After my first season of professional baseball, I went to instructional league in Arizona where I got to meet Karl Kuehl for the first time…
Karl was the Oakland A’s mental performance coach and co-author, along with Harvey Dorfman, of the legendary book: The Mental Game of Baseball.
My first interaction with Karl was when he gave his infamous “Do you know what it takes to play in the big leagues” speech. If you haven’t heard this story, see chapter 37 of The F*IT List titled: “You have no f*cking clue.”
After that, Karl and I developed a relationship that continued to grow for 10 years til he passed in 2008…
Karl was known for his tough love approach to sports psychology and was huge on championing the development of a routine and making sure we define what is and what is not within our control…
Knowing that I had a background in martial arts and that my Dad was a 4th degree black belt in Kenpo Karate, Karl would often use analogies that would channel more of a far eastern approach… We often talked about different ways to immerse ourselves in the moment and a variety of strategies that would allow us to actually use our opponents power as our strength…
Yup, it was NEXT LEVEL shit.
Overall though, the theme was pretty simple. Karl believed we were either getting better or worse on a daily basis… There was no such thing as staying the same.
At first, I had a hard time comprehending this because results in baseball are quantifiable… If I was hitting .333 with a .500 on base percentage and a .667 slugging percentage and went 1-3 with a double and a walk, my numbers would virtually be the same…
Yet, what Karl hammered home, and what I ultimately realized, was that regardless of what the results were trying to tell me, I am the only one who knows whether or not I got better or worse on that given day…
Here are some basic questions we ALL can use to hold ourselves accountable for our actions:
- Did I optimally prepare my mind and body for the day?
- Did I follow my pre game routine?
- Did I commit to the process of execution?
- Did I maintain the right attitude?
- Was my effort 💯?
- What did I do right?
- What did I do wrong?
- What adjustments can I make?
- What did I learn?
- Did I get better or worse?
Not sure? 🤷♂️
Only you can answer…