The Hardest Fight Any Baseball Player Will Ever Have To Face
Written by Ryan Rohmiller
What you are about to read is the story of my baseball experience that I shared with my team to help them better understand the mental side of the game along with all the failures that come with it. Enjoy! -Ryan
When you feel like you’re struggling, understand that it’s only a ‘feeling’ being fed through your own thoughts. Those who think they are struggling have already accepted the thought of themselves struggling.
How do you define a slump? What is a slump? Is it consistent amongst every hitter? Does the definition of slump vary person to person? OR, is it a feeling you have already associated with yourself and your results?
THOUGHT precedes ACTION.
What you think, you do. What if I told you that you were going to go 15 for 30 at the plate, but hitless in your first 15 at-bat’s. Would you accept it? Could you make it through the mental and emotional battle of going 0 for 15 to get to the 15 for 15, or would you eat yourself alive and never make it to the 15 for 15?
This game is teaching you how to handle your mind and emotions. Baseball is fun and, if you allow it, baseball can also be your school for life. If you’re on the emotional rollercoaster, living game-to-game, at-bat to at-bat, and letting every little failure affect your emotions, then THE GAME IS PLAYING YOU!
What separates the good from the bad and the great from the ugly is by how well they handle their emotions. Do not allow this game to play you and/or dictate your successes. If you want to play this game the right way, then you need to check your emotions at the gate before stepping onto the field. Things are going to happen, accept it, that’s baseball (life), but it’s how you react that will determine your ability to continue on and press-forward. Confidence does not just come and go and neither does your ability to play this game. Confidence is a feeling, a thought that you believe in and show through your actions, just like everything else.
Every single one of you can play this game at a MUCH higher level than you think. What you lack right now, and by no fault of your own, is the mental strength to deal with failure. If you want to strengthen your mind then you must accept everything that comes your way, good AND bad and keep pushing forward. If you’re not willing to accept all the failures along the way, then you’re also not deserving of all the successes. It is the nature of the beast. You did not choose this game, baseball chose you. Those who can accept the mental gauntlet, will see the light.
There were 3 times in my life I wanted to quit baseball. I remember calling my dad one of those times with pure agony torwards the game. Why? Because I was not playing and when I did play things were not going my way. Baseball was always an uphill battle for me. Not because I wasn’t talented enough, but because I was weak, mentally. My talent was always there, but my mind was not. I thank God to this day that I stuck it out the whole way through.
It was not until I was 22 years old, and looking back on my career, that I realized everything I ever needed to be successful at this game I already had, except for one thing, the mental strength to overcome my failures on the field. When I finally realized that, a light bulb went off. All the experiences and failures I fought through ended up strengthening my mind for life after baseball. All the failures of this game ended up shaping me into the person I am today.
I gave baseball as much as I could and I have dealt with it ALL, the highs, the lows, and the injuries. If it wasn’t for baseball, I would not be with you guys today. I would not have had the strength to leave my life in Omaha and move to St. Louis to chase a dream. I would not have been able to give back to this game as much as I am able to today. I would not be able to share with you these experiences that I know will make you better and stronger players on the field and in life. I am here right now because of baseball. I am here right now because I finally started to understand the bigger picture. I am here right now because I made a DECISION to check my thoughts and feelings at the door and take everything, good AND bad, that comes my way. I finally, for the first time, started to play the game.
This is the game of life, baseball is only a test. You ALL can play this game at a high level IF you make the DECISION to accept everything that comes your way.
Thank you for letting me share my experience with you. This is something that has been on my mind for a while now. No matter whether you are embarking on on journey or in the middle of it, I hope my experience provides value for you or anyone you may know.
↓ Scroll down to read more on Mindset ↓
MORE ON MINDSET…
There is no special tool or trick to train the mind. A weak mindset is usually the result of a lack of experience.
Experience is what opens the gate of confidence and what creates a stronger mind. To have a strong mind is to have a better understanding, and that too comes with experiences. Unfortunately, youth athlete and kids, are in the beginning stages of sports, baseball, and life. So much of everything that comes their way is a new experience, sometimes (most of the time) presented as a challenge or trying something different and/or new.
A strong mind is built over time through everyday action. The one thing I would recommend starting now, is sharing as much information and experiences as you can with your child from others who have gone through what they are going through and have made it out the other side. I would also recommend removing sports from the equation and just share and/or read to them articles and books that talk about the mind and how to better understand situations when failures occur.
The goal is to gain a deeper understanding of WHY things happen. Once they finally understand the why, then they will begin to control their emotions.
Again, this is a long-term play that I would recommend starting sooner rather than later. The long-term effect will have a greater impact on life outside of sports.
Author: Ryan Rohmiller