M is for Make a Pitch

        M is for Make a pitch.  The phrase is so simple yet somehow encapsulates so much.  It focuses on the task at hand.  It stays away from results and with the controllable process.  It keeps things simple.  It keeps things present.  Rather than worrying about pitching 7 or 9 innings or working out of that 2nd and 3rd with nobody out jam, you just make a pitch.  Harvey Dorfman talks a great deal about whittling things down to the lowest common denominator.  The phrase does that.  Three words stand for so much but speak to the simplicity of what the mental side of the game is all about.  To be sure, saying "Make a pitch" and actually making a pitch are two different things.  To simply say "Just make a pitch" without helping pitchers to work through whatever internal and external influences are preventing them from doing so is where the work comes in.  While this can go in any number of directions for pitchers, the end goal is the same.

        How can we take this beyond the act of pitching?  Easy.  The tasks that we may find daunting in our everyday lives can be simplified by eliminating all of the extra stuff and simply "making a pitch."  How about an example?  As a teacher and Athletic Academic Adviser, I have the great privilege of working with and talking to a lot of student-athletes at the school where I teach.  Students who are struggling often feel overwhelmed with all of the classes, all of the assignments, and all of the grades.  This seems to be especially true with freshmen who are going through a significant adjustment from middle school to high school.  Before you know it, the students may have 3 or 4 F's and feel helpless about the situation.  Something I like to challenge these students to do is to stop looking at it as this daunting task of trying to pull up 4 different grades, and focus on what you can do in each class.  Those 10 points you need in Algebra sound tough, but what if you just turned in one more classwork assignment?  What if you studied for 10 minutes each day?  How about tutoring one day week?  Before you know it, you'd have your ten points.  Each assignment is "making a pitch."  Going to tutoring is "making a pitch."  Paying attention in this class, today is "making a pitch."  Asking a question is "making a pitch."  If I could give just one piece of advice to students, it might be, "Ask questions."  Students are so hesitant to do so, and I think part of that is due to a flawed perspective (athletes too).  You are in HS for a reason.  You have so much to learn!  You're not supposed to know it all!  I have been in school for what seems like one hundred years and don't know anywhere near everything!  Ask questions!  After a couple of weeks of "making pitches", you have created habits that are going to make you successful if you continue to do them.  Breaking larger tasks into their lowest denominator is a tip I think can help anyone feeling a little weighed down.

        How about some interaction?  What is your "Make a pitch" that you use in your daily life?  Is there a situation you would benefit from just "Making a pitch?"  Let me know, and Merry Christmas to you all!

M is for Make a Pitch Song of the Day: Lit- My Own Worst Enemy
I like it, it starts with M, and fits well for what can often be the case for people.  The greatest opponent we face can be ourselves.



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