Diamondbacks slugger Christian Walker turns to meditation to fight slowest career start – The Athletic

Hours before each game, Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker can be found lying on his back in the outfield. There, skin alternately cooled by grass and warmed by the sun, he will close his eyes and listen to a soothing voice speak through his headphones.

There is nowhere to be. You have nothing to do. Be right in the moment.

That voice marks the start of a new pre-game ritual Walker has chosen this year, which has been the toughest year of his career so far. Entering Sunday, Walker only hits 0.208 with an OPS of 0.569. He’s only played 30 of the squad’s 65 games thanks to oblique tension that resulted in a few stints on the injured roster, no doubt affecting his ability to get into the rhythm. It’s a stretch that would test even the strongest minds.

The 30-year-old Walker has little willpower, but he has struggled since his 2019 season with how to handle the ups and downs of the game. So far 2021 has only offered lows. , which prompted Walker to dig deeper into how to deal with the mental side of the game. That’s what led him to the grass of the outfield every day, hours before the first pitch. For about 20 minutes, he does what he can best describe as guided meditation.

“You focus on your breathing, you try to stay in tune, you let thoughts come in, you bring them up, you let them go and you catch your breath,” Walker said. “The idea being: just stay in the moment, which is right in front of you right now. That’s all you can control, that’s all that matters.

Walker uses the Calm app, which offers 10-minute mediation sessions. He does two before batting practice, with a bit of stretching in between.

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