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Power of positive thinking has Dodgers’ Mookie Betts thriving again – Daily News



PHILADELPHIA – Mookie Betts has heard a lot of good books lately.

Betts says the “mental side of it” has been key to him breaking out of a sluggish start this season. He was hitting .178 after 12 games but has hit .314 (33 for 105) in 26 games since then including 14 for 38 (.368) with six doubles, four home runs and 12 runs scored in nine games before Sunday.

As much as he might have searched for answers in his swing mechanics during the first two weeks of the season, it was the power of positive thinking and perspective that turned him around, Betts has said.

“I think just the mental side of it has been the biggest difference. Just being more positive,” Betts said. “Looking for the next opportunity instead of dwelling on the last one. And just trying to enjoy each and every day. That’s pretty much it.”

Listening to books on tape (and talking with people away from the team) got him to that realization, he said.

“I listen to books, mental books and all those type of things,” he said. “I know it sounds kind of corny, but it actually really does work. Instead of listening to music, I listen to books and those type of things and I never would’ve thought I would say that. But here we are.

“Just mental health books. Not anything to make you ready to run through a wall. But just perspective. Putting things into perspective. It helps a lot.”

Betts doesn’t remember what prompted him to seek out the audio books – “somebody had to have recommended it, I didn’t just pick up a book” – but the change in attitude has allowed “me to smile and all those types of things a lot more.”

That smile was less frequent during the 2021 season as Betts played through injury and put up sub-standard numbers. Betts rejects his physical challenges as “an excuse” for last year – “I just didn’t play well.”

“I also wasn’t in the same mental space,” he said. “A lot of things have changed since last year. I don’t really wanna go back there. But it was definitely a great learning experience.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he has seen the difference. The 2020 version of Betts was “alive and energetic and jovial.” Hurting in 2021, “there was only spurts of it,” Roberts said.

“It’s hard to have fun when you don’t feel well,” he said.

Betts is healthy and having fun again now, Roberts said.

“I think guys start getting into this mode of ‘It’s work,’ and I think Mookie is his best when he’s making work fun and he’s playing a game and not going to work every day,” Roberts said. “I think that mindset takes a little bit of the extra anxiety or pressure or stress. I believe that and it’s certainly manifested in his performance.

“When you’re not healthy as an athlete and you’re trying to find a way to stay on the field, it takes the fun out of it. So when you’re healthy like Mookie is right now, you can get back to having fun.”



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