Yes, You Can!

jamie moyerIn his book “Just Tell Me I Can’t” professional baseball pitcher Jamie Moyer points out that body language — both his and the batter’s – was critical to his success.

Moyer holds the distinction of being the oldest pitcher ever to win a major league game (just shy of 50 years old!); and he actually got better as he got older (there is something for us aging tennis players to think about).

I have not read the book, but in a radio interview (which I happened to listen to while driving to my first USTA National Tournament last year), he pointed out that the pitcher did not want to show negativity on the mound. If the batter picked up that the pitcher was angry, upset with the umpire, or not feeling confident… that would give the psychological edge to the hitter.

He felt the same way about watching the batter… if he didn’t look confident at the plate, that gave Moyer a boost and he pitched with more confidence himself.

And, In Tennis…

The same is true in tennis. You hear your opponent yelling at himself (or worse, at his doubles partner) and you know you have the edge on him/them.

I am guilty of self-inflicted one- or two-word outbursts after missing a shot. While I get it out of my system quickly, it is probably better not to show the opponent anything is bothering you.

How you walk, how hard you breathe after a long point, rubbing an injured body part… they can all give a signal to your opponent and give them more confidence. Granted, some players intentionally give off false signals of fatigue; but most times you can read how they feel by how they act.

As Yogi Berra once observed about baseball, “Half of this game is 90% mental.”

How do you emote on the court?

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2 thoughts on “Yes, You Can!

  1. Who did this guy beat when he was 49 years old ? I can hardly imagine anybody short of Nolan Ryan getting anybody out at 49, much less beating a MLB team
    … Thanks always, George, for your Blog. & Congratulations on the fine tournament you had at Palm Aire…

    Bob – tks. and, it is only appropriate…. He threw seven strong innings and Dexter Fowler hit a two-run homer to help the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 5-3 (2012). GEORGE

  2. I think it depends on the individual…. because some of us HAVE to let it out.

    Borg was the iceman. Would Mac have been better had he shown less emotion? I happen to think not. Just thinking out loud here….
    Attitude is key, I agree very much… but a show of a emotion is not the “wrong thing” for everyone.

    Marc, yup, as long as it is mostly positive. Thanks, george.

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