Mind Over Sports

Archive for April 2012

It’s not bad when a coach speaks up for his or her team during competition when a bad call is made by a referee, but when this behavior is carried to excess, it provides the team with a justification for losing. (“The ref ****** us.”) Coaches need to control their tempers and be cautious when criticizing refs during games. And those coaches who are unable to control their tempers more than likely have an issue or issues in their personal lives that are affecting their behavior in public. They need to get counseling and get their personal lives in order.

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If you’re a recreational golfer and want to improve your score, here’s an idea you might want to try.  When you arrive at the course you’re going to play, have a pad and pen with you and write down all the things that may be going through your mind (before you tee off) regarding chores you may have coming up. Like “Don’t forget to bring milk home for the baby,” or “Be sure to drop off the deposit at the bank” or “Remember to make that important phone call when you return to work.” Once you’ve written on paper all the things that are going through your mind, and you no longer have to worry about remembering them, just leave the list on your car seat and head for the course, knowing the list will be there when you finish. You’ll find that you’ll be unencumbered with “baggage” and will definitely be more focused on the job at hand: Shooting an excellent score . Good luck, and let me know how this works for you. Send me an e-mail at marv@mindoversports.com.  And  by the way, this works for all sports…not just golf.

Throwing a perfect game in Major League Baseball is a great accomplishment. But from my perspective, when White Sox pitcher Phil Humber threw his perfect game against the Seattle Mariners I believe he may have been helped by anger some Seattle team members may have had toward their manager, Eric Wedge, for showing preferential treatment when disciplining his players. Wedge insists on “accountability” yet doesn’t treat everyone equally. He publicly punished shortstop Brendon Ryan by benching him but refuses to bench catcher Miguel Olivo for his consistent bad performance on the field. No one knows Wedge’s reasons but I’m sure they don’t sit well with team members.
Very often pitchers are helped by issues and concerns that may exist with players on the opposing team. In 2008, when former Mets pitcher Carlos Zambrano threw his no-hitter against the Houston Astros I believe he was helped by the fact that, because of Hurricane Ike, the game was moved from Houston to Milwaukee’s Miller Park and the Houston Astros players’ families were left behind in Houston and the players’ concern for their families’ safety affected their ability to focus.

I recently had an opportunity to interview Dr. Tommy Burnett who spent 40 years as a professor at Missouri State University. Dr. Burnett has a PhD in Sport Psychology and is also an expert in Sports Law and Risk Management. He told me that when athletes exercise, the oxygen goes to the muscles first. But alcohol interferes with the oxygen supply making an athlete susceptible to injury. The consumption of alcohol interferes with the transportation of oxygen to the body’s muscle cells and is not being delivered to the ligaments and tendons. When the muscle fibers are deprived of oxygen, the athlete is more prone to injuries. Especially joint injuries. This is pretty common knowledge among personal trainers who work on professional athletes but it’s a fact often hidden from public view since there is a close association of the marketing of alcoholic beverages and sports, especially professional sports. So when you read where an athlete is experiencing muscle and ligament problems, there’s a possibility that particular athlete is also consuming substantial amounts of alcohol in his or her personal life.

Though it’s true that Miami Marlin’s manager Ozzie Guillen has a right to free speech, his comments regarding Fidel Castro probably won’t get him fired. But what will get him fired is if Florida fans boycott Marlins games and stay away in droves. At that point it will become an economic issue and Guillen’s tenure as manager will be history. There’s a good lesson to be learned from this and hopefully Guillen will come to understand that he needs to think before he speaks. Especially when he has a high profile job as manager of a major league baseball team.

When Yeonis Cespedes fled Castro’s Cuba for an opportunity to play MLB is America, he was fortunate to have signed a four-year, $36 million contract as a free agent with the Oakland Athletics. When he left, Cespedes was able to bring with him his mother, aunt and three cousins. However, his 2-year-old son, Yeonis Jr. stayed behind with his mother, who is not married to Cespedes. And according to an article in USA Today, since arriving in America, “Cespedes is batting .212 with three homers and seven RBI. He has reached base safely in nine of 10 games but also has struck out in all but one game, for an alarming 15 times in 33 at-bats.” In my opinion, this is another example of how off-field issues affect on-field performance. If I were advising the Oakland front office, I would recommend they do everything in their power to bring Cespedes’ son and the mother of his child to America ASAP.

Those of you familiar with my Psycho Self-Imagery Principle know that when you are living a lie and your life is in disharmony, you will create negative events in your life. Such was the case with University of Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino. It’s a generally accepted theory that fame and wealth often act as aphrodisiacs and could well be the reason he was having an affair with a woman half his age.  But in addition, he “knowingly mislead” the university and engaged in reckless behavior which resulted in his being fired from a job that was going to pay him $24.92 million over the life of his seven-year contract.  And it’s not over yet.  More than likely his wife, who is also the mother of his four children, will divorce him.  And the twenty-five-year-old employee, Jessica Dorrell, who was riding on the back of his motorcycle when they crashed, was given $20,000 by Petrino and no one knows why.  One has to wonder what she doing on the back of that motorcycle in the first place since she is engaged to be married to Josh Morgan, director of operations for the Arkansas women’s swimming and diving team.  So I would look for some additional negative things happening in her life as well.  And next up, Roger Clemens.


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