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The Maverick Mindset of Baseball - 22nd April 2007

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I was talking to one of my colleagues about a project that was not achieving the ideal outcome he had targeted, and he asked me, how he should think and feel!

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I found myself recounting this great story from John Elliot, author of "Maverick Mindset".

Unfortunately the whole story is a little long so here is my paraphrased version.


Philip Ombra was a pitcher for Rice University and in those big games which really counted he went to pieces. In fact in the previous game of the world series in 2003 his performance had been so bad he had actually hit the first four batters and was shown on ESPN (The USA sports channel) as a ridicule. So he was shocked on the morning of the final when the coach came up to him and told him he was going to be the pitcher for the final that evening. He grabbed John Elliot and said, "what do I do!"


John said, "What can you control and how can you define your performance?"

Philip said, "Well I could do this by keeping players off bases, by stopping them getting into scoring positions and by stopping them striking home runs"

John said "No, you can't control any of those, umpires can make all sorts of bad calls, players can have lucky hits, the wind can gust and blow the ball, what can you really control?"

Philip thought, "Well I can control where I look and when I let go of the ball"

John says, "so define your performance by where you look and by when you let go of the ball"


So Philip went to the nets before the game

John says," pick a spot on the dirt and throw a few at that spot."

The Stanford batters had seen ESPN and now seeing Philip throw a few balls into the dirt, they were thinking about home runs and celebration dinners.


But Philip had set his mindset focusing on what he could control, not the future outcome but  delivering the best action in the present moment.


In the game Philip went seven innings before he gave away a single run and Rice won the world series.


A great story, which is perhaps backwards to how we normally think of success. But perhaps sometimes a maverick mindset is just what we need, thanks John!


Till next week

Regards David G