Stream of Consciousness, Part VII

In Mental Training by Brock Bourgase

Maintaining Focus: On Wednesday night, Roy Halladay demonstrated the elite focus (and pitching ability) which has made him one of the top pitchers in baseball. Many times, an athlete who has experienced a lengthy career before reaching the postseason makes a mountain out of a molehill and becomes overwhelmed by the occasion. The solution for most athletes is to treat the playoff game like any other but it appears that Halladay was able to take eleven years of frustration and convert it into positive energy.

Halladay’s focus was even more intense and as a result, he was able to pitch the second no-hitter in playoff history. Likely, the Phillies’ ace concentrated on a concrete set of objectives for each batter rather than the spectacle of the playoffs. Not all pitchers were able to do this so far.

Changing Routines: Manager Joe Maddon committed an error in judgment when he started Rocco Baldelli in the designated hitter spot for Game 1 of Tampa Bay’s series with Texas. Maddon felt that Baldelli would be a better match for the Rangers’ Cliff Lee despite the fact that the veteran had only twenty-four at-bats during the season. Changing routines at the last minute is disastrous and desperate.

If the new player succeeds, there is conflict between the reliable regular and the recent addition to of the lineup. Whoever does not play in the next game will feel resentful and may not be able to contribute when called upon in a clutch situation. If the new player fails, an important opportunity is wasted. In either case, the team will sense the coach’s unease and player who contributed all season will likely lose some self-esteem.

In this case, Baldelli was 0-3 with two strikeouts and only saw nine pitches in total; the Rays are down two games to none in the series. Used outside his normal role, Baldelli might even be nervous and impatient the next time that he is called to pinch-hit or pinch-run.

Failing without Honour: The cast of The Apprentice this season is comprised of individuals who have been laid off due to the recent economic misfortune. Having watched a handful of episodes, it is clear why these unsuccessful individuals were among the first laid off by their employers. Very few are motivated to succeed for any reason other than personal glory.

Each week, almost every contestant attempts to sabotage their team’s effort with the goal of saving themselves in the boardroom. There, the group of idiots howls, prevaricates, and contrives to eliminate whoever is perceived to be most vulnerable, irrespective of actual performance or potential for improvement. Donald Trump, evolving further into a high school drama queen with a hair weave abides by this ineptitude. Without George H. Ross to counsel him properly, he fires the most decorous person, usually for no discernable reason.

Like a car wreck, it is difficult to look away. It is equally difficult not to adopt a pejorative attitude. Nevertheless, the futile attempts of this band of rabble provide incessant laughs. Eyeing only the personal prize, at the expense of team success and performance on demand leads eventually to failure. Focusing on the process (i.e. how to make things better), rather than the outcome (i.e. who gets fired) will result in both team and individual improvement. Every single member of this ridiculous rabble needs to develop numerous skills – as well as their personal value system – in order to attain future success again in the real world.