That’s what I’m recognizing more and more as I study the best players in the world. There is just something different about their eyes. No they don’t have the ability to see better than 20/20 or anything like that. In fact I have no idea whether they were contacts/reading glasses or not. What I mean is:

1. That while all of us have the ability to see the play, they seemingly have the ability to visualize the plays/games that haven’t even happened yet. The leading hitter on the 1996 Gold Medal winning US Softball Team, Dionna Harris, said that her pre-game routine included closing her eyes and visualizing herself walking into her home, turning on the tv, and watching the game that was about to be played. She’d go through inning by inning, at bat by at bat. More often than not she said she’d end up playing the game out on the field, that she had already watched in her head before hand.

2. They have the ability to use their recall from what’s happend to look into the future. For instance one of my favorite pictures is a simple head shot of Caitlin Lowe as she puts her helmet on in the dugout. But as you look into her eyes you see an intensity that is just different from others. You can almost see her next at bat unfolding right before eyes. She isn’t just looking at the pitcher, she’s looking beyond the pitcher and witnessing her impending dual play out in her head. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Caitlin-Lowe/25187252465#!/photo.php?pid=1301190&op=1&o=global&view=global&subj=25187252465&id=602036881

3. Laser precision type focus. When most players having a hard time keeping their eye on the ball comes at them,  when you look into the eyes of the elite athletes you would swear they not only see the ball into the glove, but are looking through the glove to still see the ball. Then after the play/hit their eyes go back into “normal person mode.” And before the ball is released the next time … bam … their eyes are transformed again.

We often here it referred to as “being in the zone.” A friend of mine, fantastic former player and college coach, Tina Whitlock describes what I’m trying to articulate as “the ability to turn it on, and off.”

Sure wish I could teach players how to “turn it on, and off” on demand like the great ones. But what I do know, is that their greatness is in their eyes. See for yourself ;)

Category : Mental advice