Pete Alonso and the Mets take a deep breath and win games

Last season, the Mets were in first place in their division four months before the break-up. They finished a 77-85 record, their tenth losing season in the last 15. One of the biggest culprits: a crime that was one of the worst in the Major League Baseball. Only three teams scored fewer runs and these teams averaged almost 100 losses.

The Mets look completely different this year. They have the best record in the National League. They trailed only the Yankees with victories, while the Yankees and Dodgers with one-run runs per game until Thursday. Their attack is more disciplined and patient, they lead the baseball base in percentage points per season after taking 17th place in this crucial statistic.

The reasons for the shift are many: the addition of new strikers who are experienced strikers (Mark Cana, Starling Marte and Eduardo Escobar), players with improved games over the years (Jeff McNeill and Francisco Lindor) and new coaches (Eric Chavez and Jeremy). Barnes). However, it should not be reduced to taking many deep breaths and talking a little about yourself.

Watch how Metz beats and you will see that their four best strikers – Brandon Nimo, Pete Alonso, Kanha and McNeil – often come out of the dough box not only to put on gloves or look for coach marks, but also to fill their lungs with air, soothe themselves and relax.

“It’s not unique to the Mets – Boston’s Rafael Devers, one of baseball’s top scorers, does it – and it sounds simple, but ‘it makes a big difference,'” said Nimo, 29, of Outfield. “There’s a reason Pete does it, that Jeff does it, that I do.”

“Of course it helped,” added Alonso, First Base. “If you look at not just us, but other guys, like all athletes, they have their own way of making a similar harness happen.”

During the 162-game regular season marathon, even veteran players will have a hard time controlling their emotions. A relatively healthy and capable player will accumulate more than 600 plates a year, and the appearance of each plate is about four squares. Imagine that at least 2,400 pitches were your maximum mental focus, many of them approaching you at speeds of over 90 miles per hour and running in all directions, some even online in the game.

“In any situation – in any big situation – I would be lying if I said my heart was not beating fast,” Nimo said. You have this feeling of anxiety that overwhelms you. And the way to fight it is to try and take a little breath, take a deep breath and actually slow down your heart rate. ”

But it’s not just a fight against nerves, said Kanham, an outfield. From the start of spring training to the end of the World Series is nine months of almost daily play. Kanha said a deliberate pause in breathing during the strike forces him to regroup.

“It’s very easy, on a daily basis, to just lose focus because it’s so repetitive and monotonous that you need something to call it,” he continued. “Otherwise, there is a time during the season when you go in vain and it is almost like a routine and you are not really focused on what you are doing. So this is kind of a way for me to just stay focused and focused. ”

Alonso, 27, said since high school he has always breathed deeply and exhaled slowly during beatings. He said mental skills coaches helped him refine that approach.

“I’m thinking about my plan in a deck circle, visually guessing where I want to watch baseball,” said Alonso, who had a strong 2021 season but continues to do so this year (20 home mileage, RBI 66, 913 base plus slug percentage as of Thursday). “But when I stand there, I mostly have difficulty breathing and my mind is off. It’s best when I feel numb in the box and trust what I see and get out of there. ”

Kanha, 33, said that although he had read books on breathing techniques (“this item is a bit of a joke”), he developed his own method throughout his career.

“I’m sure I always breathe,” he said. “It is only important to breathe and hear breathing.”

When Nimo first reached the top leagues in 2016, he said that Will Lenzner, the then Mets mental skills coach, helped him understand more about the mental side of baseball and how it helped him gain a top level advantage. Sport.

Nimo said Lenzner helped him get the visualization (the act of imagining success) and breathing techniques. During the goose, Nimo comes out of the box, takes a deep breath, and then says to himself, “Here’s what I want to do: I want to draw a line in the middle.” He said this allowed him to reset after each pitch rather than giving his mind a moment.

“Slowing your heart rate allows you to think a little more clearly,” said Nimo, who has a career-high 0.388 percent, including a .361 mark this season, during which he suffered several injuries. “When your adrenaline rushes and you get into a worried ‘fight or run’ state, it shuts down the part of your brain that thinks critically.

After the fall of the 2021 season, in which he hit 0.251 with .679 OPS, the 30-year-old McLean is enjoying a revival. Among the more who have made at least 200 plates this season, he leads them by an average of 327 by Thursday. His .850 OPS was second only to Alonso.

However, nothing more can calmly force the opposing pitcher to work harder than Kanham. Entering Wednesday, he saw 4.23 pitches per plate, the highest mark on the team and one of the best in baseball. His average score of 0.286 hits and a .378 base percentage was second only to McNeill.

Kanha led the attack, hitting MLB’s best. When on a plate, Kanha simply does not breathe; He talks to himself.

“This is because my sticks have a rhythm and so that I do not forget or lose my approach,” he said. “It ‘s kind of like a mantra. It is not the same every time. It’s like, “This is what you try to do and follow the plan.”

If he was looking for a quick ball down and far away, Kanham said he reminded himself of it out loud. Asked if the opposing team could hear him or read his lips, he replied: “They still do not know where the ball is going.”

Whether it is with the help of new oxygen or talking to themselves, the Mets know where their offense is going this season. They hope this will help them in their first playoffs since 2016 and possibly their first World Cup title since 1986.

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