How important do you think your mental approach
is to your baseball performance? If you are a high-level player,
you know it is very, very important. I don't like to put percentages
on it, but you would probably agree that it is critical to your
sustainable success. You know mental toughness in baseball is huge.
When I was the Sport Psychology Coach for the Stanford Baseball
Team they were ranked number one in the United States. We worked
on mental toughness every day. We also worked on focus, mental preparation
and building and maintaining routines and mental recovery strategies.
This article gives you five mental game of baseball strategies I
used with the Stanford Baseball Team that you can use right away
in your own game.
1. Learn To Control Your Focus: The most important part of
the mental game is attentional control. Where you place your focus,
in what way, and for how long is key. You need to learn how to choose
the appropriate attentional cues so you keep your mind tuned in,
not out. The mental game of baseball helps you know what these cues
2. Keep Your Mind In The Here And Now: Good baseball is played
one pitch at a time. Do that and your mind stays in the moment,
the now. One way to facilitate that is to have breath focus. The
mental game of baseball helps you learn how to find your breath,
track it, and allow it to center and focus you.
3. Stay Poised And Patient: You want to play aggressive baseball,
but you also need to remain self-aware, and tuned in to what is
happening around you. This is vital to being a plugged in player
who makes things happen. The mental game of baseball helps you develop
this fine-tuned personal awareness.
4. Develop Confidence And Self-Belief: If you don't believe
in yourself, who will? Everyone around you can tell you how good
you are, but if you discount this encouragement, it will never enter
your head and heart. The mental game of baseball helps you build
an inside-out foundation of self-approval so your confidence flows.
5. Use Mental Rehearsal: Get a competitive advantage with
your mind by playing the game in advance, using visualization. Go
to the movies in your mind and mentally rehearse what you will be
doing in competition. You can plan for contingencies, problems,
or map out your strategy and see yourself winning before you actually
do it. The mental game of baseball helps you use your imagination
to great effect.
When I was at Stanford University we had a belief in our power,
and in our destiny. The head coach would get up before a game and
ask everyone, "You are about to go out and play in a major college
baseball competition. Is there any other place you would rather
be? Does it get
any better than this?" The guys would then realize that it doesn't
get any better than playing the game you love. The mental game of
baseball helps you realize this fundamental, game-altering truth.
I want you to succeed mightily in your baseball career. I want you
to reach all of your baseball potential. The mental game of baseball
can help you do that in a big way.
For a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities you need an
assessment instrument that identifies your complete mental strengths
and weaknesses. Here is a free, easy-to-take 65-item sport
psychology assessment tool you can score right on the spot.
This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths and
weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a guide in creating
your own mental training program, or as the basis for a program
you undertake with mental coach
Bill Cole, MS, MA to improve your mental game. This assessment
would be an excellent first step to help you get the big picture
about your mental game.
Copyright © 2010 Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on sports psychology, peak performance,
mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William
B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps sports teams and individuals
achieve more success. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association, an organization dedicated to advancing
the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching
worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published author of books and articles,
and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports and big-time
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