Everybody faces mental illness risks and baseball players are no exception. There are no official records of mental illness in baseball but baseball players who had emotional problems such as anxiety have been known throughout baseball history. The problem is people recognize and accept it or not.
Over the past twenty years, more and more baseball players went to disabled list with emotional issues. Although it is late but the facts have rung the bell in the society toward mental health in baseball. As a result, it is now recommended that baseball teams should have psychology programs and consultants.
From 1972 to 1991, none major league players landed on disabled list because of mental illness. Due to public perception of mental illness as problems which cannot appear in baseball, there have been just a few names of professional baseball players who officially announced to struggle with mental illness throughout baseball history.
If the cases had been known, it would have been serious or the players have overcame their illness and talked about their hard time. For instance, Marty Bergen who played catcher for Boston Bean eaters experienced anxiety and depression which lead to his suicide after murdering his family himself in 1900. Or, outfielder Jimmy Piersall who lived with bipolar disorder had electro shock therapy in 1952 but returned after that.
In 2009, it was officially announced that five professional Major League Baseball players were on disabled list due to emotional issues which include famous Dontrelle Willis. More and more baseball players publicly revealed that they have been struggling with mental problems such as anxiety or depression but in just recent 20 years.
The public, media, managers and baseball players themselves have ignored their psychology states for a time too long. People like to think that baseball players are impervious with stress and pressure since their careers are mostly about challenging and do physical motions which most normal people cannot. Challenging is a player thing, if they can’t deal with that, what do they play for? Moreover, professional baseball players have a job and high income which many people dream of, so they cannot complain about what they have. Finally, an old thinking which indicate that sport is for the strong, weak minds are not permitted to exist.
Baseball is a team sport but players actually play mostly separate roles. There are cooperation of each roles, this act leads to another act but in facts, their duties are invidually different and separate. After one act is done, the next will mostly depend on another player. It’s a game with high tension. And people tend to forget baseball players are human.
The causes of mental illness in baseball are various and not necessary directly from the game itself. The game is just a pushing factor.
Some players already have their own mental problems. For instance, Zack Greinke who was diagnosed with anxiety disorder in 2006 when he played for Kansas City Royals said that he had problems since high school and got worse when he got better with baseball. Infamous Marty Bergen already had his mental illness history before playing baseball.
The cause can be painful incidents of the players. With Duchscherer, it was divorcing, “It was a combination of baseball and the divorce,” he said“I can’t stay healthy enough to perform, so I’m not doing my job, and I failed at my marriage”. Scott Schoeneweis was put on disabled list due to depression after his wife death in 2008. Or Joey Votto who was left in tough mental state after his father death in 2008.
It can also be the injuries the players have during playing which cause mental problems.
Signs of mental problems in baseball
The signs of mental problems vary. The first thing is to notice the abnormal behaviors as well as decrease in performance of the players. If we wait for them to talk their problems, it might be late already. Players with anxiety and depression signs tend to say they can’t focus, they can’t do the work. With pitchers, they might say they can’t feel the ball in their hands. Some players might show violent behaviors toward opponents.
Tommy John shared his experience: “In 1997, it felt like I never even played baseball before. I was more concerned about how in the world I was going to be able to throw strikes, much less face the hitters,”Khalil Greene who now is out of baseball and fighting with anxiety disorder, “It was difficult to concentrate, difficult to sustain my energy level,” Greene said, “It’s just a battle to be relaxed. I’m trying to battle that and find a way to come to terms with that, trying to find those coping mechanisms”.
Can baseball players go back to their career after experiencing mental problems?
There are just a few players can go back to their career after experiencing mental disorder. For instance, Dontrelle Willis was believed to come back to his career as professional Major League Baseball in 2010. It seemed that his best consult is not from doctors but from his grandma, she told him to keep remember the joy of playing the game. Joey Votto also did manage to fight off his anxiety in the end of 2009 and is now still a part of baseball world.
There’s no way to tell if a player can go back to baseball after experiencing mental disorder. It depends on himself and the help he gets
Mental health in baseball cannot be ignored anymore. Cases which have been known are just tip of the ice. Many players have to deal with mental problems by themselves and managers keep ignoring or think of something else other than mental illness. Attitude toward mental health in baseball needs to be change from many sides, managers, coaches, public and the players themselves for better care of players as well as better performance and make baseball a wonderful sport. In 2015, the Cubs, the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Nationals took action for their players, announced changes in their approach of this issue.
A professional baseball player, Yogi Berra, has said: “Baseball is 90% mental and other half is physical”. Psychology in baseball is nothing new nowadays. In fact, it is quite popular and amusing to many researchers, psychologists and baseball fans. Yogi Berra’s saying has been quoted many times in many topics about baseball and baseball psychology in particular. Psychology elements day by day become indispensable when talking or discussing about baseball.
Baseball and Psychology
There have been many researches about psychology of baseball. It doesn’t accidentally become an interesting topic with psychologists and researchers. Everything has reasons. And the reasons are because of the indispensability of psychology elements in baseball. They’re heart of the sport since without them, the game can’t be well performed. They support the techniques the players use as well as being their mental health.Let’s discuss three main elements and you can see why.
Psychology elements in baseball
One element is about how people can do what are claimed to exceed human ability. One is about the mind strategy needed to do during the game. And the last one is about baseball players themselves,mental states.
Technique and Ability
Mike Stadler, sport psychologist of University of Missouri, has claimed in his book  that: “The physical demands of the game are intense and the physical abilities of the players, as extraordinary as they are, cannot by themselves meet those demands”. Which means the game itself requires motions exceed human physical ability.
 The Psychology of Baseball: Inside the Mental Game of the Major League Player, Gotham, 2007
Let’s look at three positions in baseball:
- Pitcher:How can a pitcher control the ball with accuracy, speed and strength to get it to the catcher? It’s like hitting the center point of a dartboard. Moreover, the ball has to pass the hitter without being hit. Therefore, the orbit needs to be tricky, it can’t always be straight. Accuracy, speed and tricky orbit, that’s what a pitcher has to deal with.
- Hitter: A ball which is thrown by a professional player can reach up to 100 m.p.h speed. Which means, it travels from pitcher to hitter in less a split second. The hitter must swing bat at the time the ball is released or else the bat can’t contact with the ball in time. Moreover, the 100 m.p.h speed is claimed to be in degree at which beyond human vision field. So, how can a hitter hit a ball he/she can barely see in half second? Do you know how to choose the best baseball bat ?
- Outfielder:How can a fielder know where a flying ball will land? How can he/she do that complex geometry for a result of a precise landing spot?
Those seem impossible and are claimed to be out of human ability but people actually do it. And it is because of the combination of mental and physical.
There are theories about how baseball players do those moves. The theories are well researched and reasonable. However, most of players think because of practicing and instinct so that they can do what they do. Yogi Berra used to say: “A full mind is an empty bat”. The players try to make their techniques, motions and moves to be natural, instinctive so that they can play unconsciously. The more they think, the worse they perform. They make it natural like we scream when we’re suddenly hurt. And then they can do their best.
Baseball is also mind game to the players especially between hitter and pitcher. Since the time of reaction and changing strategy is counted by millisecond, they need to guess what moves and techniques will be used by the opponents. There are many ways to do that. For instance, one can guess his/her opponent because he/she is familiar with that opponent performance or with others but that others are like him/her. They also can guess from the opponent’s last performance or from his/her moves and motions as well as take advantages of nervousness. The experience of players are essential in this practice.
What makes a good baseball player? Babe Ruth, a professional baseball player is proved to have better sound and visual reaction than most population. He also has better hand to eye coordination. In short, his nerves, brain, ears, eyes function more rapidly than normal people. It is no surprise that other top baseball players’ physical abilities are top of population as well.
However, there’s no link proved to exist between natural talent and baseball succeeding. It is the practicing that makes the difference and the mental state. The confidence and well self-control hitter performs better. And that is no unusual knowledge. The players perform well or not base on their mental state is stable or not.
Baseball also puts a lot of pressure on the players which may affect their mental health. There were many baseball players who had mental health illness in baseball history. Those facts cannot be neglected.
Psychology and baseball has tight and close links since the ones who practice baseball are human and psychology is one part of human. Above are three main elements of psychology in baseball. They’re all connected closely to the game itself.
We are usually recommended to ride bicycles instead of using cars or motorbikes at environmental events or campaigns. The act is obvious good for the environment so that activists or people who love nature promote bicycles than cars/motorbikes. And good environment means good health, no one can debate that. That’s how cycling indirectly helps our body.
However, is it just about environment and good health result from fresh nature? No it is not. As you can catch a glance of many bicycles at the gym you go to or at some friends’ house or on sport shows, riding a bicycle as also called cycling or biking is a fitness exercise as well as a sport. It is special exercise since your tool may be transportation (the ones in gym are not transportation) which let you move places to places. So, you can easily have chances to practice as we always have to go there from here, don’t we?
Cycling is popular, it is a competitive sport, a fitness exercise, a mean to go to work or places. It is also good for environment as cycling will reduce smoke.In facts, you can see cycling almost everywhere. As popular as it is, do you know how cycling helps our body so that so much people practice it and vote for it?
As we get older so does our balance. Older adults are easily to fall and falling causes injuries.We know that cycling needs balance elements since if we’re not carefully manage the bike, we’ll fall. But, can cycling improves balance?
A research posted at Environmental and Public Health Journal of Hindawi in 2013by a group of researchers has clarified whether cycling helps improve balance in older adults,“We found that older adults who had cycled recently and those who cycled for over an hour a week performed better than non riders or infrequent cyclists on measures of static and dynamic balance, important predictors of falls risk”. Even though there are some factors affect the conclusion but “the results suggest that cycling is a potential falls prevention strategy for healthy older adults who are able to ride a bicycle”. It is a simple deduction that cycling helps the old improve balance then so will be the young.
Cycling has many benefits for health such as:
- Strength: Strength is always what you get when you do physical practice. With each practices, each specific parts of your body will be focused to build strength and muscle. With cycling, your lower body will be focused which includes abdomen, back, leg.
- Heart:There was a time that cycling was told to easily be the cause of heart attack. But many people said that people who had heart attack while cycling already have their own symptoms and are not allowed to practice much. It is indeed hard to think that a sport causes heart attack if we practice it properly. Cycling helps lower blood pressure, improve circulation of blood as well as reduce bad cholesterol, so as a result, we have healthier heart.
- Immune system: Cycling boost your immune system and prevent small infection like fluor sore throat.
- Reduce pain and prevent diseases: Cycling can reduce the risk of chronic disease as well as lower back pain.
Since cycling is not as intense as other sports, it is quite safe, you are not exposed to the risk of injuries as much as others. Moreover, cycling does put less force onto you joints and practice your hamstrings.
Many people cycle for fitness. Since you use lower body to pedal, make the bicycle move, cycling helps tone your waistline, your back and your leg. That is where cycling builds your muscles too.
180 pound person can burn around 290 – 470 calories when cycling for 30 minutes depends on the intensity and pace. So if you practice properly and casually according to fitness plan. It works as well as other exercise.
Cycling helps your mind be active and fresh. Many researches have claimed that our brain work better if we exercise like a Canadian neuro scientist Brian Christie, PhD has said that when we exercise, we make the production of our neurons double or triple. As a result, some mental benefits can be made for ourselves:
- Couple of minutes for cycling is always a nice boost to your energy and reduce the stress.
- Improve memory, think and react faster as well as being creative.
- Better sleeping.
- Reduce risk of mental illness.
In short, cycling helps we enjoy life more.
Cycling is a unique exercise since it can help your body and minds indirectly through environment we protect and directly through the practice of yourselves. It is less intense than other exercise and have some specific features such as the balance you perform as well as improve by practicing it, the work of your hamstring while pedaling and so on. Cycling helps your body and mind with the ways like other sports as well as its own ways.
It is an obvious fact that swimming is good for health. Swimming trains your cardiovascular system as well as make your whole body work. Therefore, it enhances your endurance, strength, prevent chronic illness, et cetera. But, one question is, “Can we lose weight by swimming?” Swimming is not a common exercise which people practice with goal of losing weight.
However, the answer is yes. It is in fact a practice in which you need to work and move your body just like walking and running. As a result, there’s no way that your calories are not burnt when swimming. Despite the fact that swimming burn calories, why are there fewer people who swim to lose weight than people who walk, run and workout at gym?
Why swimming is less common exercise to lose weight?
Swimming is quite a different exercise and sport from the others as you have to practice underwater, an environment in which is not as easy for human as the land. Consequentially, there are differences conditions which prevent it from being the effective losing weight method if we don’t pay attention and be careful.
- Buoyancy effect: Is the effect that water gives your body a lift and your body floats. The more fats you have, the more effects you give the buoyancy. You don’t have to work much since you have water support you. As a result, it reduces your degrees of working out.
- Difficult in environment change: Practicing underwater means your cardiovascular system must work harder as they interact more pressure. Therefore, early exhaustion and hard breath happen with beginners. It’ll take long time to be used to it with people who have cardiovascular problems.
- Techniques: If you want to lose weight with swimming, you have to do proper swimming techniques with proper instruction. It’s not as easy as exercises on land since you work with unfamiliar environment, water. You can walk or move your body on land everyday but you don’t walk in water everyday.
- Appetite: One of the most concerning problem when swimming is the appetite after swimming. When you swim, your body temperature is being kept cool because of the water, while exercising on land, you produce more heat. The body needs energy after swimming to compensate for the decrease of temperature in order to warm the body up. And food is one way to consume and produce that energy. As a result, your appetite would be higher and harder to resist than exercising on land. Therefore, your body would consume more or the same calories which you have just burnt.
Can we really lose weight with swimming?
Yes, we can but with proper practices. Professor Kay Cox of The Western University of Australia did a research about swimming and health which was published in Metabolism-Clinical and Experimental journal in 2010. She compared women who took up swimming program with women who took up walking program. The women from both groups exercised with the same amount of time and at the same intensity. After a year, women who swam lost weight and toned waist a little better than women who walked.Additionally, swimming women were asked to eat specific diet to have these results.
How much calories does swimming burn?
Despite the buoyancy effect, water is about 800 times denser than air, so it must interfere with your movement, make them heavier and you have to work harder. Generally you will lose 500 – 700 calories when swimming depends on your weight and intensity of performing. For example, with freestyle swimming, a 130 pound person can lose 590 calories in one hour while it is 650 calories with butterfly swimming.
Even though swimming burns calories quite enough, it’s not as much as other sports. However swimming is to work your whole body, so its toning muscle function is quite effective. Moreover, you don’t put a lot of pressure or force to your joints compare to other sport. Therefore, risk of injuries and tired painful joints are less than the others.
Types of swimming stroke
Swimming has many strokes or styles but there are four common strokes since they are popular used in swimming competition: Freestyle Stroke (Front Crawl); Backstroke, Breaststroke and Butterfly. Freestyle is claimed to be the fastest stroke and commonly used. The second fast is Butterfly swimming which is quite unique and beautiful technique as well as the most exhausted in four kinds. People who want to lose weight with swimming usually choose freestyle or butterfly swimming.
We can swim to lose weight. However, it is harder to lose weight than the other sports or exercises because of its unique characteristics. If your main purpose is to lose weight fast with the most efficiency, swimming might not be for you. But, you should consider other benefits of swimming which are better than the others such as cardiovascular system endurance, low risk of injuries and so on. You can both lose weight and enjoy interesting experience of practicing in water.