Re: SHOULD EVERY MLB TEAM HAVE ON-SITE ADDICTION SPECIALISTS FOR PLAYERS LIKE JOSH HAMILTON?
posted at 2/8/2012 4:14 PM EST
In Response to Re: SHOULD EVERY MLB TEAM HAVE ON-SITE ADDICTION SPECIALISTS FOR PLAYERS LIKE JOSH HAMILTON?
[QUOTE]DO YOU GUYS not c how an addictionist or interventionist could have helped the sawx with their beer and fried chicken addiction or tendencies last year? like a sports psychologist with common sense.
Posted by COMMUNIST-CONTRARIAN[/QUOTE]
The Red Sox had a sports psychologist on their payroll named Bob Tewksbury a few years back.
“I had the opportunity to work as a pitching coach, but I really didn’t want to get back on the field,” he said. “Instead, I worked with some upper-level players as kind of a pitching mentor.”
It was then that Tewksbury first became exposed to the idea of becoming a sports psychologist. At the time, the Red Sox had Doug Gardner on staff as the team psychologist. He and Tewksbury developed a relationship and would frequently discuss the various approaches of sports psychology.
“I found out that a lot of these things Doug was doing, I already knew about from my experiences as an athlete, whether it be imagery, self-talk, journaling or other methods that sports psychologists use to help athletes improve their performance. And I thought, ‘Well maybe I could go back to school and get a degree.’”
Tewksbury did just that, enrolling in the sports psychology and counseling program at Boston University while still working with the Sox and for NESN as a pre- and postgame analyst.
In 2004, with his degree in hand and the position vacant, Tewksbury filled the role of team psychologist for the Red Sox and hasn’t looked back since.
“I think my primary objective,” he said of his role on the team, “is to educate all the players on the importance of the mental aspects of baseball and to let them know that I’m a resource for them in any areas that may be prohibiting them from playing their best.”
Because baseball in particular is a game where players experience a high degree of failure, Tewksbury sees a lack of confidence as a common struggle.
“Confidence comes from the inside out, not from the outside in,” Tewksbury said. “As a player, you have to believe in your ability. It doesn’t come from what other people say or if you have a good game.
On the flip side, if you don’t have a good game, it doesn’t mean that you stink either. A player’s self image has to be more concrete than that.”
One of the realities of the game that Tewksbury frequently explores is the lack of control a player has beyond a certain point.
“Players can control their thoughts, actions and reactions,” he said. “After the ball leaves the bat or their hand, though, there’s really not much they can do. To accept that there’s so much out of your control is difficult because we want to control everything. But I think in baseball, what has the largest affect on athletes is dealing with the idea you’re going to fail a lot. You’re not going to like it, but you’ve got to accept it and move forward because if you don’t, you’re not going to do well.”
On this point, Tewksbury believes that a player’s ability to manage his short-term memory is a key to long-term success.
“When it comes to failure, a player has to think, ‘Well, OK, that didn’t work out so well today, but I’m going to move forward to the next time.’ The athletes that can do that on a consistent basis are the ones that can really perform at a high level over the course of a season or career. That’s what separates a lot of players.”
In his role as the team psychologist, Tewksbury sometimes has to walk a fine line between players and the organization when it comes to what to share and what to keep private.
“There’s certainly aspects of what I do that are confidential,” he said. “It’s important to keep that level of trust with the players, but there are also aspects of discussions that are sometimes shared with a coordinator or a pitching coach or hitting coach. For example, helping somebody with an in-game pre-pitch routine or helping them to slow the game down.”
As for the job itself, Tewksbury feels fortunate to serve in the role.
“It’s been an absolutely terrific second career,” he said. “It’s rewarding. It’s stimulating. It’s challenging and I’m really excited that the Red Sox see value in this because I don’t think there are a lot of teams that make this a priority and the Red Sox do.”