Baseball Cats Focused on Remaining in the 'Present'

Baseball Cats Focused on Remaining in the 'Present'

by Tim Letcher

Kentucky head coach Nick Mingione and his staff provide the Cats with a different phrase every day. These phrases can be motivational, inspirational or informative.

One phrase that Mingione and his staff have used this season is somewhat the basis for the mindset of the 2024 team. He touched on it on Wednesday at his press conference.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow’s a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present,” Mingione said. “Especially in the day and age today of social media, this is harder than ever because, a lot of times, everything you say and do is regurgitated over and over and things gain traction. And these guys are on social media. So, when that happens, it can just keep being brought up and put in your face over and over again.”

That particular quote has stuck with the Cats this season.

“I just feel like our job, as coaches, is to equip them. We’re teachers,” Mingione said. “One way we do it is with a quote and that was one of our quotes. Coach Ammirati does an awesome job of finding quotes and we get together each day and try to get them in the right state of mind mentally. That is one that has stuck for us and we constantly remind them that the game of baseball is hard, life can be hard but at the same time, our ability to move on as fast as possible is so important. Just to focus on the task at hand and to move on to the next thing and this team has definitely embraced that.”

Mingione learned from a professional that living in the present is the best thing when it comes to a proper mentality.

“From the mental side, I had a sports psychologist teach me something that really resonated with me,” Mingione said. “He said that people who struggle from depression, they live in the past a lot. Sometimes people who struggle from anxiety live in the future too much because they are worried about what will happen next. I think, if we’re all being honest, we’ve all been there at some point in our life.”

The mindset to live in the present is something that the Cats have lived by all season. Many times this season, Mingione and the players have mentioned that a particular day’s result expires at midnight. Win or lose, the Cats must move on to the next day and focus on the task in front of them.

“Our ability to, we joke about it expiring at midnight, but it’s not really a joke to be honest,” said UK shortstop Grant Smith. “As soon as the clock hits midnight, we’re focused on what it takes to win. We’re not so concerned about the end result of winning and Coach Minge does a really good job of providing the things that we do to win and not just talk about winning. I think that’s a big difference.”

Kentucky’s ability to “flush” the previous day’s result has worked for them all season. The Cats will take that same approach into this weekend’s super regional matchup with Oregon State.

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