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The Pirates hire a new "Mental Conditioning Coordinator"

Jan 11, 2010, 1:00 PM EDT

We must begin by asking it:  “What is losing?” Losing is a disease. As contagious as polio. Losing is a disease.  As contagious as syphilis. Losing is a disease as contagious as bubonic plague; attacking one, but infecting all. But curable. Now, I want you to imagine you are on a ship at sea on a vast, gently rocking . . . gently rocking . . .

Bernie Holliday, who has a Ph.D. in sports
psychology and spent the last six years working at the United States
Military Academy, was hired as mental conditioning coordinator. He
replaces Geoff Miller, whose contract was not renewed.

Much, much more on Holliday and his particular assignment in this Post-Gazette article:

[Holliday] could bring to the Pirates such Army teaching techniques as
workshops, simulations, on-field exercises, videos and MP3 audios
personalized to each player, attention-control technology and
biofeedback analysis. The techniques cover a variety of mental skill
sets: from adaptation to analysis, from energy management to
establishment of a purpose, from preparation to perseverance, from
self-awareness to self-regulation.

The above “Natural” quote notwithstanding, I’m not trying to be snarky here.  I’ll grant that there’s more to this kind of job than telling people to be the ball or breathe through their eyelids or whatever. But really, do all teams have a “mental conditioning coordinator?” The article says the Red Sox and Indians do, and Pittsburgh apparently had one for the past few years.

I’d really like to know what people in the game actually think of this kind of stuff.  I guess I’m more curious about this than anything, but my gut says that ballplayers would be a bit less receptive to biofeedback analysis and energy management than your average bear.

  1. EviL EmpirE 2010 - Jan 11, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    Will they be good enough to lose 100 games, you betcha!

  2. YankeesfanLen - Jan 11, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    When the method doesn’t work, they can download a “How to be a Steelworker” segment onto the MP3.
    Just kidding, maybe an application to PNC bank.

  3. Ben - Jan 11, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    the sox have one and it’s Bob Tewksbury who got a sports pysch degree post-playing career

  4. Wooden U. Lykteneau - Jan 11, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    You could probably divide the players into those that went to and/or graduated from a Div. I college and those that didn’t and make a fairly accurate prediction as to who’s receptive and who’s not.

  5. goldenpanther4 - Jan 11, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    The first thing this shrink should work on is the Pirate owners and management. If anyone is screwed up it is that inane and greed oriented group

  6. Moses Green - Jan 11, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    Tigers LadyBoy – yOUr cAPitaLIzaTIon ScheME gIveS You AWay – nEW naME, sAME OLd IDioT

  7. Osmodious - Jan 11, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    Look, Craig…I didn’t come to this blog to be put to sleep by a two-bit carny hypnotist. I won’t do it. I…can’t.

  8. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 11, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    That’s it. I’m sendin’ you down, Os.

  9. d'wood - Jan 11, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    seems like there’s a lot of luck involved in baseball compared to other sports…pitchers who make great pitches but get clobbered, liners hit right at a defender, umpires with inconsistent strike zones, etc. enough to drive a guy batty. wouldn’t hurt to clear out the bats in the belfrey to manage this type of unexplicable outcome.

  10. willmose - Jan 11, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    Say what you will, but the Pirates need professional help after getting pounded year after year after year …

  11. Moses Green - Jan 12, 2010 at 7:49 AM

    Every team uses some variation on this, it’s nothing new, and your gut is lying to you Craig. Ballplayers have pitched no-hitters on LSD, Barry Zito would convert to Jainism and sweep microorganisms out of his footpath to and from the mound if it would help him remember how to strike guys out.

  12. rob - Jan 12, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    google Mindroom and AC Milan. The world’s most winning soccer team uses biofeedback

  13. college degree types - Jan 18, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    I live in Bangalore. I want to have a college degree in arts but my father wants to send me to study medicine. How can I explain to him that funds and respect is not everything. Or at least, that you can earn it in other ways.

  14. college degree statistics - Jan 18, 2010 at 3:53 PM

    I live in Chennai. I want to have a college degree in arts but my father wants to send me to study medicine. How can I explain to him that money and respect is not everything. Or at least, that you can earn it in other ways.

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