Overcoming Baseball’s Mental Hurdles
Mequon, Wis. — Joy. Inspiration.
It’s the pair of emotions that describes what has kept Griffin Doersching living and breathing baseball.
The Chinooks’ leader in the home run ball has proven himself again in 2021, but the first baseman hasn’t had the easiest road to success.
He started his collegiate career hitting 1-for-47 at the plate after not even seeing offers from a Power Five school.
It was an uphill battle for the Greendale, Wisconsin native to endure, though he received all the support he needed while delving into his journey at Northern Kentucky.
“There were a lot of times where I was struggling with this game, and it is a mentally taxing game,” Doersching said. “My parents and my younger brother especially, they were always there to make sure they held me down.”
Yet, Northern Kentucky’s all-time single-season home run record holder knew that only swinging the bat more wouldn’t transform his game. The mental framework needed to be tapped into to reach the next level.
“Honestly, the transformation for me kind of started last year when the season got shut down,” Doersching said. “Because it’s like your junior year, that’s when everyone is like ‘Okay, it’s time for the draft,’ and I didn’t have a season where I thought I would be good enough to get drafted.”
Doersching’s willingness to change drew the support from an important resource — one that would provide him with the mental push he needed.
“I just gave them an introduction to mindfulness training, and kind of what I believe it to be and the importance of it,” Northern Kentucky’s Peak Performance coach Steve Dintaman said. “We wrapped it up and that was it, and then I had a couple of nice messages from some guys, one that said it was from Griff. It was basically like, ‘This is what we have been missing as a team, what we are needing, you have my full support, I believe what you are teaching, and what you are talking about. I am all in.’”
And Doersching’s learned resourcefulness has provided him a home with a Northwoods League team — the Lakeshore Chinooks — that’s been as loyal as a 22-year-old aspiring professional ball player could imagine.
A chunk of that loyalty comes from fans who remind him of who he once was as a youngster.
“It makes me exceedingly proud; it really does,” Doersching’s mother, Jessi, said of his accomplishments and their influence on younger spectators. “I always tell him, I said, ‘These little kids, they look up to you.’ And I said, ‘You better be good to them because you were once that little kid.’”
With a recharged mindset and a heap of invaluable support, a loftier opportunity awaits the former College Home Run Derby titlist at Oklahoma State.
And Doersching, not at all nervous, stands primed to dominate.
“They have a brand-new field, they got brand-new facilities, they were top 25 in the country, it’s just somewhere where I feel like I can develop and get better as a player, with some unbelievable coaches,” Doersching said.
While Doersching may not know the specific point of when he will hear his name called in next year’s MLB Draft, he stays the course and keeps to helping the Cowboys reach new heights.
“We gave him the tools, so he had the knowledge, he took the action to get better and the results are the results,” Dintaman said. “He’s performing at a very high level right now in a very competitive league and the future is very bright for Griffin Doersching.”