Pre-Game 4 Pep Talk to the Washington Nationals

I’m not a coach. I’ve never been on a team. In fact, as a kid I didn’t play sports, unless cheerleading and ballet count. But if I were coaching a team, like say, the Washington Nationals who need to win tonight’s Game 4 against the Chicago Cubs or else their post-season is over, I know what I’d say.

Mere Desire is Not Enough.

You have the talent. You have the skills. Do you have the vision?

Back in 1993, the NCAA Final Four was held in the New Orleans Superdome. UNC won the National Championship in that building 11 years early. Before the season started, legendary coach Dean Smith had a picture placed in the locker of each player with a image of the Superdome announcing UNC as the 1993 National Champs. He had a graphic artist replace the year – 1982 National Champions (the original image) became 1993 National Champions. Every day the players looked at this photograph. Every day they saw a prediction of the future, that eventually became the present. Of course that year, 1993, UNC won.

Dean Smith knew the power of visualization. Countless other coaches have inspired their team with the same.

Now Nationals, we are at the 11th hour. We don’t have the luxury of time to slowly, subconsciously convince our brains that what could be, is so believable and so achievable, that it becomes what is. We have today. But you already possess all the tools you need.

You have the talent. You are physically capable of doing the work. Now we need you to get your head in the game. No – I don’t mean get ready to play. You are ready. We have worked hard all year to get here. What I want you to do is see the future. See the Nationals moving on in the Series, which means we need to win the next two games against the defending World Series Champions.

For the next 40 minutes turn off your phone. Turn off your music. Find a place that’s quiet. Go somewhere alone. Sit or lie down. Close your eyes. And visualize yourself getting on base. Visualize yourself running home. And if your name is Harper, Zimmerman, or Rendon, visualize yourself hitting a home run – might at well make it a Grand Slam. See it. Watch it happen. Over and over again. Feel yourself breathless from running the bases. Feel the adrenalin pumping through your veins. Feel yourself overcome with emotion. Feel yourself exuberant because you lived to play another day.

Feel your future to seal your fate. 

We need your body tonight. We need your mind. We also need your Spirit.

Come on Nats. Believe it and you will see it!