Silencing the Inner Critic
Sometimes the greatest enemy we compete against during competition is not our opponent, but the thoughts bouncing around in our own mind. I would dare say that when you look back at your best performances and your worst performances, the biggest difference between the two was the variation in the way you talked to yourself. Quite simply, when you performed well you had good thoughts and you were not critical of your performance. Conversely, when you didn’t perform well you had more negative thoughts and your inner voice was very critical of your performance. It is important to remember that having these thoughts is normal; every athlete has them. However, it’s how you respond to them that ultimately will determine the quality of your performance.
Step 1: Become aware of the inner voice.
- “Don’t walk this guy”
Step 2: Step away
- Disengage from moment. Step off the rubber.
Step 3: Breathe
- Step behind the mound – take a long slow deep breathe- in through the nose, out through the mouth.
Step 4: Use Positive Anchor statements to replace critical thought
- “Throw a good low strike”
Step 5: Get back on the mound
Step 6: Repeat when needed.
“On our way back to IL from ATL we listened to 90%. I saw Will pull out his phone and start taking notes. He then began to hit the pause button to finish his note as not to miss anything that was to come. I asked him what were some things that he got from his first run with this book. He said the “Little Man”, the “Stop Sign”, “Breathe”, and “Anchor Statements; specifically the Boat & Anchor analogy”. Mr. Tewks is doing incredible work and I saw it with my son Will. It has been the single best development piece of Will’s 14U season.”
“Tewks talked about different things as far as the mental side of the game, and building that relationship with him I had a trust where I could go and bounce things off of him. He’s a no BS guy. I knew he wouldn’t pussyfoot around with me. I knew if I asked him a question, he would give me an honest answer, both on the pitching side and on the mental side. I knew I would get that from him.”
“He tells you what he sees, and he calls you out on things. He makes you better as a player as you go along. The biggest thing I’ve found is that if a player continues to seek advice, seek help, there are people who can help that player get the most out of his potential on the baseball field.”
“He’s got more instant credibility and more to offer if a player or staff is so inclined to engage with him because of his long career in baseball. As we know, pitching is the loneliest thing you can do.”
“What Bob brings to the table, Bob did it. He was there. He had his career,” Ravizza says. “When Bob talks about the mental game, I listen, because he’s walked the walk. I really have so much respect for him.”
“I’ve worked with other people, but the stuff we put in place in Boston is what I’m still using today,” Miller says. “It’s a very important part of my success, or turnaround. It’s something I take very seriously and I think it’s had a big impact on my pitching.”
“Having worked with Tewks as a player as well as a coach, I’ve been lucky enough to see firsthand how much he can impact individuals and teams. He has been invaluable to me personally throughout my career, as well as our baseball team at Boston College.”