PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Major League Baseball teams have all sorts of coaches that deal with the physical aspects of the game, but the Phillies also have specialists to deal with the mental side of things. Meet the duo that helps the players stay in the right frame of mind on and off the field.
In the movie “Bull Durham,” manager Joe Riggins tells his team that baseball is a simple game – you throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball.READ MORE: 2 Dead, 1 Injured Following Shooting Outside Wawa In Upper Macungie Township; Suspect Dies Of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound
The Phillies understand there’s much more to it and have added two key members of their staff to prove it.
“We’re all human so every single one of us is performing whether we realize it every day,” Phillies Director of Mental Performance Ceci Craft said.
And for MLB players, it’s all about performing at the highest level. But who helps the players deal with the mental grind of a sport that is replete with failure?
Craft and Hannah Huesman are the Phillies’ mental performance coaches.
“We haven’t played professional baseball, but we get to bring in other expertise in other areas and hope to impact their expertise,” Huesman said.
“I think we’ve really been lucky to be with an organization that values mental performance. And I think that’s shown by the interest across all levels,” Craft said.READ MORE: New Mugshot Released As Derek Chauvin Is Booked Into Maximum Security Prison
Craft, who leads the department, was a cognitive coach at Fort Bragg for eight years, working with special ops soldiers and Green Berets.
“One similarity I do think soldiers and baseball players have is they’re expected to put work first. And that’s very difficult and it’s a level of sacrifice and expectation of performance that is unique,” Craft said.
Among the biggest mental hurdles facing today’s players is the impact of social media.
“I can’t imagine, in my line of work, getting such dramatic feedback daily. It’s a unique situation to have people want to comment on your work so passionately at such an age,” Craft said.
“We talked about deleting apps, we’ve talked about limited screen times,” Huesman said. “We can’t necessarily control what’s being said to us, but we can control how much we let it affect us.”
Both women are also doing their part to break the glass ceiling in baseball as high-level support staff in a male-dominated field.
“Race, gender, creed is not how you’re making decisions and I hope that’s why Hannah and I are in the positions we are, is that we will support the club and give the team the best chance to win,” Craft said.MORE NEWS: FDA Completes Inspection Of J&J Vaccine Maker Emergent BioSolutions, Cites Concerns Over Cross-Contamination, Sanitation
Joe Girardi believes it. It’s why you’ll often see Craft in the dugout with Girardi or with the players, just like the hitting coach or pitching coach.