Ken and I wrote Heads-Up Baseball 2.0 by recording and transcribing our phone conversations and then using the transcripts as the foundation for the book.
Here’s a clip that makes a vital point about one of the many challenges of the mental game…
TOM: Okay, Tom Hanson here along with Ken Ravizza. Hello Ken.
KEN: How you doin’ Tom?
TOM: I am doing great. I’m excited to get this going.
First off, we’ll talk about the challenge that players face when they decide to play baseball. We’ve got a few different categories here, but we’re first going to start with the nature of the game. So, the nature of the game Ken, when we’re talking about baseball, what is it about baseball that makes it so hard? What I find is that guys will go into it with an idea that the game is a certain way, and not fully understand the complexities and the nuances of what they’re actually doing.
We joked about the infamous General George Custer coming over a hill, thinking it’s going to be an easy fight against a group of Native Americans, and then there’s a whole lot more of them than he thought, and so he got surprised and wiped out. We find that a lot of players kind of end up being surprised by what they have to face when they decide that they really want to play high-level baseball.
KEN: I think that’s well put Tom in terms of the expectations, and how the expectations play into it, into the game because the game, the game is a hard game. I think as you said in your book Play Big, the game doesn’t care. The game just presents you with different things. It’s going to put you in situations, and what’s amazing about baseball that I find challenging, and it goes back to my early days with coach Augie Garrido when he would always talk about the obstacles in baseball being boredom and frustration, and I didn’t know what he meant, but he explained to me that boredom was in the game. There’s so much time to think between the action where the play goes, it stops, there’s time to think. I mean the only game that’s more mental is golf.
KEN: I mean there’s so much time built into it, but then the other thing the game presents you is the frustration factor in terms of you do everything right, but you don’t get any results. I mean it’s like if you’re playing basketball and you shoot the ball right, it goes in the hole, you know, unless someone blocks it, but that’s not that often, but if you do it right, it goes in the basket.
KEN: In baseball you square the ball up and drive it, and the guy reaches and makes a great catch, you don’t have control of that, so the game is constantly frustrating you as well. So you’ve got within the game, you have this, it doesn’t care, it’s hard because it gives you so much time to think, and then you start overthinking, and that interferes with your performance, and you’re handed frustration and things that you have to adjust to constantly.
TOM: All right, so let’s talk a little more about what you mean by that the game doesn’t care. It doesn’t care about what?
KEN: It doesn’t care about that you did everything right, and therefore you should get the prize.
TOM: [laughs] Right.
KEN: It demands that you remain present and get to the next pitch with what you’ve got for that next pitch. That’s what the game demands.
KEN: And you know the game can be simply the execution of the skills, like hitting, can be simple at times, but it can get so complex at times, and one thing I always remember Tim Salmon, Angel player a few years ago mentioned was, “The game’s never easy. It goes from simple to complex, but it’s never easy,” and I think that is really valid. I mean when guys are hitting well… “Man, see the ball, hit the ball.” And when they’re not hitting well, there’s a lot of other stuff that comes into it. So there’s once again the game demands adjustments, Tom, based upon the duration of the baseball season. I don’t know of a sport that has more games at whatever level. You look at a high school football team. They may have 12 games. A high school baseball team is going to have three times that many at least. Major league baseball is going to play 162 games.And you’re going to take some blows in that journey, and you’re not going to feel good all the time as you play the game, but the key becomes getting to that next pitch with what you’ve got.
The game is hard. It doesn’t care if you’ve worked hard or not, or if you’ve done everything right: There’s no promise of positive results, and you have to get good a dealing with that. HUB2 and our coaching programs are our response to these and more challenges. It gives you access to the techniques, mindsets and solutions the best in the game have come up with to handle the challenges the game throws at you as a player, coach or parent.
Click here to get a free copy of Heads-Up Baseball 2.0! [Limited Time Offer]