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Deliberate Practice

Improving the Picture


“The difference between a mountain and a molehill is your perspective. ” — Al Neuharth

 Some people believe that hitting a baseball is the single most difficult skill in sports.

No wonder.

The pitcher can throw the ball at speeds up to 100 miles an hour, make it curve, make it sink, and vary its location and speed. If that weren’t enough, he can whiz one past the batter’s chin just to keep him in mortal fear.

It’s not a pretty picture for a batter.

And Lou Brock, a Hall of Fame player for the St. Louis Cardinals, didn’t like the picture. So he put another frame on it.

Brock decided that in the battle between the pitcher and batter, the pitcher had too much power. And so Brock played a little mental game to change the balance of power.

Brock just told himself: “No matter how good the pitcher is, the moment he releases the ball, he no longer has any control over it. And once the pitcher releases the ball, only one person in the world has any control over it. And that person is me.”

In part because of this mental exercise, Brock collected 3,023 base hits in his career. Only 22 players in the entire history of baseball have accumulated more.

Brock’s little game is a perfect example of “reframing,” a technique in which you can chose to look at any issue in a different way.

You can turn problems into possibilities.
You can turn a weakness into a strength.

Peak performance expert Dave Cross of “Yes, I Can!” sports says, “No situation has any meaning except the one you give it.”

So if you don’t like the picture, just put another frame on it.

Coach Tully’s Extra Point: Lou Brock said, “When I was a kid, I used to imagine animals running under my bed. I told my dad, and he solved the problem quickly. He cut the legs off the bed.


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