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HARRIS: Ryan Mattheus latest to learn hard lesson about anger management
To show it isn’t just Yankees, the Mets’ Jason Isringhausen once broke a wrist punching a trash can while on a rehab assignment and missed three more months.
Let’s not forget Bryce Harper, whose bat hit him in the face after he slammed it against a wall soon after his 2012 call-up. Like Burnett, he got lucky it wasn’t much worse.
Mocking the folks who do this is easy and usually deserved. But amid the laughing, it is important to keep in mind that elite athletes are wired differently physically and mentally. The best ones, though, learned to keep the emotions in check. In short, they don’t punch walls or anything else. Mattheus, if he is able to return, needs to find a better way to manage the anger because if he thinks Sunday is the last time he gets lit up, he’s sadly mistaken.
“There’s two things going on,” said Robert Price, a sports psychologist and owner of Elite Minds in North Potomac. “This shows how much success means to him. He really wants to be successful, not just personally for the team. He did not have an appropriate tool … to get out, if you will, the anger and the disappointment.”
Price said the best of the best handle failure because they’re prepared for its possibility. Michael Jordan missed key shots, Tiger Woods has missed key putts. The best pitchers will give up runs, the best hitters will strike out when the game is on the line.
“We talk about failure because it is going to happen,” Price said. “The key is to know it will happen and then to know what to do once it happens. Over time, you work on what to do when you get angry, what are my go-tos? How am I going to release this energy in a way that is effective?”
Using a hand on a locker is not effective. Hopefully, for Mattheus‘ sake, that’s a mistake he won’t make again. He will give up more runs. He can’t punch any more lockers.
• Brett Williams contributed to this report.
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About the Author
Washington Times sports editor Mike Harris has more than 30 years experience in the business as a reporter, columnist and manager. He’s covered a wide variety of events including two Olympics, horse racing, auto racing, professional and college sports. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow the section on Twitter @WashTimesSports.
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