that cover:

Coach:

  1. Arrival time
  2. Stretching routine time
  3. Starting lineup
  4. White Board: Team Process Goals for that game that will give team best chance of winning

Athlete: 

  1. Night before
    • 5 minutes visual imagery session seeing success before it happens
    • Pack snacks/lunch (bananas, snickers, sandwiches…) that will fuel your machine.
  2. Performance Threshold: Find a physical place that mentally represents where you shed your personal life and put on your performance self.  When you cross that threshold the only thing that matters is the game and your team’s success.
  3. Combine physical and mental warm up routines to be best prepared:
    • Stretching while doing present moment awareness breathing – breathing into each muscle
    • Use your throwing warmup as a focus time to read the ball out of your throwing partners hand like you would at the plate and see it all the way into your glove
    • Use the national anthem or dead time while managers exchange lineups as a time to talk to yourself and go over your mission for the game.  Keep it to one mission like “see the ball today as if it were a million dollar bill every pitch”

A pregame preparation routine is not difficult or burdensome but it does take effort and dedication until it becomes first nature.  Not every athlete or team will be willing to put in the prep – Advantage to the athlete who does.

Will it guarantee success?  No.  But it will give you the greatest chance of playing your best when gametime arrives while everyone is trying to get it together as they’re stepping to the plate…Confident play comes from confident preparation.

Developing and dedicating yourself to a consistent pregame routine can be the difference maker in a less talented team with a consistent pregame process beating a better team relying on talent alone.

Dedicated to your thought life,

Ray III