Photo courtesy Pacific Lutheran University
Don’t think, just hit.
Hitting a baseball is never that simple, but Anchorage’s Tyler Thompson is making it look easy.
The junior third baseman at Pacific Lutheran University is batting .317 in 26 games and ranks among the Northwest Conference leaders in extra-base hits and RBIs.
“It’s cool that everything is clicking this year,” he told me.
Compared to last year he added 106 points to his batting average and increased his slugging 63 percent. He has twice as many doubles and surpassed totals for hits, runs and RBIs.
Thompson is like a different player this year – so much so he should win newcomer of the year instead of comeback player.
He credits a short memory for his success. He doesn’t dwell on the good or the bad, choosing instead to focus on the present to combat complacency.
“I learned to relax, I guess,” he said. “This year I kind of just let myself go. I just go up there and hit. I’m not thinking too much. I’m not putting pressure on myself. I’m just playing my game.”
Thompson, of Dimond High fame, is a big reason PLU has won 20 of 28 games and has been nationally ranked among NCAA D3 teams. The Lutes are currently listed in the category of also receiving votes.
“It’s been an awesome year so far,” he said. “It’s coming down to the wire. It’ll be a fun time.”
Adding to the excitement is that PLU features another Alaskan in pitcher Garrett Brown of Anchorage. Brown, like Thompson, is having a career year with a 3-1 record and 3.72 ERA over nine appearances, six starts.
Thompson leads PLU with 23 RBIs and is tied for the lead in home runs  and doubles . He is slugging .505.
He credits his success to a more refined mental approach, using tools as easy as positive re-enforcement, visualizing success and not overthinking.
He doesn’t dwell on failure or obsess on success.
“I want to have that what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mindset,” Thompson said.
Van Williams is a freelance writer in Anchorage and a correspondent for the Alaska School Activities Association.