The Inner Game and Player Development
There I was standing on the hallowed ground of the New York Yankee spring training facility in Tampa, Florida. On the surrounding walls were numerous inspirational quotes from the likes of Lou Gehrig, Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter and others.
Dr. Tom Hanson, the Director of Performance Enhancement, had invited me in to work with the organization's 35 Player Development coaches on how to apply Inner Game of Tennis principles and exercises to their baseball training.
I had never worked in baseball before, and I was admittedly nervous. Dr. Hanson introduced me briefly and then we started. I told the coaches that I wanted them not to think of me as the expert who was going to lecture and teach them, but more as an equal who would facilitate a conversation about developing players and coaching.
It would be an opportunity for our mutual learning. I ended by suggesting that their questions were welcome at any time.
Immediately, a coach raised his hand and asked challengingly, "Mr. Brawley, with all due respect what can you as a former tennis pro and coach teach us about baseball?"
My hand started shaking quite visibly as my nervousness increased so I put it in my pocket so they couldn't see it. I then wondered how to answer the question. I paused in silence and then intuitive inner voice said, "tell them the truth." And so, I did.