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Dr. Ken Ravizza on Dealing with a Game that’s based on Failure

Baseball is a Game based on Failure – Dr. Ken Ravizza


CHAD – So baseball’s a game based on failure basically, especially from a hitting standpoint. How do we deal with failure and mistakes in baseball because there always put out there, we have errors and we make mistakes constantly and at the plate we strikeout or we groundout and we fail 70% of the time and we’re great. How do we deal with that?

Dr. Ken – Yep, I think this is the key thing because one of the things that’s very important, especially the culture that were in today, is that everyone wants to feel comfortable all the time and his parents and I’m sure I was guilty of this Chad with my children and I’m sure with your children. You want to do everything you can so they feel good and they feel comfortable.

CHAD – Right.

Dr. Ken – But the issue is in life, things aren’t always comfortable, things aren’t always good.

CHAD – Right.

Dr. Ken – And part of it is we really have to help people learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable because that’s what competing and performing is going to do. It’s going to put you in difficult situations and the game’s going to test you and this is where the mistakes and failure come into play in terms of “failure is positive feedback, failure is information, failure gives me direction on what I need to work on to get better.” Now right after a game sometimes it’s difficult to sit down and talk about what went on is the game and why did I do this or why didn’t I do that because your too emotional.

CHAD – Right.

Dr. Ken – This is why the car ride home sometimes is not an interrogation of what happened blah, blah, blah. But now if your son or daughter wants to talk about it, then I would say talk about it. But if they don’t want to, wait till you get home. Give them some time to decompress.

CHAD – Right.

Dr. Ken – Because you’re going to get emotional, they’re going to get emotional. Now I’m speaking as the sports-psych person here but I’m also speaking as a parent who when my daughter played travel ball, we took a weekend to be on the road and she’s got an attitude out on the field and I could be at home doing other things and we’re here and you’re acting like this. See I have some compassion and empathy for what we’re going through but there’s a point we’ve got to talk about it, but right after is not necessarily the point. And then it gets back to the issue of what did I learn? What do I need to get better at? That is huge and that’s one of the big life lessons because we don’t go through life with success, success, success, success, success. You run into failure, there’s no question but it’s the failures where we really take the biggest strides forward. That’s where we really learn and that’s how we deal with those failures, is how we get better. And I think it’s apparent this is where you need to be there to support your child and it gets back to some of the things we’ve talked about in our earlier talks about responsibility and accountability. Did you do what you had control of?

CHAD – Right.

Dr. Ken – Because one thing Chad that I’ve learned over the years no one likes losing. If you like losing then it’s time to be done competing. But when you go to bed at night after a game and the opponent beat you, you can sleep.

CHAD – Right.

Dr. Ken – When you beat yourself, that’s when you toss and turn and you need to get the lesson from whether the opponent beat you. What do I need to get better at? what do I need to work on and if I beat myself, where did the breakdown occur. How can I get better at that?

CHAD – That’s perfect and that’s reality where these are life lessons as well as baseball lessons and sports lessons so.

Dr. Ken – And the other thing Chad I think that’s fascinating with hitting in baseball is yes, a 300 hitter fails 7 out of 10 times but also the other side of that equation is, as a hitter you only have to beat the pitcher one pitch.

CHAD – That’s it one pitch.

Dr. Ken – One pitch, one pitch and you can get beat the first two pitches and you have to beat him one pitch. We forget that. We always here unsuccessful 7 out of 10 times but you only have to beat him only once.

CHAD – Only once?

Dr. Ken – Yep.

CHAD – Now that’s perfect thank you Dr.

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