Saturday, August 13, 2011

An athlete's mind: Routine and preparation

The big kid just left for his fall haircut. It's all about the hair with him. His thick head of hair and style is the talk nationwide. When the kids were young, like all other families, we headed to Disneyland. While standing in line for some treehouse, one of the characters sauntered over and started to pet his hair. Another time, a waitress stopped by the table and asked if she could touch his hair. Odd request...although he let her do it. From that point on, the bravado came only when the hair looked good. Think about Mohawk May...his fast ball was not as deadly with his Mohawk cut. Once it was gone, he regained his speed and placement. And now you have it...the secret to success....very Samson-like....remember in the Old Testament when Samson was a strong guy but it was related to his hair? Delilah cut it and he lost his strength. So, when you think of Samson, think of Buddy and the need to have a dynamite looking cut.

The reason that I am bringing up the hair is twofold. One, he has to look good and not just for the ladies, but guys notice too. Second, Buddy like other athletes have certain regimens that they follow each day and for each game. One pitcher jumps over the first base line when he strolls onto the field. Another pitcher drinks a Red Bull right before he goes into the game. Other pitchers pray, make the sign of the cross, or take several deep breaths. During playoffs, some kids do not shave until the team loses, which can be nasty for some women athletes. Buddy has his own routine. He gets to the field first. Then he does his stretches, long toss, short toss, drinks his powerade and eats his powerbar, and builds up steam to enter and dominate. The other players dress the same way and eat the same foods. One Hall of Fame pitcher ate Ellio's pizza before he pitched. Others eat peanut butter sandwiches. It's all about the routine....

Have you ever watched Ryan Howard prepare before he bats? He does the same routine every single time. He never deviates. Similarly, my favorite leftie has the same type of process when he enters the game. He runs to the mound, never walks....throws...spots...touches his toes off the mound, deep cleansing breath, wind up and throw.....For years, he has done the same thing. It's all about being mechanical and not having to think too hard, just focusing on placement. There needs to be a great deal of hard work with enormous courage to go out there in front of a stadium full of people and television cameras. That's why the routine is so important. It is one less thing to worry about. So, the next time that you attend any type of sporting event, watch the preparation of the athletes. The way that they enter a game tells a lot about the individual. It's part of a puzzle that fans enjoy as they piece together an event that they can participate in their minds. Just a word of caution.....try to stay in your own mind and thoughts rather than enter the athletes...a person could get lost there.

Have a good day.

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