The Secret to Adam Ottavino’s Calm: A Little Black Notebook

“Writing it down matters for me,” he said. “It’s like a reinforcement.”

CreditJames Wagner/The New York Times

Ottavino does this exercise daily, using two pages of the notebook. On the right side, Ottavino details everything he did to care for his body and arm that day, from physical therapy to acupuncture, to keep his routine consistent. And if he pitches, he updates how much he threw and what he did after the game.

The left side of the journal is key for Ottavino, because it is where he works to maintain the mind-set he has worked diligently to achieve. At the bottom of the page, he writes down physical cues, such as “have a short circle,” a reminder to combat the tendency of his arm’s path to get too long, or “quiet body, fast hand,” to help simplify his delivery.

At the top of the left page, however, Ottavino applies all the mental training he has learned in his 14 years of professional baseball. He usually writes this part during the early stages of a game so it will still be fresh if he is called upon in the later innings.

“It’s always important every day to remind myself of the thoughts I want to…

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