I use many strategies to optimize my mind for peak performance on the baseball field. The most important strategy for me that I use is visualization. I like to visualize being successful on the field over and over and over. I believe that success starts in the mind and visualizing succeeding is the best way to help you do the action of succeeding. I visualize things like hitting a home run, throwing a base runner out, and just simple things like catching a fly-ball.
As a part of our series about “How Athletes Optimize Their Mind & Body For Peak Performance”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brandon Rembert.
Brandon Rembert is a Division 1 baseball player and 2021 MLB Draft Prospect at Alcorn State University. He has garnered numerous accolades throughout his career being named a 2020 Pre-Season All-Southwestern Athletic Conference 1st team selection, Perfect Game Preseason All-Conference selection, Preseason All-HBCU 2nd team selection, a SWAC Top Player to Watch by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, and was recognized as a Player to Watch for the MLB Draft by Black College Nines. He just recently graduated from Alcorn State University in the spring of 2020 and will now be pursuing his masters this fall there while playing his last year of collegiate baseball. Rembert is a well accomplished athlete with a great resume. His experience and success at the Division 1 level make him a great candidate to be interviewed for the topic that we are discussing today.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in a pretty middle class household. I always had a roof over my head and clothes on my back and that is all I could wish for growing. I grew up being the second oldest of 7 children, so was there was really never a dull moment in my house. My parents instilled in me a great work ethic since a young age which has made me the person I am today.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career as a high level professional athlete? We’d love to hear the story.
I am currently not a professional athlete at the moment being a Division 1 college athlete, but I desire to turn pro very soon. I want to become a professional baseball player here in the near future. I was always inspired to become a professional baseball player since a young age. When playing baseball games on the video game system when I was younger, I would always think to myself and imagine myself being in that video game. I’ve just always had a strong desire to become a professional player. As a kid, it is always been my dream to become a Major Leaguer and play on television and to play at all the nice baseball stadiums. Being this close to achieving my dream as a pro baseball player makes me want to work even harder to turn my dreams into a reality.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
Honestly, there are many people that have contributed to my success. My parents, friends, coaches, teachers, mentors and many others have all paved the path that set me up for all of my success. But, if I had to choose one particular person that has impacted me the most in my journey I would have to say my grandfather. My grandfather was always there for me if I needed anything. I could always talk baseball with him and he would always give me great advice about anything and everything. He would take me to all of my practices and wouldn’t miss a game of mine. He just had a huge impact on every aspect of my life. I would give him credit in contributing a big part in my success.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your sports career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
The funniest incident that I remember happening was when I was 9 years old. I remember I was playing the outfield in a night baseball game. Someone was up to bat and they hit a ball in the air in the area I was playing in. I saw the ball go up in the air, but I did not know where it went after that. I was freaking out and couldn’t find the ball. A couple seconds later it landed about 30 feet behind where I was standing. I was so embarrassed, but that is the day I found out that I needed to wear glasses. Having glasses boosted my vision and elevated my game. So I guess I have this situation to thank for that.
What advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your career?
The advice I would personally give to a young person is that you have to work hard to be great. You cannot just wake up and be great at something. You have to work really hard consistently to put yourself in the best position to succeed at anything you do. I can assure you that every successful person or professional athlete has a pretty good work ethic. I always stress the idea of hard work and being consistent. It has gotten me this far and I strongly believe that a consistent work ethic will help me reach more success in the future.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
Honestly right now I am not currently working on any projects. I was just admitted into graduate school, so I just finished some summer classes. I have been mainly focusing a lot of my attention on that. I have also been just focusing on getting stronger in the weight room and improving my baseball skill set during this pandemic. There may be some interesting projects in the making for the future though.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. As an athlete, you often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high stress situations?
I use many strategies to optimize my mind for peak performance on the baseball field. The most important strategy for me that I use is visualization. I like to visualize being successful on the field over and over and over. I believe that success starts in the mind and visualizing succeeding is the best way to help you do the action of succeeding. I visualize things like hitting a home run, throwing a base runner out, and just simple things like catching a fly-ball. Another strategy I like to use is self-talk. I believe that I can be my best motivator. I constantly speak positive things to myself or say little cues to myself. I may say things like, “you got it” or say to myself “focus”. I think self-talk gives me that little edge that I need. The last strategy that I use is preparation. I think preparation is one of the most import factors in being able to perform under high pressure. Being prepared helps to sort of ease my mind when I am put in these high stress situations. Knowing that I am prepared for the situation gives me a sort of confidence to know that I can be successful in these situations. The best way to be prepared is to practice, practice, and practice. Keep practicing until you feel like you have mastered what you are trying to master in the future.
Do you use any special or particular breathing techniques to help optimize yourself?
My breathing techniques are quite simple. I just like to take deep breathes when my heart rate tends to get high. When I go up to the plate to hit, my heart rate tends to increase. I like to take about 3–4 deep breathes in to slow my heart rate down. Even when I am in the field my heart rate may increase at times. I just take some deep breathes when my heart rate goes up when I am fielding as well. I know many baseball players like to play at a low heart rate. It helps them focus better and keep a clear conscious. It also helps them to be mentally present and in the moment. Just taking a few deep breathes can help slow down the heart rate.
Do you have a special technique to develop a strong focus, and clear away distractions?
I like to visualize myself a lot in certain scenarios. It just helps me sort of lock in. Before a game, I will sit on the bus, put my headphones, and relax my mind and visualize myself being successful during the game. It has definitely helped me in my success.
How about your body? Can you share a few strategies that you use to optimize your body for peak performance?
I think the best way to optimize my body for peak performance is getting the right amount of sleep. I think getting the right amount of sleep is pivotal in being able to perform at your best. Sleep helps recover your body and it increases your focus levels. Another thing that I do is train. I like to weight train at least 4 times a week. I usually work out my upper body twice a week and my lower body twice a week. I also do skill training. I work on my hitting, fielding, and throwing as well at least 5–7 days a week. Doing these things puts me in the best position to succeed.
These ideas are excellent, but for most of us in order for them to become integrated into our lives and really put them to use, we have to turn them into habits and make them become ‘second nature’. Has this been true in your life? How have habits played a role in your success?
Habits have played a tremendous role in my success. I think success stems from creating good habits. Not only should you create good habits, but one should consistently perform these good habits. One habit that I have is going to the gym. The strength and function of my body has played a great role in my success on the field. Just that one habit alone has helped me, so just imagine creating and following many more good habits.
Can you share some of the strategies you have used to turn the ideas above into habits? What is the best way to develop great habits for optimal performance? How can one stop bad habits?
The best way to develop and turn ideas into habits is to be consistent. Being consistent is a great way to form habits. You have to hold yourself accountable. Let’s say that one wanted to create the habit of making their bed before leaving the house in the morning. They can’t just do it on Monday and Wednesday and expect it to become a habit. They have to do it every day. Once they consistently do it every day it slowly starts to become a habit. One can stop bad habits the same way but reverse. Let’s say someone has a bad habit of eating sweets every day. Instead of eating sweets every day, they can decrease to 5 days a week. They then can decrease to 3 days a week, then 1 day a week. Next thing you know they are eating sweets only once every 2 weeks. Just like creating good habits, consistency is key in stopping bad habits as well.
As a high performance athlete, you likely experience times when things are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a mind state of Flow more often in our lives?
To achieve the state of Flow, I think one should do something that challenges them. One should push themselves to achieve a challenging task. I think the task should be in a field of something they are interested in. For example, I like to weight lift all of the time. I achieve a state of flow by setting a personal record that I did not think I could set or performing a certain amount of reps of an exercise that I didn’t think that I can do. I think that achieving Flow will come when you surprise yourself on what you can actually do and what you thought you could not do. Constantly pushing limits in your niche can help one reach the state of Flow.
Do you have any meditation practices that you use to help you in your life? We’d love to hear about it.
I practice the religion Christianity, so my meditation technique would be prayer and reading the Bible. Praying and reading the Bible just gives me a sense of being at ease and puts my mind in the right place. I also like to use my breathing techniques of taking deep breathes as mentioned before. I think that is about it for the meditation techniques that I practice.
Many of us are limited by our self-talk, or by negative mind chatter, such as regrets, and feelings of inferiority. Do you have any suggestions about how to “change the channel” of our thoughts? What is the best way to change our thoughts?
The best way to change your thoughts is to take them captive. By taking your thoughts captive, I mean learning to be in your control of your own thoughts. To control your thoughts you have to be fully aware of what kind of thoughts in your mind. Once you are aware of what you are thinking, start to wean out the bad thoughts and tune in the positive thoughts. This may take some practice and effort, but once mastered you will reap the benefits of having a positive mentality. I believe that a lot of things begin with and are affected by our thoughts, so it’s best to always have positive thoughts playing in your head. One of the things I like to do is to constantly say something positive about myself to myself every day.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are by all accounts a very successful person. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I try to use my platform to motivate other people. I’ve always been kind of an underdog in my life. People have told me that “you’re too short” or “you don’t have the size”. I believe that the size of the heart of a person means more than the size of the person. I just want to motivate people that are of a smaller stature that size doesn’t matter and you can be successful no matter who you are. I always try to be a spokesperson for the people that feel like they are underdogs or feel like they aren’t enough.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
One of my favorite life lesson quotes is “be the best you that you can be every day”. I do not remember who I heard it from, but when I heard that quote it kind of stuck with me. I am big believer in maximization. I like to make the most of everything given to me. Our time on this is Earth is short and I believe that it is our duty to make the most out of every day. You owe it to yourself to be the best you that you can be day in and day out.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
I think that I would like to have breakfast or lunch with Los Angeles Angel’s outfielder Mike Trout. For those of you who don’t know who Mike Trout is, he is considered the best player in Major League Baseball. I just want to pick his brain and want to ask him how he consistently performs at a high level every year. I want to know how and what steps he took to become the best player in the MLB. I just think it would be very cool to have a nice chat with Mike Trout. It would be such a great experience and I feel like I would learn so much from him.