I opened my newspaper today and was immediately attracted to the sports page.  A local Westport, CT team had squeaked through to win a semi-final game in the Little League World Series.  They’ll play today for the U.S. final.  Chad Knight, AKA Mr. Clutch, not only an impressive pitcher, was also credited with starting a rally in the fifth inning when they were down 13-6 and with the game-winning RBI in the final inning.  His post-game comments say a lot about his maturity and calmness under fire.  “Going to the plate I was a little nervous, but I realized it was just like any other at-bat.  Just go up there and try to put the ball in play.”

The next sports article was about the New Haven Open tennis tournament.  The four-time defending champion, Caroline Wozniacki, missed “a crucial shot” that “99 times out of 100 I would have hit,” and went on to lose quickly to Simona Halep.  Did she lose her confidence?  Was she reliving that shot for the rest of her time on the court?

We can all learn a lot from this 13-year-old boy and this professional athlete.  Our success is often determined by being present and calm in the moment.  If we let our emotions or our inner gremlins take hold we will surely not be at our best. 

After doing a little more research on Chad, I found out that he has been doing yoga since February!  Yoga for a 13-year-old boy, now that is progressive thinking!  To quote his dad, “(Yoga) has taught him breathing, taught him how to be focused, taught him to relax.” Said Chad: “I think it helps a lot. I can control myself.” I am reminded of the stories about Tiger Woods and what his dad used to do with him as a kid to help him develop a calm focus on the golf course.

I am now even more convinced that our inner thoughts can do more to help us excel or fail than anything else.  It’s a good thing I am just finishing up a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course filled with instructions on meditation, yoga, and being mindful!  If I channel my mind like Chad did, I’ll succeed for sure!  The winning strategy?  Be present, Be in the moment, Think positively!