Fire vs. Poise - By Coach Ron Wolforth
Is it any wonder young athletes are confused, frustrated, hesitant and/or unsure?
On one hand they routinely hear from their coaches, instructors and parents that it is absolutely imperative to do things with passion and emotion. They have to act with fire, fervor and enthusiasm.
On the other hand, they are also continually exhorted to keep their heads about them when the game gets tight. They are advised to be cool, calm and play with poise and self control.
So what is it? Passionate or Coolheaded? Emotion or Poise? Fire or Self Control?
The obvious answer is… “It just depends”.
The challenge is… it depends upon ‘what’ exactly?
The late Earl Nightingale may have offered us a clue when he said “History tells us, when it comes to excellence and superior performance, the path is clear. Identify what a majority of people do in any specific endeavor and then do the exact opposite. ‘Mediocrity’, by definition, is conventional thinking condensed down into a universal, standard operating procedure. Excellence then, in contrast, is behavior that is uncommon, atypical, extraordinary and unique.”
So the next question then becomes, “If fire and poise are both critical to success, how do we assist our young people in understanding when to unleash their passion and when to be imperturbable and stoic?”
Keeping Nightingale’s insight in the front of our mind, let’s look first at what is commonplace.
At practice and at training, the typical interaction and behavior is businesslike, pedestrian, routine, mundane, repetitive, unremarkable and monotonous.
In a game on the other hand, when the scoreboard is turned on, the behavior is considerably different. In the heat of competition, energy gets ramped up significantly. We see angst, tension, intensity, heightened emotions, celebration and reveling from both coaches and players.
So what do we at the Texas Baseball Ranch® suggest?
We endorse training and practice to involve a great deal of high energy… to have angst, tension, intensity, passion, celebration and intentional emotion.
We recommend that behavior in games should exude poise, control, focus, composure and presence of mind. Especially as the game gets to its most critical moments, exceptional performers are able to manage their emotions, remain present and execute their skills based upon the specific demands of the game.
In Practice / Training: Ramp the intensity, energy and emotion WAY up. Whenever possible, compete with consequences. Continually and constantly celebrate and reinforce what you want to see more of.
In the game: Remain focused, cool, calm and collected. Manage your emotions. Be strategic, intentional and purposeful. Stay level headed and remain in the present moment.
This is EXACTLY the opposite of what occurs all around the baseball universe every year.
We believe having fire, passion, emotion and enthusiasm is indeed critically important to success. It is our belief that emotion is even more important during the daily grind of practice and training. If athletes become accustomed to handling pressure, anxiety, tension, conflict and emotion during their regular work, they will be far better prepared to remain reticent and unflappable during moments of intense duress.
Botton Line: Be uncommon. In practice, when everybody is sleep-walking and going through the motions, be fiery and intense. When everybody is amped up in the heat of competition, instead be calm, unflustered, clear-eyed and level headed.
This will not happen by accident. It must be on purpose.
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ATTENTION Coaches – Did you miss our Ultimate Pitching Coaches Bootcamp? Don’t worry, you can still order the event DVDs which include all 17 presentations featuring Brent Strom (Houston Astros), Derek Johnson (Cincinnati Reds), Dewey Robinson (Tampa Bay Rays), Vern Gambetta (GAIN), Dave Lawn (Univ. of AZ) plus nine others including the entire TBR staff. You’re definitely going to want these for your library. Go to www.coachesbootcamp.com or give us as call and we’ll get you set up!
ATTENTION Pitchers – There are only two opportunities remaining to get to The Texas Baseball Ranch® and participate in an Elite Pitchers Bootcamp before the start of the 2019 season. Those dates are Dec. 28-30 and Jan. 19-21 (Martin Luther King Holiday). This is the perfect way to get a jump start on the 2019 season and your competition! To learn more or register go to: https://www.texasbaseballranch.com/events/epbc/
SPECIAL 1-Week Session – We are offering a special 1-week training session (Dec. 17-21) for college (and high school) players who’d like to get some extended training in over the winter break. It will follow a similar format to our summer program. You must be a Ranch Returner to participate in this particular session. For more information or to register, call The Ranch office at (936) 588-6762.