The Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) cohort finished our second on-site session on Sunday. This one was five days in DC at the Gallup Institute and included the Positve Psychology Summit. Great experience. After the summit ended, we had a final session, and in part of that, Dr. Seligman reviewed optimism. During that talk, he mentioned that the research his team had done on optimism and sports had shown an important effect. (See my book note on Learned Optimism, Chapter 9: Sports). What wasn't in the book, however, is that the optimism of the coach goes a long way to explaining the total effect. Then Monday's Atlanta Journal Constitution had a article on Bobby Cox and the job he's done in a season where 30% of the Braves at-bats have been by rookies. Good article. Here's a small segment:
''He's a positive guy'
When they made it to the major leagues, when they realized a fantasy that was born their first day of T-ball, these players suddenly met up with a manager who was more rah-rah than any youth coach they ever encountered. When the game is on, Cox takes up his corner roost in the dugout and lets loose nine innings of constant chatter. It is a tack Cox will adopt even through the pressures of the postseason.
"What they hear from him is constant support, constant affirmation, constant compliments, because that's his style," general manager John Schuerholz said. "He's a positive guy. Even in the midst of difficulties, he's a positive guy."
Said the free-swinging Francoeur, who looked for a while as if he were going to go an entire career without ever drawing a walk, "He might think, What the heck did that guy just swing at? But he's not going to say it to you when you come back. I'm sure he's thinking it."