For members of the Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.) baseball team, pressure is all around. It’s in the school’s rich baseball tradition that every team is expected to uphold.
It’s in the constant reminders of coming so close, only to fall short, at state in back-to-back years. And it’s on the bench, where teammates are prepared to take your spot should you falter.
Pitching coach Geoff Goetz, who knows firsthand the pressures that the Tigers face on a daily basis, emphasizes the mental aspect of the game to his players.
“Your mind’s a muscle,” says Goetz, the No. 6 overall pick in the 1997 MLB Draft. “You can strengthen that and then you start opening areas in your capacity to perform that you never thought were possible.”
After his professional baseball career was cut short by a shoulder injury, Goetz became a performance expert at the Achieve Institute, which helps organizations and individuals reach their full potential. Goetz helps Jesuit to perform at a higher level by encouraging players to focus on the following:
An approach is different than a game plan, which might be as simple as throwing strikes or staying back on the ball. Knowing your approach, from a mental standpoint, is about knowing what it takes to enter a game or situation with a higher level of confidence.
Best Actual vs. Perfection
Within your approach, it’s important to live in the moment and really focus on not limiting yourself by your past, someone else’s performance or the expectations of others. "Although perfection is great in theory, it does not serve us as the strongest approach moment to moment," Goetz explains, using Matt Cain's perfect game as an example. "Matt Cain didn't go into the game expecting perfection. He focused on throwing his best pitch possible — his best actual — every pitch that he threw, especially when it got to the point that he was doing something phenomenal."
Your worldview, which is part of your operating framework, can dictate the actions that you take and your success or lack thereof. Little things can make a big difference. “I had a kid one year, whenever there was a tall umpire, he felt like he wasn’t going to get the called strike,” Goetz explains. “That’s something he created through his worldview of the umpire and all of a sudden his entire approach changed. He started throwing balls up in the zone and started getting shelled and blamed it on the umpire. It was his worldview that tall umpires don’t call low strikes.”
As the regular season draws to a close, Jesuit’s minds and bodies are strong. That’s a good thing, because the pressure and the competition is about to be turned up a notch.
Watch Other Episodes:
Watch Episode 1: Winning Tradition
Watch Episode 2: Stronger Longer
Watch Episode 3: Mental Mindset
Watch Episode 4: Lance McCullers Jr.
Watch Episode 5: Extraordinary Depth
Watch Episode 6: Staying Loose
Watch Episode 7: Been There, Done That
Watch Episode 8: Recover, Then Prepare
Watch Episode 9: McCullers Jr. Delivers
Watch Episode 10: Extra Innings