Last summer, my nine year old’s baseball team was really struggling. The kids were hitting very poorly. Some were quite scared of being hit by the ball when they were at the plate. The kids were losing their confidence and getting down on themselves. The parents were grimacing and feeling much frustration and disappointment at many of the games. The team was in a significant slump.
The coaches, Fred Stackpole and Gary McDonald are two super guys, who wanted the kids to have an enjoyable, and if at all possible a successful season.
Fred and Gary knew that I had done a lot of counseling with athletes, coaches and their parents. Earlier in the season, I had offered to help and when the kids got into their slumps, the coaches gave me a call.
I spoke to the kids a few times. My son was delighted, because “his dad, the doctor,” was coming to help the team.
I didn’t do anything complicated with the boys and the coaches. I spoke to them about the connections between their minds and their bodies and I taught them some techniques to help them feel more confident. I used some hypnotic techniques to help them relax, focus and believe in themselves and their physical capabilities.
The kids started to improve. They appeared to be less timid and more hopeful.
Prior to a playoff game, I told them a story about a man whom I had counseled who was an American Indian and a long distance runner. He tired and fell during a marathon, and I handed him an arrowhead as he kneeled on the ground after his stumble.
I looked him in the eye and reminded him that he is a courageous warrior and told him that brave warriors never give up. He won his race with the help of a few inspirational words and the “power of the arrowhead.”
The kids listened very carefully to this story and they seemed to be genuinely
fascinated while I spoke to them in very soft but confident tone of voice.
After telling the boys about this man, I handed them blue marbles. Their uniforms were blue, so this gesture seemed to make sense. I explained that these marbles are their arrowheads and they, too, have warriors within them. Moreover, they could wake up these warriors, make contact with them and use their warrior hearts whenever they needed.
Miraculously, the kids started crunching the ball against a team that had beaten them 16-1 earlier in the season.
After crossing home plate, one kid remarked, “Hey these marbles really work!”
An assistant coach who was somewhat skeptical of my methods suddenly asked me for a few marbles to use with his other team.
The boys went on to win the town championship game with the top team in their league. The underdogs prevailed. David beat the Goliath and we all went wild.
One of the coaches, John Ferrara and his wife Connie were kind enough to host a barbecue for the players and their families where we watched the video of the final victory and the awards ceremony which followed.
Speaking of awards, John Ferrara insisted that I take his trophy. He thanked me for being so helpful and I thanked him for this very kind offering.
I think we all felt like we discovered a field of dreams at the ball park in our town last summer.
Maybe, just maybe, you and your kids will discover a field of dreams on a baseball field in your town this summer……
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D., is a Psychotherapist in Fort Lee, NJ.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 201 592-6420.