I’m a physical education teacher and my school system is transitioning to hybrid learning for students. The last week or so we’ve been preparing for that transition and it’s been filled with frustration, confusion, and stress stemming from logistical and technology issues. I’ve had to constantly remind myself to take it one learning activity at a time. One class at a time. One day at a time. So many times over the last week or so I made parallels to the baseball field and the mentality the best players have on the field. Playing the game one pitch at a time.
Playing one pitch at a time means staying in the present moment, remaining positive, and concerning yourself with the things within your control. Playing this way is not an easy thing to do. It definitely takes some mental fortitude to have this mindset and keep this mindset over the course of a game. It’s playing with this type of one pitch at a time mindset that often separates the good from the great players.
The game, and hybrid learning, is full of ups and downs; successes and failures. How we manage those ups and downs goes a long way toward our success over the long haul. One of the great things about baseball is the segmented action of game play. Each pitch is it’s own segment. That means we have the opportunity to continue our successes or get back on track on each pitch. A phrase I often use with my players is, “W.I.N. this pitch.” I picked it up from Justin Dehmer, the creator the 1-Pitch Warrior mental training system. The phrase not only inspires success on the pitch, but W.I.N. stands for “Whats Important Now.” The W.I.N. acronym sparks an intense focus on what needs to be done on this pitch and this pitch only. Forget the last pitch because nothing can be done about the success or failures that have happened. We can only influence this upcoming pitch so that needs to be our focus and not the things we no longer have control over.
As you can imagine, it’s a lot easier to have this kind of mindset when things are gong well but it’s often more beneficial in the face of adversity. In the adverse times we can either be negative and dwell on the past or we can be positive and look forward. The only ting we can control is our reaction to these adverse events. This reaction will directly impact our mindset and the outcome moving forward. The event + our reaction = the outcome (E + R= O).
Obviously, playing one pitch at a time is not just a mindset for infielders but for every position and every aspect of the game. At the plate, on the mound, and in the field. Stay in the moment. Remain positive W.I.N. this next pitch.