Tips on How to Tame Your Temper

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It was May 27, 2009 –the 7th inning of a game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ace Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano became angry at umpire Mark Carlson over a call of safe on home plate. After a short argument, Zambrano threw a ball into left field, tossed down his glove and then smashed a Gatorade cooler in the dugout with a baseball bat.

All of us feel angry sometimes. In fact, anger is part of being a human being. Angry feelings can happen at any time, whether at home, at school – or while playing sports. During a baseball game, it may be due to frustration at your own performance or that of other players. Or it may a result of annoyance with an umpire’s call, or even disappointment over losing a game. But while anger itself is normal and not so important, what you do when you feel angry is important. After his angry outburst, Zambrano was ejected from the game. He was suspended for six more games
and fined $3,000 by Major League Baseball. He lost self respect and the respect of others. And he let his team down.

Allowing your anger to control you during a game will always work against you. At the very least, it will cause you to lose your concentration and forget what’s going on in the game. At the worst, it will get you into trouble.

How do you tame your temper so that it doesn’t get the best of you during a game? Here are some steps for staying in control:

• Self awareness: Learn to recognize when you’re feeling angry. Usually your body will give you some clues: your face may get red and hot, your breathing becomes faster, and your muscles might tense up. Perhaps you feel like hitting someone or breaking something. When you become angry, tell yourself that it’s okay to have these feelings. Remind yourself that you can stay in control. Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself down.

• Plan ahead: You can prepare yourself for dealing with situations that may cause anger by reminding yourself that you have the ability to make good choices and to think before you act. If you have trouble dealing with losing a game, tell yourself that you will try your hardest to win but that you are prepared to handle a loss, too. And if you mess up, you will strive to do better next time.

• Refocus: If you are having trouble getting under control, try to replace your angry thoughts with better thoughts. If you disagree with an umpire’s call, tell yourself that you don’t want to lose your focus by dwelling on your anger. You will have a chance after the game to ask your coach to explain it to you. If you just struck out, think about how your performance will improve next time you’re up to bat.

• Talk to someone: If something happened during the game that made you angry, talk it over with your coach or parent. It may give you a new perspective about things.

• Reward yourself: If you were able to keep your anger in check, pat yourself on the back. Remember that anger is normal, but how you act when you’re angry can make things better or worse. Anger doesn’t have to be the boss of you!

Yoga For Stress Relief

Have you ever considered taking yoga to help you with your sport? These days, more and more athletes are incorporating yoga into their training. In fact, some pro teams, like NFL’s Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants and Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs use yoga teachers as a regular part of training.

Yoga involves both physical exercise and breathing exercises. It helps to improve your flexibility, strength, and coordination. It also helps to increase concentration. An added benefit is that when you do yoga, you’re forced to slow down, hold certain physical postures, and breathe in a particular way. This helps you to relax and get control of the stress in your life. Yoga can help you to calm down when stressful situations occur.

Many towns have yoga classes for both adults and kids. Ask your mom or dad to help you find a class that works for you. You’ll be surprised how challenging – and helpful – it can be for improving your performance, both physical and mental.

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