INTERVIEW WITH 1985 WORLD SERIES CHAMPION AND ZONE MOTION FOUNDER BUDDY BIANCALANA

FameBooking had the opportunity to interview Buddy Biancalana, former Major League Baseball 1st round pick and 1985 World Series Champion with the Kansas City Royals. If you think you know everything there is to know about this Kansas City celebrity, this interview may surprise you.

Was your guest appearance on the David Letterman Show a positive or negative for your career and why?

I would say it was neutral for my baseball career, however it did put my name “out there” along with my performance in the World Series, so it was beneficial in generating other opportunities.

First time you were asked for an autograph?

Rookie ball in Sarasota right around the first time I received a pay check for playing the same game I played at 5 years old. It was hard to believe I was making money at something I would do for free. 

What is the most common thing people say to you when they recognize you?

They often reference the World Series or some mention Letterman or lately I’m hearing them mention my teaching the Zone. 

How did you start developing your philosophy?

I have to correct you, in that it’s not a philosophy, but rather how the mind-body connection works. It is based on neuroscience which allows one to have an undeniable experience that they quickly realize must occur for them to perform their best. 

Through recovering from injuries and just wanting to feel better, I began to learn about the mind-body connection. I began utilizing what I was learning on field work with athletes and was amazed by what I saw. 

Could you explain what it feels like to be in the zone?

The zone is an abstract state of mind that allows a person to experience their sport/activity in a manner in which time slows down, without thinking and with fluid effortless motion and excellent or perfect timing. It is a physiological enlivening experience that has many benefits including increasing Theta brain waves which increase serotonin and oxytocin, two feel-good chemicals.  

What is the science behind zone motion?

In order for an athlete to reach maximum performance, while expediting development and minimizing soft tissue injuries, signals they are processing must move uninterrupted to the cerebellum which is part of the motor system.

I have conducted four research projects/independent studies utilizing the Zone Motion teaching methodology and what they have shown is more beneficial muscle activity for baseball pitchers, including less strain on the shoulder and elbow, less overall fatigue, increased baseball spin rate and increased strike rate. When the brain is functioning in the zone state, several beneficial mechanical adjustments naturally occur.

When did you decide to devote your life to helping others improve their lives?

Right around the same time I was healing from playing injuries and trying to improve my life, I began to understand some things about the brain-body connection. I began experimenting while working with baseball players and came upon Steven Yellin who had also figured some things out. Combining some of his knowledge and mine led me to devoting my life to helping others. Nothing is more gratifying for me than to see someone begin to have the success they have always desired and the subsequent peace of mind of accessing sustainable confidence. The sustainable confidence is a by-product of understanding and accessing motion from the most fundamental level - which is the brain. 

Who are some of your clients? 

Some of the bigger names with whom I have worked are golfers Scott McCarron, Lee Janzen, Michelle Wie, baseball players, Barry Zito, Jeremy Affeldt, Matt Cain, Jake Petricka, and Austin Davis. I have spent time working with the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Bulls, Portland Trailblazers, Princeton U, U of Michigan and U of California, Motorcross/Supercross racer, Michael Mosiman and most recently, MotoGP racer, Joe Roberts.

For people who are not athletes, what is the value of being in the zone?

The value is the freedom for the full expression of who they are to be present. Creativity flows more easily along with easier access to our natural intelligence, a stronger intuition, less fatigue, better sleep and just a better overall sense of well being. As previously mentioned, research has shown an increase in Theta brain waves.

A lot of people start their kids off young in sports, is there a period of time where it is too early to be focusing on being in the zone? Do you need to master the mechanics first?

Just as a potter will first moisten clay before molding, an athlete should first put their brain in a more malleable, teachable state. Doing so allows for quicker and easier implementation of the mechanics. It will also allow for the body’s natural intelligence to lead the way. Making what is natural a priority is the first step in mastering anything. 

What’s the number one mistake you see parents and coaches making with young athletes? 

A few things. Most importantly regarding parents, is sending messages which can be very subtle that the child is not completely loved and accepted, independent of performance. This can be done through a facial or body expression, question or tone of voice. In working with athletes of many ages, I can tell you that it does not take much to interfere with the brain-body connection and these negative messages run extremely deep and have a negative effect on development.

As for coaches, the same can have a very detrimental effect. Also not providing the player with the neurophysiological experience that will best allow them to learn and have the best chance to remain healthy. I like to say words don’t reach very well. We must experience to best learn. 

In how many different sports have you worked?

I’ve worked with athletes in 12 professional and over 20 amateur sports. I so enjoy being able to diversify among many sports. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

Hall of Famer and former Royals and Braves General Manager, John Schuerholz once told me to allow things to come to me rather than chasing after them. That advice has been very helpful and is also the foundation of my teaching.

Thank you to our Kansas City celebrity, Buddy Biancalana, for taking time out of this day to share his thoughts with FameBooking.com.

 


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