Stop thinking and just play

Confession time: I am an overthinker. When a problem comes up, I like to work out three solutions and think of worse-case scenarios. I have been like this my whole life, and it messes up my life. The same can be true for a baseball player — a slump at the plate, unable to find the strike zone, the ball just can’t find your glove. Some would say a solution is more practice, but sometimes a different solution may be in order: Just stop thinking and just play.

Today, I read a wonderful article about how Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo’s wife helped him to stop overthinking. Shin-Soo Choo is very special to me. I watched him for a season as a San Antonio Mission.  Before the All-Star break this year, Choo was not having a good season. He was even taken out of the line up. And then after the All-Star break, his numbers are a .333 batting average, .441 OBP, .607 slugging percentage and a 1.048 OPS.

Choo’s wife used a building metaphor to describe his game. Buildings with a solid foundation can take whatever is shaking them. More importantly is the outcome of this advice. He stopped thinking and started playing and having fun.

“It really helped clear my mind,” Choo said. “I’m not thinking about one game or one week. I’m just seeing what is right in front of me and doing what I do. I’m not thinking about a big picture.”

Baseball is a kid’s game. It should be fun. Sometimes, we need to not see what is going to happen next. Remember, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.   Best thing you can do for your game: Stop thinking and just play.

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