The biathlon has always struck me as something of a peculiar combination of skills. Cross country skiing with intervals of target shooting throughout. While the mind boggles at the image of a Nordic army of skiing snipers shredding their way into battle, it’s a pretty specialized pairing of skills. But the whole crux of the sport, is the ability to control one’s mind and breathing after serious exertion, and still shoot with precision despite an amped heart rate. That ability is crucial for all high-stress performance. The question is how would you train to develop it in a baseball context?
The reason I have that question in mind, is a recently released short film featuring Ian Kinsler and Daniel Norris on a camping trip with former Navy SEAL Stephen Holler. Former Tiger Bryan Holaday is also featured. The film documents Holler’s attempts to illustrate a bit of how American Special Operations forces train to simulate the stress of combat, and conversations about incorporating those methods into the mental approach and training baseball players already use. It was produced by One Fast Buffalo for Kinsler’s Warstic baseball bat company.
Kinsler really stands out as having his mind woke by Holler’s concepts. It’ll be interesting to see if he does burpees or sprints between BP sessions or something this year, to recreate a stress environment in practice. You also get a pretty good sense of Kinsler’s mindset as a player and leadership philosophy. Norris talks about learning to relax and pitch loose. Plus you get to see Norris, Holaday and Kinsler shooting some pretty sweet sniper rifles. It’s about 11 minutes long, and it’s friggin’ awesome.