REDLEG STATE OF MIND #2–21
May 14, 2021
Monthly newsletter of the Cincinnati Reds Mental Skills Program. What we’re pondering and promoting to optimize your mental performance.
- Opening week of the 2021 Minor League Baseball season! This week’s theme is New Beginnings.
2. What we’re watching: Last Chance U on Netflix. What are you willing to sacrifice to continue pursuit of your dreams of playing ball at the next level? This critically acclaimed series follows three separate and successful Junior College football programs across the country led by controversial coaches leading elite athletes with difficult pasts taking their last shot at playing at the next level. The stories of these young men and what they go through on and off the field is both inspiring and concerning in ways that grab hold of you and ask “what happens next?” This doc is a case study on the attitudes and behaviors that can help and hurt players and coaches individually and as a team when it comes to performing on and off the field.
3. What we’re listening to: The Coaching Culture Podcast, Episode 183: Creating a Growth Culture within Your Staff | Mano Watsa CEO of PGC. Thanks to Jose Moreno (Dayton Dragons’ Field Manager) for recommending this pod. When it comes to the mental game of coaching, it all starts with trust and communication. During minor league and major league camps this year, our leadership from top to bottom set the tone and shaped the conditions for success by talking about one of our favorite leadership topics: expectations.
Expectations are the belief that something is going to happen, usually based on two factors: 1) relative experience, and 2) credible information. When you have 1 of 2 of those things, that’s usually considered anticipation (e.g. like the weather within 24 hrs). When you have none of those things, it’s an assumption (e.g. like COVID-19 this time last year). As we learned recently, we sometimes have to plan and operate off assumptions. However, solely operating off assumptions over time increases the chances of friction, frayed relationships, disappointment and poor performance. We all know the old adage about assumptions making a “____ out of you and me.” It’s well known because it’s true.
In order to move the needle towards mutually understood expectations, we need to be very clear about what we anticipate and expect of ourselves in terms of our own attitudes and behavior first and foremost. Then, we can clearly communicate and productively influence others about what we expect of them. This is not a one-way communication from the coach to player or from teammate to teammate. When was the last time you asked a player how he expects you to coach him? If we can do this right, and the right way, it increases the chances that we are on the same page with our teammates in what’s referred to as “shared consciousness,” a trait shared by all great teams.
4. What we’re reading: Introduction to Stoicism by Ryan Holiday. What Is Stoicism? A Definition & 9 Stoic Exercises To Get You Started. At the core of our approach to mental skills is the concept and practice of Stoic Philosophy. It’s a time honored philosophy that’s over 2K years old. designed to help make us more resilient, happier, more virtuous and more wise — and as a result, better players, coaches, parents and professionals. If you like this article, we recommend subscribing to the Daily Stoic which is a short daily newsletter (less than 2 min reads) that’s chalked full of good stuff to get your day kick-started.
5. Quote of the week: In celebrating the ability to compete against others as the Minor League season kicks off, we turn to Pete Carroll and his emphasis on always competing:
“My opponents are not my enemies. My opponents are the people who offer me the opportunity to succeed. The tougher my opponents, the more they present me with an opportunity to live up to my full potential and play my best.”
— Coach Pete Carroll
6. Quiz of the week: In the spirit of competition we are beginning a quiz series. Here’s the deal: the first player to reach out to us (text, email, DM etc.) with the correct answer, will be awarded with a special prize (to be revealed later).
Question: What are the 4 Stoic Virtues?
#Trainyourbrain and #Upyourgame
- Tyler and Andy
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