What are the defining characteristics of great catchers? We have all seen catchers that just have “it”. But what is that “it” factor exactly?
One of the defining characteristics of all great catchers is CONCENTRATION. No catcher can be great without elite concentration.
What does that look like practically?
OWN YOUR MIND
Nick Saban is currently the head football coach at Alabama. He is widely considered the best coach in the game today, and is argued by most to be one of the all-time greatest coaches in the history of college football. Nick Saban repeatedly tells his players to OWN YOUR MIND. Those three words unlock the key to the elite level concentration that is essential for any catcher who wants to be great.
What does it look like to own your mind? Let’s break down each word individually to explore what it looks like for catchers…
The mind is the most important tool for any athlete (or human being for that matter). The body is what is physically performing, but the mind controls the body. No amount of physical preparation or skill is going to matter if the mind isn’t in the right place. We have all seen players that have the physical skills and ability, but still fail to perform when it matters most. The mind is almost always the reason why potential doesn’t match performance.
A catcher’s mind is their greatest tool. Cultivating elite concentration by owning your mind starts with embracing the essential role that the mind plays in physical performance. If you don’t start with the fact that the mind matters more than anything else, then no amount of physical training, preparation, and skill is going to matter.
There is only one person who controls your mind – YOU. Events, circumstances, and other people have a big influence on your mind, but they never actually control your mind. Every human being is 100% responsible for their mind. History is full of examples of people who face the worst circumstances imaginable, and yet they still don’t let external influences control their mind.
If you want to own your mind, you have to start with taking 100% responsibility for your mind. No coach, parent, teammate, umpire, or anything else can control your mind if you don’t let them. All of those things can make it hard to control what goes through your mind, but just because it’s hard doesn’t mean that you don’t have the control. You can’t own something that doesn’t belong to you. If you want to have elite concentration and own your mind, then it all starts with taking 100% responsibility for your mind.
Your mind is yours and yours alone. To own your mind, you have to control it. How do you control it? By training yourself to choose what you focus on. There are tons of external factors that your mind is going to be tempted focus on:
- The way your coach treats you
- Your parents emotions and/or approval
- Your teammates attitude and effort
- The way your body feels
- Life circumstances like school, social relationships, hard stuff at home
- Your performance – either good or bad
- Bad calls by the umpire
- Nerves and anxiety that come from the desire to perform well
The list could go on and on, but that’s a good start. You know the circumstances of your life and what things are fighting for your attention.
To own your mind is to choose what to focus on. It’s making the conscious choice to put your mental energy towards the things that are within your control. When thoughts, feelings, and emotions enter your mind that are focused on the wrong things, you own your mind by acknowledging those things but not focusing on them. You don’t let them control your thinking. YOU control your mind.e
EASIER SAID THAN DONE
Now, all that is easy to say. It’s much harder to actually do. No one is perfect at this, but just because it’s hard does not mean that it’s out of your control.
Great catchers are great thanks in part to their ability to concentrate. In fact, there are no great catchers who can’t own their mind. Concentration is one of the defining characteristics of great catchers. If you want to be a great catcher, or you want to coach your catcher towards greatness, then CONCENTRATION is essential. And, just like physical skills or muscles, every person can build and improve their concentration just like they can build skills and muscle. Take 100% responsibility for the way you think. OWN YOUR MIND.
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