Rick Ankiel had the talent to be one of the best pitchers ever. Then, one day, he lost it.
The Phenomenon is the story of how St. Louis Cardinals prodigy Rick Ankiel lost his once-in-a-generation ability to pitch -- not due to an injury or a bolt of lightning, but a mysterious anxiety condition widely known as "the Yips." It came without warning, in the middle of a playoff game, with millions of people watching. And it has never gone away.
Yet the true test of Ankiel's character came not on the mound, but in the long days and nights that followed as he searched for a way to get back in the game. For four and a half years, he fought the Yips with every arrow in his quiver: psychotherapy, medication, deep-breathing exercises, self-help books, and, eventually, vodka. And then, after reconsidering his whole life at the age of twenty-five, Ankiel made an amazing turnaround: returning to the Major Leagues as a hitter and playing seven successful seasons.
This book is an incredible story about a universal experience -- pressure -- and what happened when a person on the brink had to make a choice about who he was going to be.
New to fighting the demon.
Couldn’t put this book down. Been playing golf since I was 12. While not a great player, I was a good player. Two years ago I suffered an elbow injury that altered my natural swing. This year fighting to find my motion again I developed the shanks. Not for a round, not for a few rounds but for a month. After working to fix those shanks I found my mind was changed. I developed the full swing yips out of fear of the shanks. While looking for a cure the full swing golf yips, I found a story of what Brendon Todd did to address his similar issue. I started reading this book to help fight my new demon and ended up with so much more. Thanks Rick for sharing your story. I know the problem is not my fault.
Having witnessed his blowout in the playoff game against Atlanta, I often wanted to know what happened to Rick. Now that I know what happened it reminds me that players are every bit human as the rest of us. It was a good read even though somewhat sad. I wish Rick well.?
The Phenomenon is an outstanding book about not only baseball but also about life and the struggles it sometimes throws our way. As a lifelong Cardinal fan I was very much aware of Rick Ankiel’s story within the confines of Busch Stadium. But I had no idea about his childhood and the struggles it presented. Thanks Rick for your willingness to share your heart and some very emotional experiences with us! Now, every time I see a wild pitch while watching a Cardinal game on TV the first thought I have is, is this The Thing inflicting it’s pain on another player? Thank you again, I hope everyone who reads this book finds it as encouraging as I did!