Mind Over Sports

Archive for May 2014

Last night on HBO I watched a disturbing report about horse racing in America and how trainers are (legally) drugging horses to enhance their performance. Many of the horses are suffering heart attacks and dying on the tracks. I invite you to watch www.hbo.com/real-sports-with-bryant-gumbel#/ and I’m sure you’ll agree with me 100%.

With the 2014 NFL Draft coming up, the media, including The New YorkTimes, are looking back at the 1998 draft when Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning were the number one and number two draft choices. Peyton was drafted by the Colts, Ryan by the Chargers. The media is questioning why Ryan’s career fizzled and why Peyton’s took off. It’s easy to blame the athlete but we, the public, are almost never privy to what may have gone on behind the scenes between Ryan and his San Diego Coaches that could have caused his career to collapse.

I reside in Springfield, Missouri, where the Missouri State University’s baseball team is often visited by major league scouts. On one such occasion I noticed an African-American man who was scouting for the Atlanta Braves. Walter and I struck up a conversation and he told me he used to use his 6’ 4” frame and 230 lbs to throw 90 mile per hour fastballs. He had a certain style of pitching that had served him well throughout high school and college. After graduating, he was drafted by one of the major league baseball teams and a pitching coach was assigned to help him. Unfortunately, his new pitching coach immediately tried to change his style of throwing, which didn’t sit well with Walter. Instead of standing up to his coach he acquiesced and tried to change his style of pitching but to no avail. Soon, he was released by the team and in retrospect, he now feels it was a mistake not to speak up and attempt to change his coach’s approach to training him. This is a good example of what former major league manager Whitey Herzog once said (and I’m paraphrasing): “Very often the team cuts the player when they should have gotten rid of the coach.”


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Mind Over Sports
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