Do you like play in the “big games”? If you don’t, you may want to re-think this. “Big games” will help you immensely with learning and improving your mental game. It is like taking on-going “final exams” and by looking at the results of these tests, you will learn so much about how your mind and body work together.
“Big Games” bring out how powerful your mind is and how much it wants to control your play. Only through important games will you have the opportunity to put your mind in its right place.
Notice I haven’t said anything about winning. Important games bring to the table the thought that all of a sudden winning is much more important. Of course, by now we know that thinking this is “death” to playing well and important games are the best environment in which to work on letting go of winning.
“Big Games” are important because for some unknown factor, you will improve your game just by osmosis. How this happens I don’t know. Just being around other teams and watching the other players somehow improves your own game. Be sure that you guard against trying too hard to play well.
In “Big Games” (unless you always win), you get to play against a better team than yours as well as a wide range of players. When you lose (and sometimes even when you win) you can look at it as a terrific learning opportunity. And for you personally, you will discover where your weaknesses are so you can work on them.
In “Big Games” you get to see how you stack up against other teams who may be better than you and who bring to the table a different kind of pitcher which keeps you from hitting well. This can be important as this will expand your experience and “force” you to focus better.
To sum up, make important games something to look forward to so you can “test” how well you play under pressure and as a way of really improving not only your mental game, but your physical game as well.
And here is a phase I recently heard from Earl Bell, author of Winning in Baseball and Business.
“I never lose. I either learn or win.” A great quote, isn’t it? I would like you to keep this in mind when you play in “Big Games” or any game for that matter.