Bull Durham has long been one of my favorite baseball movies. The first 90% of the movie is loaded with great baseball quotes that apply to fastpitch softball and life.
Now the last 10% of the movie does turn into a chick flick with all kinds of emotions and stuff, but it isn’t enough to make me doubt the wisdom of the legendary Crash Davis.
Crash Davis is the crusty old veteran who knows what it takes to make it in the world of professional baseball. Nuke LaLouche is the up-and-coming rookie fireballer who is described as having a million-dollar arm and a 10-cent head.
Crash teaches Nuke many lessons about being a professional ball player that are often delivered in a very direct and tough way.
Lesson #1. Don’t think. You can only hurt the ball-club!
The message is meant to teach Nuke a very valuable lesson: That overthinking any high-level skill, especially in a high-pressure situation, is likely to lead to failure.
Too many athletes “get in their heads” when the pressure amps up. They start to overthink and overanalyze the outcome rather than the task. That creates a greater likelihood that they’ll fail. We need to help our players understand that overthinking is a problem and that it has a solution. Players must learn to relax and focus on the task rather than the outcome.
So, old Crash Davis is sending the same message we deliver during our mental game clinics. Each player must develop the skills to focus on the task at hand. To remove the distractions and see the target we are really aiming for. Learn about the mental game and you will be better player. Just ask Crash!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.