Note: The story is real. The athlete’s background, name, and team are protected.

You are an MLB player who was just sent down to Triple-A and, for the first time, is facing your baseball career mortality. Your coach, wife, agent, or you reached out. The meeting is the first time we have met in person. The goal is to share information to see if we may be a good fit. I arrived at your hotel, and we are meeting in the lobby. 

Let’s Do This

Hand Shake.  
Mark, “Hi, Doug, nice to meet you.” 
Doug, “Same here, nice to meet you, Mark.”
Mark, “How are you holding up?’  
(no eye contact and sitting rigidly in the chair) 
Doug, “I’m okay. I’ve felt better.”
Mark, “That makes sense. What else.?”
Doug, “I guess angry, disappointed, feel like I let people down. How do we do this? What do I do?”
Mark, “Well. I’ll tell you what Drew. You tell me about you. Begin as far back as you like. I may jump in with questions.” Then I’ll tell you about me. What I do, how it works, set expectations, and see if we desire to work together.” 
Doug, “That’s cool. So I was born in upstate Ohio. Oh yeah, before we start, I want to apologize for the hotel. I know it’s not the Ritz Carlton.” Note: I hear that apology a couple of times a year for over 20 years.
Mark, “All good, Doug, I get it. Don’t worry about it. Let’s keep going.”
Doug, “I played basketball and baseball in High School. I loved playing hoops, but my body said baseball.
I was All-State in baseball my senior year. Yankees drafted me, but I chose to sign a letter of intent to play with Stanford. At Stanford, I had an outstanding sophomore and junior year and pitched twice in the College World Series. Phillies drafted me. Next, I went to the Louisville Bats for the Reds, and the last four years have been in the Boston system ever since. Four years in Boston and this fall,” I came in to close in game five of the best of 5 series. I gave up a grounder to short. He bobbles it, and they called it a hit. Ump squeezes me on a 3-2 filthy slider. Next, batter dumps a flare to right-center, game over.
Off-season comes all is fine. Takes getting over, but I was right. I take my fiance on vacation to Aruba, and while there, Boston signs another closer.” 
Mark, “Stop for a second, Doug. How do you feel?” 
Doug, “About what?”
Mark, “You covered a lot. Pick the first thing that resonates with you.”
Doug, “I’m pissed off. Management didn’t have the balls to let me know. It’s tough enough to deal with taking a hard loss, but this is crap. I try my best to shut it out. And of course, the press sucks. I make it through spring training. Management meets and gives me the obligatory vote of confidence. Yeah right. I began pitching this year, and it’s been rough. My velocity is down, accuracy is down, and my mind won’t stop.” 
Mark, “What goes through your mind when you are warming up? Any different when you cross the line or hit the mound?”
Drew, “No, everything I said earlier comes into my mind. I try to clear in between pitches, but there is too much going on in there.” 
Mark, ” How are you sleeping? I ask because I know that we can all find distractions to shift the attention away from what is impacting us. But, our truth always is found when our heads hit the pillow.?
Doug, ” Sleeping sucks. I try to fall asleep, and it’s there. I wake up several times a night, and it’s there. Morning comes, and I feel like I haven’t slept,”
(Doug is amping up. I can see and feel his intensity. Time to shift gears)
Mark, “That’s enough, Doug. I’ve got it. Let me tell you about what I do, why it works, and see if we work together. Sound good?”
Head nodding. Doug, “Sure.”

Aha Moments.

Mark, “I was a competitive powerlifter in college. While a freshman at a small NAIA college in Illinois, a friend Doug and I went to California for a tournament.
After the tournament, Doug’s father called and said that he had purchased a fleet van for his business, and asked if I could call my dad and ask if it would be alright to drive with Doug from Santa Monica, California to Illinois. It was summer, no school, so yeah, go ahead. 
A hot July day, we drove east across California. Six hours into the drive, we are on target for the first stop in Phoenix. When we arrived in Phoenix, I asked Doug what he thought about stopping in Tempe to get a workout in. We chose Arizona State University and snuck into the Activity Center, where the athletes were weight training. 
It happened that summer football was in full mode. I began spotting ballplayers on the Bench Press and Squat. The same lifts which I compete. Recently hired Head Strength Coach, Bill Allerheiligen from Nebraska, said, “You ought to get a job here. You seem like you know what you’re doing?” I said, “Thanks, coach, but I don’t go to school here. I snuck in to get a workout.” Coach asked, what are you doing now. I share that I was attending school in Illinois. He stated that he was new to ASU, and if I considered ASU, he would help to make it happen. He said, “I can’t offer you tuition, but I can pay you through the intramural department, plus take care of housing,” I asked, “You would do that.?” He reached out his hand, and we shook on it. 
I arrived home and told mom and dad that I am transferring to Arizona State University. I remember my late mother asking, “Oh honey, aren’t you going to miss the seasons?” Yeah right. I haven’t missed one yet. I love Arizona and never take a sunny day for granted. Some of my best life memories and friendships are from ASU.Fear the Fork.”
ASU Arrival
It was all about performance. I’m high energy and highly competitive. I couldn’t figure out why one all American athlete puts the time in the gym, busting it, putting in the reps, extra time, asking all of the right questions. But, his roommate has fled the gym and is heading to Wendy’s for a triple and a frosty? 
My ASU agreement included I work in Scottsdale at the gym of the late great Jon Cole. A great track athlete and an all-time great powerlifter. While leaving the gym, I was struck head-on by a woman leaving a grocery store. I remember going in and out of consciousness. I wasn’t cut but badly beaten and bruised, and began treatments with Dr. Dennis Goldberg, a successful Phoenix Valley chiropractor. One day during treatment, Doc asked, ” Mark, have you ever been to Sedona, Arizona? “No, I replied.” Doc, “You’ve been in Arizona for years and have never been to Sedona?”
I said. “Doc, I’m a student. I’m trying to afford wings and beer. Why would I go to Sedona?” Doc,” Take this. I can’t go this weekend, here’s a ticket to hear this man speak. He’s a renowned therapist in New York. I think you’ll find him interesting.” I hopped in my Ford Maverick and drove to Sedona, Arizona. I made the turn on State Route 89-A, seeing Sedona for the first time. I immediately knew that I belonged. 
Later that evening, I was captivated by the little man and his baritone voice. Dr. Hawkins riveted me to my seat. Every word he said, poured into me like the best meal I’ve ever eaten. After hearing him speak and packed with confidence, I walked up to him and asked if he would consider mentoring me. Doug, my dismissal was faster than your best two-seamer. 
For the next several years, Dr. Hawkins would come to speak in Arizona. And for the same years, I would attend his speeches, ask to be mentored, only to meet the same fate each time. One August day, I received a phone call. Doc, “I don’t know if you remember me.” I said, ” I know this voice; I’ve seen you twice a year for four years. How may I help you, Dr. ?” Dr. ” I am closing my practice in Manhatten and moving to Sedona, Arizona. Would you like to meet?”

I made a promise then and there to be the best in my field.”

Mark, “Doug, do you have control of the umps, players, teammates, fans, management, or press? Doug shakes his head no. From now on, you only concern yourself with one thing; mastering your craft. Master your craft, and contracts, agents, management all go through you. 
Doug, I teach something I call the Intentional Athlete developed through my company Sedona Sports Performance. I sign up to 15 MLB players during the off-season. I leave a gap to handle an additional ten players once the season starts. I like to make myself available to meet with those players who may be coming off an injury or heading up or down minor league stints. I also work with ballplayers at all levels of the MLB system, College players, and try my best to reach over 15,000 student-athletes at all levels through free seminars and online communication. 
Mark, “I begin meeting MLB players in February. We meet like today in person. Should we decide, we are a good fit I get paid in advance. Players sign me for a year and will meet five times over the next three days; every player has access to me for one year from our start date. As I shared on the phone, I do not charge by the session. We will meet in my hotel suite. Mornings as early as possible and evenings as late as you can, before sleep. I have created a baseball program, designed to meet five times during the typical three-game series. Sunday Morning is our fifth meeting and a morning session concerning it being getaway day. 

Our Initial Meeting 

First, we will clear what is sabotaging your game by using a tool I named “A Dive.”, during the dive, you will meet the twin baseball Doug for the first time. The goal of the dive is to release the emotional crap that is sabotaging your game.  

Second, equip you with processes that permit you to call on the best of your game in any situation. Each successive meeting will get shorter and shorter as your mind and body become familiar with the processes. Eventually, what took us over an hour or hours to achieve will only require three to five minutes every morning and evening.
Doug, if I’m doing my job, you won’t need me; and It’s my job to equip you, so you don’t. But let’s say that two months into the season, you’re facing you know who in a short series. You may get a little amped up. All you do is reach out. Once our initial meetings are complete, we may accomplish everything moving forward by phone. We can work the night or morning before a game. Check-in and a quick phone process to be sure you’re at SWAG.”

Imagine it.  

Feel it. 

Allow it. 

Share it. 

Mark, “Also, we have an agreement with you, coach, or agent that every outing, even if they dry hump you, I get your stats. Before you leave today, I’ll let you know what stats I expect them, the next day after every appearance. Doug, my job isn’t’ to get you to the Allstar game or World Series. My job is seeing that your next performance is better than the previous one and so on. Again, we clear the crap that’s sabotaging your game while I’m here in town and equip you with processes that anchor the best of your performance that you may call on whenever you need it, in any situation. Doug, what do you think? “
Doug, “I’m good. I think I want to try this.”
Mark said, ” Wait a minute. This program is about being the best you have ever looked, the best you have ever felt, the best you have ever played.” 
“I’ll tell you what Doug, close your eyes. Take a nice deep breath. Inhale for four or five seconds. Now exhale for four of five seconds. Focus on your heart and chest area. Excellent job, Doug. Nothing to think about, just your breathing. Nice, and steady, great job.”
 Two minutes pass. While Doug continues breathing deeply, I walk him through a guided process that has him completely relaxing his mind and body.
Mark, “Now think about what you love most about the game. Smooth, steady, deep, full heart area breaths while thinking about what you love most about the game. Feel how much you love that game. Think about what you love most about baseball. What are they? Is it the fans, putting that uniform on, the stadium, the paycheck, locker room, the game itself? Now pick the two things you love most about the game. Now, feel how much you love those two things. Feel them. When you deeply feel them shake your head. Now open your eyes. How badly do you want to make it back to the show?”
Doug, with tear-filled eyes. “God, I want to go back up.”
Mark, “Doug, if I took you upstairs to my suite, sat you in a chair, and we began to do our first dive. You are completely relaxed, and unknowingly, I came up behind you and put you in a sleeper hold, and you passed out. Believe me; I’m still strong enough to do it.”
Doug, “I know you are.”
Mark, “I drag your butt across the hotel room floor and throw you into a bathtub full of cold water. You wake up disoriented, only to find me holding you under the water. You’re fighting and struggling with me, but I’ve got you down. Your lips are blue; eyes rolled back, you have one breath left in you. I pull you out of the water, and you gasp! When you want to make it back up to the show as bad as you wanted that breath, then we can work together.” “I get 86,400 seconds a day, just like you. Don’t waste one of mine. I have to better on a Sunday than you do. If you don’t take what I teach and make it part of your game, I’ll kick you to the curb. What would you like to do?”

Knuckle-bumping me.  

Doug, “What do I do next?

Mark, “Doug, one last thing, please don’t share this with anyone. Every athlete should include this in his or her game, but this is about you having a competitive advantage. Later in the year or next year, when a player asks what you did to change your game, feel free to share.” 

Good Players Play the Game, Great Players Allow “IT” to Come Through Them.

Bless you, 
Coach Mark