In 2001 I was operating with the Yankees in quest of to help younger players transition from the minors to the Big Leagues. I asked Derek Jeter, "How does a younger guy coming into Yankee Stadium to play for the Yankees deal with the pressure?"
His reply dropped my jaw. Here's why.
A year earlier I was watching a playoff game on TV from a couch in D.C. whereby the Yankees were down a run late in the game.
They had a man on 2d and Jeter came to the plate. He settled into his stance and began waving the bat around, much extra than a tremendous league guy primarily does.
"He looks like a Little Leaguer," I mentioned to myself. But not just any Little Leaguer, a favourite stud Little Leaguer.
Im sure you can picture the stud hitter that everyone knows can perfectly jack the ball. When he gets to the plate the defense swallows tough and takes a step back.
Confidence radiates off the kid. In the box he waves his bat around his head menacingly, telling the world he cant wait to tear the subsequent sacrificial offering. It looks like fun. Everyone desires to be that kid.
That's how Jeter looked on TV. Except he was now in the Big Leagues, playing in the playoffs!
The complete season was on the line. The crowd was going wild. The tension was thick in the playoff air. The emotion dripping off of each pitch.
And Jeter looked like a Little Leaguer having fun.
Flash forward to my interview with him…
"Well," he says, "the enormous thing is to have fun. That's how you handle pressure."
"Come on," I mentioned, "with tens of thousands of people yelling, your results released in the paper every day, your every move watched and scrutinized, and you say have fun?"
"Yes. It's just like Little League [that's when my jaw dropped]. It's an identical game I've perpetually carried out and perpetually loved. It's fun. Sure it's challenging, but that's edge of the joys."
Me: "Even with 50,000 people yelling and screaming."
DJ: "The extra people, the extra fun."
Jeter is capable of maintain the perspective that the game is fun. Most players I coach come to me when they've lost that. It's become work. A job. A verify of self-esteem. A degree of self-worth. It's become who they are.
Stress occurs in us when we understand a threat to us or to a precise thing we love. It might be a threat to our actual body, like falling off the back of a gaggle of bleachers. Or it might be a threat to our emotional body, like getting yelled at by way of our coach.
Jeter avoids stress because he doesn't understand game events as threatening. He sees them as challenging.
One notion creates tension, fear, doubt, choking. The other creates freedom, relaxation, and proper performance.
Why do you play or coach? There are an awful lot of other things you could do with some time.
One of the greatest but most important challenges is to keep in mind why you got into baseball in the first position, and keep a perspective on it that minimizes the notion of threat.
Put your awareness on your solutions to this question: What's fun about baseball?