Resiliency to Bounce Back in Games
Mistakes are a part of sports. No player is perfect. Even a being perfect isn’t necessarily perfect.
In the true sense of perfection, a game that was perfect would imply a pitcher throw 27 unhittable strikes.
The key is how resilient are you as an athlete or a team.
Resiliency is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, errors, mistakes, bad calls or bad games.
Resiliency requires both mental toughness (the ability to persevere despite adversity) and focus (the ability to focus in the present on the proper cues).
Tampa Bay Rays, wild card winner, were facing divisional winner the Boston Red Sox in the American League Divisional Series. Despite losing the season series 12-7, Tampa Bay jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first game of the series.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, things began to unravel for the Rays after a series of miscues…
It all began with a miscommunication in the outfield that caused a ball to bounce between two outfielders into the bullpen for a ground rule double…
Pitcher Matt Moore was slow to cover first base on a slow hopper to the first baseman causing the base runner to be called safe and a run to score. Left-fielder Sean Rodriguez misplayed a ball off the Green Monster allowing the ball to carom passed him allowing another run to score.
Catcher Jose Lobaton allowed one batter reached safely on a dropped third strike which would have ended the inning and eventually resulted in another run to score later in the inning.
None of misplays were scored an error but the result was a switch in momentum with Boston taking the lead 5-2 and, eventually winning the game, 12-2.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, 2-time Manager of the Year, tried to put the game into perspective as he alluded to the importance of resiliency.
“We’ve been playing very well. We’ve not been making any mistakes. We made a bunch tonight but I’ve also learned one other thing regarding baseball: 24 hours can make a huge difference. That’s just one game, baby. That’s just one. We’ll be back tomorrow, I promise you. We’ll be ready to play. We will not be affected mentally by tonight’s game.”
A lot of insight on how to become more resilient can be gained by examining Maddon’s philosophy.
- Understand mistakes and misplays are a part of the game.
- Recognize that one play, one game does not define.
- Realize that you will (most likely) get another opportunity, another chance, or another game to succeed.
- Be ready for that opportunity by continuing to prepare and practice the way you want to play.
- Focus on your successes and your strengths, don’t dwell on loses.
- Refuse to allow yesterday (the last play) to determine today (the present play).
Resiliency is an amazing life skill to develop.
Remember the harder you are thrown, the higher you can bounce back.
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