Give Yourself a Break

Ty Cobb and Shoeless Joe Jackson I played baseball in college. The first half of my freshman year went fairly well. At least I didn’t embarrass myself too much.

The second half, though, was a nightmare. I got into a terrible slump that I couldn’t get out of. I changed my batting grip. I changed my batting stance. I changed my batting gloves. Nothing worked.

After some weeks, I’d completely lost patience with myself. I was pressing … hard.

One of my coaches, who hadn’t said much to me throughout my struggles, finally took me aside and said, “It looks like you’re trying to hit two home runs in one at-bat. You’re thinking too much. Let your body do what it knows how to do. You’ve practiced and practiced. Now let your body do the work.”

And I said, “Yeah, but what if that doesn’t work? What if I don’t ever get another hit?”

Coach said, “You can’t control what happens to the ball after you do what you’ve trained to do. Muscle memory. You can only control the swing you’ve practiced. And if you’ve done it correctly—and you have, because I’ve made sure of that—it’ll eventually work itself out. You’ve got to quit thinking so much. What? Do you think you're Ty Cobb?  Give yourself a break.”

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