ST. PETERSBURG -- In his book "Sacred Hoops," longtime NBA coach Phil Jackson discusses in detail the power of visualization and using the visceral feeling to create success.
David Murphy is a big believer in the philosophy, and his resurgence at the plate validates it.
"I feel like if I have 400 at-bats in a season, there'll be five to 10 that if I go back and watch video, those will be the ones I key on to think, 'All right, if I'm going to come back and watch video at a later date, those are them just because there's something in my mind that I remember about that feeling I had," Murphy said the morning after he went 4-for-4 with a homer, two doubles and four RBIs in the Rangers' 8-0 over the Rays.
Murphy said the re-emergence of "himself" came when he remembered one of those plate appearances while he was in the midst of 4-for-35 slump in August.
"I was watching an at-bat a few weeks ago that I had against Felix Hernandez last year, and just the way that I felt during that at-bat, and that's what I tried to key off of from that point on, and things have started to click," Murphy said. "Just the way I felt during that at-bat, the way I stayed through the ball.
"Last year, I felt like I did better than I did my whole career of looking out over the plate to try and drive the ball the other way, and if I got that pitch, I would. But if I got a pitch in, I would pull my hands in and pull it. And before, I felt like I had to look one or the other, I had to look away to drive the ball the other way, overtrying, physically the effort level was just too much."
The double against Hernandez in a 3-1 loss on Sept. 28, 2010, may have seemed inconsequential at the time, but for Murphy, it has paid huge dividends. The 29-year-old outfielder has finally turned the corner after hitting a grand slam off Angels starter Dan Haren shortly after Murphy viewed video of that day. He went 5-for-5 against the Angels on Aug. 26, and has hit .477 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 11 games since then.
"I felt like I was completely lost, and it's like a switch flipped and things started to go well, and I feel like I started playing the way I knew I was capable of," said Murphy, who is batting .500 (16-for-32) with two home runs and 10 RBIs filling in for an injured Nelson Cruz. "Hitting is such a feel thing, and for me, I've found that feeling again where things have started to click."