MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL and other mainstream sports still are not seeing into the void! Part 1
By Greg Warburton, Co-Founder, EVO Sports
When will MLB move into a curious exploration of 21st Century mental training that provides a plethora of additional practices? What, indeed, is the juggernaut…the massive force… that seems to preclude curiosity? There are time-tested methods and techniques to enhance performance that stem from brain science, cell biology, neuropsychology and energy psychology and the science of energy systems in and around our bodies, as well as flow research, for decades.
Just two weeks ago, we saw a classic example of MLB continuing to be mired in a seeming avoidance of looking beyond current mental training and it’s 50-year old incomplete sport psychology model that, incredibly, still carries a stigma, as seen during the final three games of the 2022 World Series…
Yahoo sports produced this headline and news story:
2022 World Series: Phillies hit below .100 in final 30 innings as Astros celebrate
But if there's one lasting image Phillies fans will have from the final three games of the 2022 World Series -- all Phils losses -- it will probably be the offense's disappearing act. Over a span of 30 innings from the sixth inning of Game 3 through the end of the World Series, Phillies hitters went 9 for 98 for a pitcher-esque batting average of .092.
The headline news of the Phillies last 30-inning offensive debacle shouts out to us. Was there simply nothing else the Philly hitters could have done when facing superb pitching over the final 30 innings?
If you closely review the explanations from the coaches, the players and the writers for these top athletes consistently performing poorly under pressure when it mattered most, you will find no comments other than we must be proud of our season and must tip our caps to the Astro pitching staff. For generations, the explanations are rooted in physical performance issues and the frozen belief that slumps happen and players just have to get through it!
For over a decade, we at Evolutionary Sports Collective have been listening for an expanded explanation related to the mental/emotional or the body/mind aspects of performance. Yet still there is no mainstream focus on known and time-tested alternative methods and doable practices that enable athletes to consistently manage nervous-system activity that leads to anxiety and worry and fear and doubt.
We know when such nervous-system activity occurred for the hitters in the 2022 World Series example, the result is significant with a hitter’s physical capabilities being diminished to varying degrees. While struggling with the remarkably inefficient practice of trying to think their way out of the ongoing poor at bats, along with ineffective mouth breathing to relax, they lost their ability to quickly and actively move back into the flow of their hitting.
Yet, those of us at the Evolutionary Sports Collective, practicing on the leading edge, know that Major League Baseball must become curious investigators if they ever want to see into the existing vacuum that holds no alternative methods.
While giving credit, and honor to, some mental training pioneers like Harvey Dorfman and Ken Ravizza and others, there has been glacial movement toward acknowledging the value of mental-performance coaching. It is still primarily rooted in a cognitive focus only, and any tipping-point movement toward expanding the model is mired in frozen beliefs about the assumed career risk of meeting with psychology-based practitioners.
Again, we formed the Evolutionary Sports Collective and have been working at a grass-roots level for over a decade. Our pure intention and purpose is to collectively expand the mental training paradigm beyond physical-skill performance and cognitive-based methods only.
In Part 2 of this blog post, I will name and describe many additional mental/emotional fitness and flow-state practices that allow athletes to consistently uplevel their performance. We are adding practices that are quick and effective and, at times, take athletes out of their heads and into their bodies without taking away any current practices. After 40 years as a Mental Health Professional, as well as almost 20 years as a sport performance consultant and trainer, I remain concerned about the frozen belief, for many baseball athletes, that if they meet with a mental skills trainer, that those practitioners are only going to try and figure out what is wrong with you; a seeming invasion of privacy. I will highlight the point and purpose of adding alternative skill practices that anyone can do and practice.
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