Keep in mind that Frank is only in 8th grade, but in Florida, schools allow an athlete to bump up and play varsity if he’s good enough.
I told Frank we were going to China as a family and that everything would work out. When he showed a little doubt I quipped, “Son, you’re forgetting who your Dad is. If I say I’ll have you ready, then I’ll have you ready. Don’t think for one instant that you’re not going to be working out when you’re overseas.”
For part of the trip, my son didn’t train. I gave him a much needed break and breather. But when we had a week left before heading home, I cranked it up.
Much of the training we did could be classified as the “mental game.”
“If you want to make the varsity,” I told Frank, “you’re going to have to do it with your bat. Being you’re a lefty and you throw gas – you’re probably going to get some innings no matter what. But if you want to be in the lineup all the time, your bat is the way to prove you belong. If you can hit missiles, it’ll be hard for the coach to keep you on the bench.”
So we worked on applying Theatre of the Mind with eyes wide open, in various ways, many of which I cover in the new program.
A couple weeks after practices began, Frank informed me that he made the varsity. A week later he told me he’d be starting the first couple games due to a key player being injured.
After the key player returned to the lineup, the coach still found a way to work Frank into the lineup. Instead of him playing right field, he
would be the DH (designated hitter) for the pitcher. And he would pitch or play first base, when needed.
Now, when we were in China, I never dreamed my son would be the DH. Are you kidding me? As an 8th grader? It’s unheard of.
But that’s what can happen when you set your mind on a target and never allow your vision to become distracted.
Last night we had our final game of the season. It was a tough loss to a very good team. A personal highlight for Frank is that he knocked
in a run during his first at bat, walked his second time up – and stole second (his first stolen bag of the year).
I know my words are sinking in with my son because last night, when we were inside the house, the first thing he said to me was, “Now that the high school season is over I can start training hard again.”
Now, if my son wants and needs a rest, he’ll take it, or I’ll demand it, like we did last December, in China.
Knowing when to rest is important. But far too many people can’t wait to rest. They’re always looking for a break.
Winners are looking for opportunities to train, to advance, to make themselves better. Winners understand that most of the time, rest equals rust.
If you want to get good at something – you gotta put in the time.
If you want to be great at something – you don’t just put in the physical time – you practice the mental game, too.
And if you want to be the best at what you do – you need an unwavering committment to excellence. You also need to realize that becoming great and excelling require you to focus MORE on your TRAINING than on winning and losing.
In team sports, winning and losing are not in the direct control of only one person – but your training, your approach, your attitude, your love and enthusiasm for the game – that is ALWAYS within your control.
Late last night my son was outdoors throwing a ball against the wall in between rounds of homework. I walked up to him with my hands dangling at my sides. He stopped, wondering what I was doing. I reached out. I put my arms around him and said, “Frank, congratulations on a great season. Way to work. Way to put in the time.”
Then I turned and walked away.
An 8th grade DH? The thought still makes my jaw drop.
It shows that when you mix the power of physical practice with the power of mental game practice, there’s no telling what you can accomplish.
Get Theatre of the Mind NOW and astonish friends, family, fiends and foes.