Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘New York Times

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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The following is from a New York Times story, dated May 5, 2013: “In the second round on April 12, Woods’s third shot on No. 15 hit the flag and rolled off the green and into the water. Woods took a one-stroke penalty and dropped the ball in the fairway, a few feet from his original divot, and played his fifth shot.

“Woods unwittingly called his drop into question when he said in an ESPN interview that he took it two yards from the original spot, which was not ‘as nearly as possible’ to the spot from which he first hit, as the rules require. The next day, the Masters rules committee assessed Woods a two-stroke penalty and allowed him to play on, invoking Rule 33-7, which allows the penalty of disqualification for signing an incorrect scorecard to be waived in exceptional individual cases. Woods finished tied for fourth.

“The United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient released a statement Wednesday, saying that Woods did violate the rules by playing his ball from the wrong place and that the ruling to allow him to remain in the tournament was correct. The application of Rule 33-7 was reasonable because the Masters rules committee failed to meet with Woods before he signed his scorecard.”

What caused Woods’ mental error on Saturday, the third day of the tournament? It’s important to remember that what takes place away from the golf course affects what takes place on the golf course. No one knows for sure but from my perspective Tiger could have had a little Friday evening spat with his new significant other, Olympic Skier Lindsey Vonn, that affected his focus the following day. Or he might have gotten into a frustrating argument on his cell phone with his ex-wife Friday evening regarding a particular family issue involving their children, which often happens to men who have gone through divorce. When there are children from a former marriage, a divorce doesn’t end a relationship with an ex, but merely transforms it.

In today’s New York Times there is an interesting article about the success that has been experienced by a number of international Olympic female athletes after each had given birth to a new baby. Their names are Tia Hellebaut, Anna Chicrora, Chante Howard, Fanny Blankers-Koen and Stefka Kostadinova. I believe their success is directly related to the births of their children since when their babies were born they became happier and their lives were suddenly in total harmony. It’s part of the Psycho Self-Imagery Process when athletes resolve conflict in their lives (or begin the process of resolving conflict), do not suppress their feelings, they bring their personal and team-related issues to completion, they are generally highly spiritual, they are helping others less fortunate than themselves and most importantly, their lives are in harmony. At that point they can then begin visualizing themselves being successful and actually create positive events in their lives, on and off the field of competition. But when they have conflict in their lives, when they are suppressing their feelings, when they have personal and team-related issues that haven’t brought to completion, when they are not helping others less fortunate than themselves and when their lives are in disharmony, they will create negative events in their lives, on and off the field of competition.  The five women mentioned above, from my perspective, are definitely leading lives that are in harmony which is why they are so successful at their sport.


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