Think Like a Pro

How to achieve a Major League Mindset.


Ever wonder how you can learn to better manage the stress of everyday life? The answer may surprise you: think like a baseball player. To succeed in Major League Baseball (MLB), players must cultivate a mindset that enables them to calm their nerves and focus in front of 50,000+ fans, handle 95-mile per hour fastballs, and remain positive when it’s normal to fail at least 70 percent of the time—over and over again—for a grueling 162 games per season. 

What that means to the average person is that MLB athletes can teach us a lot about handling stress. 

Enter Brandon Guyer. 

A Hall of Fame UVA Cavalier and retired World Series outfielder, Guyer credits his mental strength strategies as key to lasting seven years in the Big Leagues. Passionate to help others succeed in the game he loves but knows to be ruthless, he put down his glove in 2020 to start Major League Mindset—MLM—a business focused on helping athletes unlock their true potential using mindfulness. Specifically, it’s a mental skills training program that triggers confidence for individuals in intense situations.

Photo by Kyle LaFerriere

Brandon Guyer

Guyer’s new career took off, and he now teaches his techniques at all league levels—from regular Zoom calls with little leaguers and high school ballers hoping to play in college, to being the Mental Strength Coach for the University of Virginia and Los Angeles Angels baseball teams.

Guyer’s relationship with UVA’s Coach Brian O’Connor began 20 years ago, when O’Connor recruited Guyer as a highschool senior from Herndon to play for the Cavaliers in 2004. After being taken in the MLB draft his junior year at UVA, he maintained his relationship with “Coach Oak,” who even traveled to cheer in-person for Guyer when he played for the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series. 

“Welcoming BG back to Virginia baseball was an easy decision,” O’Connor tells me, of Guyer’s position as the team’s mental strength coach. “One of the reasons I love the game of baseball is its ability to teach us life lessons about how to succeed, about perseverance, and handling failure. After seeing the early success of Brandon’s program, I knew that he could have an impact with our UVA team. Our players and staff have applied Brandon’s lessons to become even more successful both on and off the field.”

Guyer underscores the “ON and OFF the field” aspect of MLM, insisting that anyone can use the techniques in everyday life to relieve stress and refocus. “I constantly apply the strategies I teach to help me juggle my career, health concerns of aging parents, and multiple youth sports schedules,” says the seemingly always calm Guyer. “Trust me, raising kids can be as challenging as playing in the World Series,” he insists. He and his wife, Lindsay, are parents to three kids, ages 8, 7, and 4. “You will often find me taking deep breaths when my youngest throws a temper tantrum or when our dog chews up my favorite shoes.”

Guyer says his favorite technique is Bring It On!, where he’s taught his body to recognize fear and anxiety as the sensation of a challenge. “It’s the same stress response—my heart rate and breathing increase, my stomach gets butterflies—but I mentally process the related anxiety as an opportunity to succeed against anything the game of life throws at me. Perceiving these feelings as beneficial, rather than harmful, helps me use them as fuel and shifts them from an obstacle holding me back to an actual asset. This technique helped me stand confidently at the plate and has helped my kids when they are nervous about sports, making new friends, or their first day of school.”

High school junior Bryce Neely of Midlothian agrees that MLM “tricks” make a big difference. Neely, excited to follow in Guyer’s footsteps, recently committed to play baseball for UVA. A student of the MLM online program, “Control the Controllables” is the mantra Neely credits with keeping him calm and centered. “I use it to focus my energy only on things in my power,” emphasizes Neely. “In baseball, whether it’s a called strike three on a ball, your pitcher gives up a home run, or you simply make a mistake, being able to understand that these things are in the past is a game changer.” 

When considering life off the field, Neely says, “if you fail your physics exam, rather than letting the past preoccupy your mind, focus instead on how you respond and what can be learned from the situation. Categorizing ‘uncontrollables’ gives you the opportunity to then focus on ‘controllables’ like how you treat others, how you respond to adversity, and how you carry yourself. It’s all part of the ‘Win or Learn (v. Lose) Mindset’ that has really helped me go after my goals.”

Neely’s mom, Kendall, borrows from Bryce’s MLM toolbox all the time—from dealing with traffic jams to being a better baseball mom. “At games, I used to close my eyes during pressure-filled plays. Now I say, ‘Bring It On!’ and no longer miss watching the best parts.” 

“Who knows where Bryce’s baseball career will land,” she says. “It’s an unpredictable sport. But his mindset will apply to the rest of his life. We are grateful to MLM for that.” 

To learn more about Major League Mindset, visit BrandonGuyer.com.

Major League Practices that work on and off the Field

Breathing: Utilizing your breath is the #1 tool for athletes and everyone. Take a slow, controlled “Big League Breath” as often as needed. Full inhale, full exhale. It will bring you back to the present moment, help you gain self-control, and decrease stress and anxiety.

Win Or Learn: Adopting this mindset will lead to more confidence, more fun and far less pressure, stress, and anxiety. Whether your profession is baseball or accounting, know that no matter how good and prepared you are, you will not succeed all the time. The key is to learn from situations where you fall short of your standards. Learning is winning, so it becomes WIN or WIN.

I’m Excited, Bring It On!: Say these five words

to yourself the next time you feel fear, nervousness, or anxiety: Fear is just a feeling. The way our body responds to fear and excitement is scientifically proven to be the same. Change your fear into courage by practicing this mantra when needed. It’s an instant gamechanger. 

Control The Controllables: Hands down the #1 skill for athletes (and everyone) to develop. The key is to get clarity on what is 100 percent in your control and let go of everything else as quickly as you can. You can’t control what happens to you, but you 100 percent control how you respond to it. Remember, REAPs are always in your control: Responses, Effort, Energy, Emotions, Attitude, Actions, Appearance (body language), Process, Positive self-talk, Present-moment focus, Perspective, and Practice. 

Umpires are not in a baseball player’s control. So what are your umpires? Thoughts, opinions, and decisions of others, bad luck, unexpected traffic …? Throughout the day when something doesn’t go your way or you feel yourself frustrated about anything, ask yourself, “Is this in my control?” If not, let it go and waste zero energy on it.

June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum