By David Kloser
There's no place for teasing and heckling on the baseball field, I'm sure you'll agree, yet there seems to be no getting around it. People are going to say what they want. As a former college player and high school coach, believe me, I've heard some wild things.
Unfortunately, teasing and heckling does happen and not just on the field. However, what you learn on the baseball field will help you manage and understand things off the field. I know it does for me.
I spoke with over 300 of today's top Major Leaguers about how they handle heckling (as well as other topics) and one of the main points they shared was, "control what you can control." You can't control what people say to you, but you can control your reaction to them.
Here are a few excerpts from Stepping Up to the Plate that reveal how big leaguers handle heckling. If you like to copy the styles and habits of the pros, you might want to try out some of these positive approaches to heckling too.
You're in the field and you hear something like, "Hey #@!%! You're a *&#@?" Here's what two-time all-star and World Series champion Darin Erstad has learned over the years: "It's an ugly side to the game. You can let it bother you or let it make you stronger. You have to accept that (the teasing) is not personal and you can't take it with emotion."
How does all-star infielder and 11-year MLB veteran Edgardo Alfonzo overcome hecklers? He explains, "I already have my mind set on what I'm going to do, what I'm going to listen to and what my intentions are. The game's only a couple of hours long, I don't want to take my focus off our (game plan)."
Paul LoDuca, three-time all-star handles it this way. "I take the heckling in stride. I was a short, chubby kid when I was younger, so I got razzed a lot. I still do. I just laugh. You can't take it serious. If you do, it starts getting in your head."
Bonus Tip: Tim Wakefield from the 2004 World Series-champion Boston Red Sox puts it best: "You have to force yourself to ignore (the teasing). A lot of people base their self-worth on what other people think about you. You have to be happy with yourself. My self-worth is based on the type of person I am, not what I do on the field."
Wrap Up: Control what you can control, have a game plan and stay focused on it. Whether you're on the field or in the classroom, what you think about yourself plays a big part toward your success. If you know you're not a @!%&*#, it won't matter what other people say.
David Kloser, speaker, visualization trainer and author of the series "Stepping Up to the Plate: Inspiring Interviews with Major Leaguers" interviewed over 300 Major League Baseball players about success for life on and off the field. David speaks on this topic throughout the country. For more information visit www.SteppingUpToThePlate.com