Peak State Hitting

FFL 27 | Peak State

In this episode Coach Jason shares the mental pattern of Big League hitters, explained in a four step sequence that makes it easy for any young player to practice and incorporate it into their own routine.

Listen to the podcast here:

Peak State Hitting

 

What an amazing week it has been for me back in my hometown, the beautiful Paso Robles, California where I’m doing this recording as well. One of the cool experiences I’ve had, other than being with my family, my parents, my niece and having the boys back here, my own sons with all of them as well. Getting the chance and the opportunity to work with so many new, young and up and coming ball players from the tender young ages of ten all the way up into the early twenties, the college level-type players. Teaching them, regardless of the age, these four steps to what I call Peak State Hitting. Why this is so powerful? Why it was so much fun for me? Because it puts the hitter into the best state they could possibly be in. You’ve heard me on past recordings talk about how the better of the state that you are in, and if you don’t quite understand what state means, the better that you feel, the energy, the mindset, the attitude, whatever you call it that you’re in, the higher that is, the more likely you will be to get the job done, to get the type of results that you want.

I always give the example between the number zero and ten. If you feel only like a five today, your chances of playing better than a five is almost never going to happen, especially in sports such as baseball or softball where hitting is just too difficult. You already know what I’m talking about. Over the years, I’ve said, if you feel good, you have a chance to play good. Keep in mind what I’m starting to say more and more now is if you feel good, you have a chance to play good but if you can feel great, you have a chance to play great. If you can put yourself into the level ten or the level eleven feelings of feeling unstoppable, invincible, whatever word you use when you are just locked in and in the zone. If you feel unstoppable, you give yourself a chance to play unstoppable as well. That’s why I always say that your state, your feeling, the energy, the mindset, whatever you call it, that is why it is so important.

FFL 27 | Peak State
Peak State Hitting is even more important than the mechanics.

In fact, for me, it is even more important than the mechanics. Don’t get me wrong, especially if you’re a young player, you need to take the time and always develop your mechanics. You need to be working with hitting instructors, pitching instructors. From my experience, I’ve seen so many players with great swings, guys in the Minor League with these great phenomenal swings, but they don’t get themselves in the consistent state. They’re mentally weak. They focus on all the things that are wrong and how they don’t feel good or how they’re not getting the results they want and they never fully develop into the potential that they have.

Yet here on the other side, it’s a lot more rare but you have guys who are in the Major Leagues. Their swings, they are not as good as a lot of guys in the Minors, not even as good as some guys in the college level. What they do great at is getting their mindset, getting their bodies, getting everything aligned mentally and inside of them to be their very best that day and they do it in a consistent way. It allows whatever mechanical flaws, whatever physical limitations that they have to not be a factor in going out there and getting results that help the team win. I always say state is greater than the strategy. State is greater than the mechanics and the physical actions that you do. That’s what this podcast is going to be about.

Today, we’re going to be going a little bit more in-depth into these four steps that I was doing in the one-on-one lessons over this week, giving you a general view. Inside the lessons, we would go into more detail, we’d go into more specific things that would trigger them into their very, very best states. The better they feel, the better they gave them a chance to play. What I want to do is cover these four steps and before we begin, just share with you how they came to be. I became aware that I did something very similar. I was blessed that on a weekly basis, after two years of working in a group setting with Susan Stageman, an NLP Master Trainer. What’s great about NLP, it is the model of modeling other people. You learn very, very in depth not only the physical actions. You observe and you pay attention to the physical actions of what people do either in sports or in other areas of life you might be trying to get similar results so you model their physical actions. Also, you learn how to ask questions that elicit what they’re thinking about, what they’re picturing, what their voice in their head might be saying and even their beliefs about what’s important about what they’re doing. When you take this cocktail, this recipe and you put it in the right sequence, the right order as they do, usually, more times than not, you will improve your results as well as get more closer results to what they’re actually doing.

When it came to hitting, I had her elicit this step by step process of what I did. That’s just what I did. I had a great career, four seasons in the Major Leagues. I know I have so many more friends and so many more people I brought in this podcast that have played the game at an even higher, even more consistent level. Through some of the interviews, there were certain questions based off this idea, this modeling principle as well as I started hearing things when I asked other questions off the air as well. We’d go a little more in-depth too and really understanding their sequence of how they prepare themselves for the pitch mentally. Sometimes when you ask guys who are really great at what they do, and this isn’t just baseball, this is all sports, and they’ll give a very generalized, “I walk up there. I don’t think about anything.” You hear that a lot. “I don’t think about anything. I just go up there and hit.” They’ll start giving you clues though. Sometimes you might hear, “I just go up there and hit but I get this picture in my head.” “What does the picture look like?” They’ll start going in depth. That’s where I started in asking more questions and getting them to elaborate on those answers. I found one of the steps, the step three that we’re going to where you really make a clear picture of what you want to happen in the at-bat.

FFL 27 | Peak State
We got the four steps to putting ourselves into a peak state so we can perform our very best.

I’m already starting to jump ahead of myself so let’s really dive in on this. We got the four steps to putting ourselves into a peak state so we can perform our very best. I’m probably going to do most of this talking about like you’re a hitter. Just know that I did this just last week with a basketball player. This can work in any sport, in any area. It can work outside of the white lines as well. In fact, this last Saturday, I went bowling with the family. I don’t bowl but a couple of times a year, if that. I’m just like every other non-bowler. We go on there and we bowl somewhere between an 80 and 100 if we’re hot. Maybe we max out at 110 every blue moon. I don’t remember a time ever in my life bowling higher than 110. I go through the motions my first game and then I’m like, “Wait a minute. What am I doing? I’m not doing any of the stuff I teach.” I went there and I decided, “This is my four steps. This is what I’m going to do to be the best bowler that I can possibly be.” I walk through the four steps before each bowl and I bowled a 185. Never in my life anything close to that. My mom was looking at me going, “What just happened to you? Who is this person? You just bowled six strikes.” I said, “I teach this stuff and I finally followed it myself,” there we go.

You can use it at any area. Where it all starts is one of the most important things and you’ve heard me talking about it on the podcast before, is RESPA. If you want to learn more about RESPA and the crocodile, you got to go back to episode six with Dave Austin, one of the co-creators of this idea. He goes way in-depth about it. We talked about the crocodile. We talked about this amazing creature who is patient, who is adaptable. The environment doesn’t affect the crocodile. Mankind and the way it’s encroached on its territory hasn’t affected how successfully it continues to thrive. All the species of crocodiles continue to grow and develop because it rises above its environment. It controls itself.

Even if it’s in the rivers in Africa, and the rivers dry up in the dry season. The crocodile has this ability to slow its heart rate down to three beats a minute. Basically, its metabolism just shuts off and just burrows in the mud and just waits until the next rainy season. Incredibly patient, you know them as hunters. They’ll just pretend they’re logs for days at a time as the gazelles come up to the watering hole. At first, they’re hesitant knowing it’s a crocodile. They think it’s a crocodile. After a couple of days of that log that looks like a crocodile, it hasn’t moved for a few days, it must be a log. The gazelle will drop its guard. That’s when you get the fast reaction of the crocodile as it grabs its prey. They’re patient, they’re quick. The way that we can grow those attributes in ourselves is learning how to relax. Relax at a deeper level. The fastest way to relax ourselves and we start all our lessons is by taking a deep breath.

What I want to teach you here today is not just the breathe in, breathe out. That’s not good enough. That’s not going to cut it to get to where we need to be to be at our very best. You need to be intentional when you breathe in through your nose. Most importantly, regardless of how long you breathe in, whether it’s three seconds, five seconds, eight seconds, I don’t know how long your count is going to be. What’s most, most important is that when you exhale, when you blow that air out of your mouth, it must be for a longer time, at least a second or two. Longer you blow out than when you breathe in. It’s going to be that extra second or two that you’re going to notice that you’re going to feel everything drop. You’re going to feel your shoulders drop. You’re going to feel your heart rate drop. You’re going to feel your body just relax.

FFL 27 | Peak State
Peak State: You need to be intentional when you breathe in through your nose.

Why is it so, so important that you relax? Just think about it, especially if you’re in a state of tension. Tensed muscles are slow muscles. When you go from a tense place and you relax just a little bit, you now quicken up your speed. Your reaction will become faster. Not only that but you think from a mechanical standpoint, you will actually control your swing, you’ll control your mechanics better when your muscles are relaxed. What also will happen when you focus on this breath, you will clear your mind and with a clear mind, you will be able to recognize what’s going on around you at a greater level.

For instance, as a hitter, you’re going to be able to recognize the pitches and the situation faster after doing this breath too. That’s why this deep, deep breath, this RESPA breath, what I’ll call it from now on, is so important. It’s going to help you recognize and it’s going to help you react at your best levels. That’s step number one. When I go out there teaching when it comes to the hitters, imagine that you’re looking down the third base coach. At some point, we always look down at the third base coach. We get that nod. What we do is, you’ve seen probably some Major League hitters do it. They look at their bat. They look at that sweet spot, one little spot on there and they take this deep breath, a RESPA breath. That’s what I want you to do. Just focus in on the sweet spot. Focus on the letter T or whatever you see there on that sweet spot and just do this big, deep, relaxing breath. That moves it into step number two.

Step number two, we’re now on a relaxed place but we also want to get into a state of being our best, being unstoppable. Think back to a game or a series of games that you’ve had where you played better than you’ve ever played before, the biggest hits. It felt easy, it felt effortless. You walked to that plate with a sense of certainty that you knew you were going to get the job done. You knew this guy had no chance to get you out. Have you ever had a game like that? I bet you had at least an atbat like that at some point. If you say, “Jason, no I’ve never felt that way.” Imagine what it would feel like. Imagine if you were one of your favorite ball players and you know he’s felt that way. He probably feels that way a lot. Just pretend what it would be like to be him feeling like this. I bet you’ll notice how it feels.

One of the things that we do in person is we walk through the peak state circle. You can go back in one of the past episodes you’ll find Step Into Your Peak State. It will actually walk you through the circle exercise. We actually build this anchor, this trigger in person and we grow it. We expand it bigger than the state or the United States of America; this feeling, this color, this energy that even makes this unstoppable energy, this peak state even stronger.

I want to give you a little bit of heads-up too of what we’re trying to do. I know this is going to sound really long when I walk you through all four steps. When you do it on your own, maybe it takes 30 seconds. Now I realize, if you’re in the batter’s box between pitches in a game, you don’t have 30 seconds. If you’re on the basketball court between plays, you definitely don’t have 30 seconds. Just like learning a new skill, we want to be slow and deliberate in the very beginning. As we get better at it, we’ll speed up through the process but yet get to the same feeling at each step. What I want you to focus on is feeling that’s fully relaxed. Challenging yourself to be as relaxed as possible through step one. When you shift and you bring that back foot into the batter’s box and you imagine that you’re in your circle and now you’re setting up to the plate, this is the time where you’re feeling as unstoppable or you’re feeling your peak state, whatever you call it, as strong as possible. You have this sense that you know you’re going to get the job done.

Sometimes when I’m working out lifting weights and I’m really going to challenge myself to lift a heavier weight or to do more reps than I’ve ever done before on a particular set, I’ll imagine that I’m breathing like I’ve already done it. I know it sounds different, I know it sounds interesting but trust me, you try that sometimes. Breathe like you’ve already accomplished what you’re about to do and you’ll feel that relaxation down at a deeper level. As we’re building this as a habit, we want to take our time and this 30 seconds eventually, it gets down to ten seconds or eight seconds. Or it can begin to happen, like some of these elite Major League players or other superstar athletes, they become the process to such a level that they’re not even aware of it and you will be eventually going, “Yeah, I just go up there and hit.” They became the process and you can too but you’ve got to be intentional step by step as you learn it, as you grow it. Someday soon hopefully, these will all be muscle memory, it will be second nature to you. You will be able to control your state at will whenever you need it to be your very best.

FFL 27 | Peak State
Peak State step number two is get into this unstoppable feeling that you’re going to get the job done.

Step number two is get into this unstoppable feeling that you’re going to get the job done. Once again, describe what that looks like. You’ve got one foot in the box. You take your RESPA breath while you’re looking at your bat. You swing that foot in, you feel it, the shift, you imagine yourself inside your circle feeling unstoppable. That takes us into step number three. So many hitters that I’ve worked with or that I’ve interviewed or that I’ve been friends with over the years have all mentioned how they always make this video of the result that they want. I think for young players, how important is that? I ask kids all the time, what do you focus on? What goes through your head? What pictures? What words? So many times I’ll hear them, don’t hit and do a double play. Don’t strike out. The classic example is I’ll give them back, “If I told you don’t think of a pink elephant, don’t think of a pink elephant. Do not think of a pink elephant right now. What are you thinking about? A pink elephant, am I right?” Because your brain doesn’t understand the word “don’t.” We want to start building this intentional habit in step three of picturing the result that we do want to happen.

Usually, when it comes to young ball players, the best thing I think they can focus on while they’re learning who they are as a player, while they’re learning their mechanics is just to picture, to make a movie of a backspin line drive right up the middle. You can’t go wrong. So many elite hitters think that. Someday you’ll develop into this power hitter that pulls the ball more times than not. Even Mark McGwire, the man who first broke the Major League single-season home run record of Roger Maris. The guy who all he ever did was hit high fly balls for the most part. That’s what he was trying to do but he still would picture this line drive right off the middle. He tried actually to hit it through the picture. Big Mac was big enough. He probably could hit it right through a grown man. One of the reasons why he focused on seeing that result was that put him in a place where he would keep his mechanics at the very best. He would stay square to the ball. He would drive through it, not hook it, not fly open. If he stayed through it, his natural lift, his natural swing will allow him to hit the ball high in the air with all his power. We want to focus on something positive that we want to happen.

I’ll give you a heads-up, too. If the situation dictates it, if you look down at that third base coach and he gives you a hit and run or maybe a sacrifice bunt for the team, that’s what you want to visualize. Not that line drive up the middle. See yourself executing the hit and run, hitting it hard, maybe even hitting it on the ground behind the runners. See the sacrifice, are you going to bunt it to the first? Are you going to bunt it to the third? What’s the situation dictate and just play that movie. All it needs to be boom, one second. Your brain is fast. It can do it all in one second, I promise. You can do it in half a second. That’s step number three: Focus on what you want.

FFL 27 | Peak State
Peak State: We want this keyword or this key phrase that really affirms what we’re trying to do.

Step number four is the back up to it. We want this keyword or this key phrase that really affirms what we’re trying to do. It really affirms what we just saw. The reason why that is so important, imagine that you’re in the batter’s box, it’s the moment before everything is about to go down. I was talking to someone today. He was a hitter but he was a multisport athlete, he’s playing football. He also plays wide receiver. We were also sharing these steps on how he could apply it to football. He gets on the line, he relaxes, he gets to that unstoppable feeling. He sees the pattern, he’s about to run. He has his keyword to keep his focus on that pattern, keep his focus on what he needs to be thinking about in order to run his best pattern and have his body and his hands ready for the catch.

If you step to that line or you dig in the batter’s box, you look down, the pitcher is about to come set, he’s about to start his wind up. Think about how many weird and crazy thoughts could possibly pop into your mind to distract you at that moment. You could be thinking about your mechanics, your hands, your feet, which as a reminder when we’re hitting in a game, thinking about your swing during practice and your mechanics, when you’re taking a swing, thinking about your mechanics is okay but when you’re in that game, that’s a distraction. If you’re thinking about where your hands are when you’re in that batter’s box, it’s slowing you down. That’s part of clearing that mind that we talked about so you react faster.

You could be thinking about what’s going to happen tomorrow. You have a hot date. You’ve got a dance or something going on. You could be thinking about, “Is mom up in the stands? Is my dad videotaping this at-bat? I want to make sure I get to see this at-bat. I hope maybe I have a great at-bat while dad’s filming and I can upload it up to Instagram, #hittingawesome.” There’s some really weird and crazy things that pop in our mind sometimes. I remember as I was older and worrying did I turn the stove off sometimes when I was in the batter’s box. Anything possibly could be distracting us. What we want to do, we pre-choose this step number four; this intention, this focus, this affirmation of what we were doing on step number three with this line drive up the middle. When we pre-choose it and we just say it or maybe we even repeat it in our minds over and over again if we need to keep it in there so that nothing else can come in and penetrate our minds. There’s already something in there working. Nothing else can get in if we’re focused on something else.

If you’re going to follow my suggestion of hitting the line drive up the middle, I want you just to be saying that in your mind, “This pitch can be a line drive up the middle. It’s going to be a line drive up the middle.” It’s a line drive up the middle until you recognize that that pitch is a ball and you can’t do it. This wasn’t part of the four steps but I’m going to throw this in. Especially if you’re a young hitter, you need to be thinking that this pitch you’re hitting, I just want to bring it to your attention that you are always hitting until your brain and your eyes tell you no on this pitch. It’s not the other way around. You don’t wait until you recognize that it’s going to be a strike. You are always hitting until your brain and your eyes tell you that it’s not the pitch to hit. That’s why I suggest to you, “I’m going to hit this pitch or I’m going to hit this ball up the middle,” or maybe you just think ball.

This step I want you to play around with because it’s going to work. Something different might work better for you than whatever worked for me. Find some key phrases, some keywords but have it centered around the baseball because whatever ball is in your sport, that is the most important thing to hold your attention especially right when the play is about to begin. The way that we did it in these one-on-one lessons, normally when it comes game time when you get really good at following these steps, it’s just going to be a thought. Something that you repeat, that inner voice in your mind is going to say, “This ball up the middle. This ball up the middle. This pitch up the middle,” whatever it is. For the sake of why you are learning this all, I want you to say it out loud, especially if someone is about to flip you the ball or throw you a batting practice pitch. That way they know you’re completed and you’re ready to hit.

The main reason why I want you to say it out loud is you’re going to start to feel when you speak those words out loud how certain you are that you really mean it. I’ll always be able to tell if someone is really ready to hit at this point by how they say it. Imagine if I was digging the box and you are about to throw me the ball and you heard me say, “I’m going to hit this ball up the middle.” Do you believe me? Do I sound certain? Do I sound like I believe in myself at that moment? If you have a hard time getting to a state of believing in yourself, you practice saying those words. Or what we’re doing today, I’m in Giant’s country so we’ve got plenty of guys whose favorite player was Buster Posey. What I have them do is imagine that they say it exactly like Posey would say, because that guy race. How would he say it? He believes in himself. Just say it like Posey would say it. Every one of them that we did with today said it made them feel stronger. They felt even better. They felt more focused, more confident on themselves when they were imagining to say it like Posey would say it. A little trick of the brain there.

What you’ll notice too is if you’re not prepared, you might feel a little bit weaker on your body. Also, what you’ll start to do is develop an awareness of which step did you rush through. If you do this and you learn, I suggest you learn this on the T, all four steps. Go step one, step two, step three, step four, take a swing then start from the top. What you’ll notice is if you rush through one of the steps, you’ll rush through your swing. Especially, as one of the kids pointed out today, if you rush through step number one, if you don’t let that extra second or two for that exhale of your RESPA breath and your shoulders don’t drop, you don’t fully relax, you rush through that breath, you will almost always rush through step two, step three, step four and you will rush through your swing too.

FFL 27 | Peak State
Peak State: What you’ll notice is if you rush through one of the steps, you’ll rush through your swing.

Another thing to look out for, one of the young hitters we’re doing today was he did this tremendous job. He went into RESPA. He relaxed. You could see his shoulders drop. You could see this extra calmness on his face. He was really starting to get the hang of it today. He gets into this unstoppable face. He would step into this unstoppable feeling and you see his little smirk on his face. You knew he had it, you could tell. He had this quick little video. He would say, “Hit the ball up the middle.” He would say it like Posey and it sounded great, it sounded strong. He was all ready. At that very last second, he takes his big swing and he pulls off the ball and really jerks the bat through the zone. I stopped him, “Wait a minute. I know you didn’t rush through anything right there. I know you hit every single one. I could see the changes. I could see the shift in your face and in your breathing and all these great stuff. Let me ask you,” and this comes from being experienced of being a hitter for a long time. “I heard you say the right thing, the phrase ‘hit the ball off the middle’,” and he had taken this amazing swing the pitch before. I go, “At the last second, did something cross your mind going ‘I’m going to hit this one even harder’?” He just goes, “Yes, absolutely.”

Important lesson time; this wasn’t part of my game plan of what I want to teach you guys today. As a young hitter, I want you to keep this in the back of your mind that most cold streaks, when your mechanics they seem to go in this dry spell, you go in this rut and you’re not getting hits and your swing feels awful and now you’re starting to doubt yourself and starting to not feel very good about your ability and game after game you’re just not playing very well. So many of those stretches, those slumps we sometimes call them, happen after really, really hot swings when were playing better than we’ve ever played before and we were getting hits. Then we had this one moment where we went up there and going, “I’m going to crush this pitch off the wall.” You go up and you just hit to see this laser and then you go up there and at some point, this is what happens at some point, you go, “I’m going to hit this one even harder.” When you go and you hit it even harder, what happens is you go to try to hit it even harder. Your body tenses up and because of that tension, your swing breaks down, it gets big, it gets long. This new habit, you start doing it a little bit more often trying to crank it.

At the professional level, we always would remind each other and we have these little talks, especially the guys who would really think about this type of stuff. We would remind each other to try easier. If you cranked one in batting practice, if you hit those laser off the wall, you hit it out of ballpark, someone would say, “Try easier.” What they mean is don’t hit the next one as hard. They don’t really want you not to hit it as hard. What they mean is don’t get tensed, don’t jerk the bat. Don’t try to do even more than what you could do. You just did it perfect. Do it again perfect. I had this great bench coach of the Texas Rangers, he said, “Hitting should almost be like it’s boring because you’re just doing the same things over and over again.” It took me a long time to figure out what the heck he was talking about. He was talking about this idea that if you get hot, you start taking great swings, don’t try to do any more than what you already are doing. If you’re hitting lasers, just keep it in those same lasers. You’ll hit some even harder especially as your body gets bigger and stronger. Your swing gets even better. You’ll naturally start hitting them even better. But don’t really try to put a little extra something into something. More times than not, it’s going to lead down the path of getting you in trouble.

File that one away in your brain. It’s going to be very important for you to know in your journey. That’s step number four: Just affirm what you need to do in that picture in your mind. As I mentioned, this can be very important, that it’s going to be slow and deliberate and maybe even monotonous as you begin to develop this habit of going one, two, three, four. As you get better, I promise you you’re going to get to those feelings and those states and make that picture. You’ll be able to do it quicker and quicker and next thing you know you’re going to be doing six seconds, eight seconds, whatever you have time between pitches, between plays in whatever sport it is. You’ve got to take the time.

You can’t just go to the gym one day a month and expect to see results. The same thing goes for your mind and your mental strength. It is a muscle too and it needs to be worked out multiple days a week, if not daily. Take the time to practice this often. The great thing about this drill is you don’t need a ball. You don’t even need a bat. You don’t need an extra person. You could practice these four steps completely by yourself. Just visualizing it all to the way you want it to go down. You’ve heard the podcast for visualization. The great results that you could actually prove your skills, you can prove your mechanics without even having to physically practice. The results are almost as good as practicing alone. You can get the same type of results, the same type of improvements just by visualizing it all in your mind. Obviously though, if you do a combination of both, that is optimal. That will get you the best results the fastest. Practice these four steps. You’re in the cage. You have a coach or parents who are patient and they let you practice. That’s going to be the best for you. I highly, highly recommend that.

I hope you enjoy this. We are about to do our game ready visualization. As we are about to begin, I want you think of the outcomes, the goals, what do you want to happen today or the next game or this upcoming week. We always want to be clear with what we want to happen. Think of those types of things now, get really specific on what you want to happen. What you want to see yourself do or achieve in this visualization. Once you’ve got that, think of who do you need to be. Do you need to be a focused player? Do you need to be a confident person? Do you need to go out there and give 110%? Do you want to have fun in the process of it all? Think about the intentions.

FFL 27 | Peak State
Peak State: Think of the outcomes, the goals, what do you want to happen today or the next game or this upcoming week.

I want you to focus on something that makes you feel really grateful. What you feed will grow and what you starve will die. The more that you focus on things to be grateful for, the more that you feed it, the more things you’ll find being attracted coming into your world to be grateful about. You’ll also start to notice things that already are here, that exists that you could be grateful for right now. If you’re like, “Jason, I don’t have anything to be grateful. It’s been a horrible week.” Just be thankful then for your heart, some so small. It was a gift given to you. You didn’t earn it. You didn’t do anything for it. It was just someone thought enough of you to give it to you. It’s been beating. It’s never taken a break. Think about the strength of it. It’s never taken a day off or an hour off or a minute off. It’s been beating your entire life. In fact, it’s been beating before you’re even technically born. As long as it beats today, there is a mission. There is a purpose. There is something for you to do or to love or to be today. Give thanks for all that magic.

When you’re grounded in that gratitude, go ahead and close your eyes and see a gate. When you see a gate, you go ahead and walk through it. You’re coming to this beautiful place of nature. It’s a place you’ve been to before or some brand new place. It’s a place you just create in your mind, it doesn’t matter. What’s most important is that you take the time to appreciate it. Go ahead now and maybe notice this little tiny detail. Make it a little more clear, a little brighter in there and just notice something you hadn’t noticed a minute ago. Something you could see or touch. Maybe it was a sound, what’s the new sound that you’re just noticing now? How does it feel to be here? Just concentrate on that feeling for just a second. Can you make yourself feel that way even more?

Go ahead now and take that RESPA breath. Really slow yourself, calm yourself down. Clear that mind by taking that deep RESPA breath. Breathe in through your nose and just hold on there for a second and just slowly blow it all out. As you blow it all out, imagine that you’re blowing out any doubts, any fears, anxieties, frustrations, whatever doesn’t serve you from being your very best today. One more deep breath in, in through that nose, blow it out your mouth. When you’re done, when you’re ready, go ahead and see that second gate. As you walk through the second gate, now you come on to your field or the next practice or maybe it’s a collection. Maybe there’s a tournament, maybe there’s a bunch of different games at different places this week and you just get images and little snapshots and little movies of all of them together. Just be playful, have fun with it but what’s most important at the beginning is I want you to see yourself playing like you’re playing on TV. I want you to watch you and maybe watch like you’re one of your favorite players.

Imagine one of your favorite players right now and think about their focus, their confidence, their belief and their skills and who they are. I know you might be a different position. You might throw or swing with a different hand but imagine what you would look like playing if you had their confidence. What would your face look like right now if you had their level of confidence in themselves but it was you playing the game this way? How would your swing look? What kind of results would you get? If you had their level of beliefs in yourself, how would you play the game? What would you do that maybe be even a little different than what you normally do? Is there something you could think of now? What if you played the game with just this radiating glowing energy of just being unstoppable, just like your favorite player? What would that look like? Whether it was hitting or defense or pitching, go ahead and make a couple of plays while you’re watching yourself with this radiating glow and energy.

Go ahead and make this movie a little bit bigger, a little bit brighter and maybe make sure that there’s some volume. Make sure you hear the crowd, the sounds of the game. Keep replaying these plays. Maybe even replay them again, this time Vin Scully is announcing the game you’re playing in. You’ll hear good old Vin describing it. Go ahead and just crank that sound up a little bit higher now. How awesome does that feel? The stronger you feel it in your body, the more you will own it in the future. What I want you to do now is walk up to this you who’s even more awesome, has these stronger beliefs, is more positive, is more confident in themselves. Step into their shoes, their spikes and play the rest of the game looking at your own eyes. Now you feel unstoppable. Now you feel their beliefs. What kind of thoughts are you having about yourself now? How much more fun is it to play the game this way?

Go ahead and make a few more plays: offense, defense, pitching, whatever it is and just enjoy it. Have fun with it. It’s probably how we play the game to begin with, isn’t it? Because it’s fun, because we love it. Go ahead finish up. Maybe when you get really good at this, you can spend a few more minutes at the stage but for the second time, let’s go ahead and let’s go to the dugout. We’ll celebrate with our friends, high five them, our teammates. We give some hugs to our family. See the victory on the score board a day, a game that was well-lived, well-played, full force.

Go ahead and walk out that gate. Come back in this beautiful place, a nature’s place that just everything feels just right. Everything is the way it’s meant to be when you’re in this place. What a beautiful thing too because you can come to this place whenever you need it because it does exists solely in your mind. Give thanks for it. Feel the pride of going out there and giving it everything you’ve got on that field. Now, let’s go towards that last gate. I want you to stand tall. Imagine that your head is up, eyes are focused, your shoulders are backed, you’re breathing full and deep. Go ahead and walk out that last gate. Open your eyes when you’re done because you are game ready.

It was my pleasure to serve you all today. Thank you for tuning in. Any questions, comments, criticism or sarcastic remarks, please as always, feel free to reach out at info@jasonbottspeakstate.com. Until then, everybody aim high, swing hard and smile often.

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