For this great game we all love, mental baseball and baseball mental training is the key to becoming a well-rounded player. While baseball itself, that is the rules, field dimensions, basics, et al, hasn’t changed much over its history, today’s game is not exactly like your father’s or grandfather’s game in some very significant ways. Of course the basics - throwing, hitting, fielding and base running - remain the must learn and must know skills and still form the fundamentals that youth players must be first introduced to in order to enjoy and excel at the sport. However, advances in technology and training, and increased knowledge in nutritional information and workout techniques have significantly changed over the years.
Still, every serious player wants to use these advances in order to be the best…to have the best baseball swing -a sweet swing…the type that will make solid contact and drive balls to all areas of the field. Or to be able to make that diving play on a ball up the middle and scatter to his feet to nab the runner at first. Or be that catcher that pops and fires to nail the fastest runner in the league trying to swipe a bag. Or be that pitcher to come in with a 1-0 lead and bases loaded with no outs and strike out the side on 9 pitches….or even more so, be the pitcher that gets the team to that 1-0 lead with complete domination. For these skills, which are the ones that most often get younger players recognition throughout their local leagues, travel teams and even school ball, there are numerous opportunities for all players to improve through the availability of training tools, aids, instruction and drills, many of which are very good. There are also more opportunities than ever before for players to improve these skills with unfettered access to technical information available online and through books and videos. Conduct a web search on baseball, baseball swing, baseball tips, baseball drills, etc., and you will get many sites, including hopefully this one, with instruction, tips, drills, and more. All of this offers the capability to know more than our counterparts of yesterday, which is an incredible benefit to modern day instruction, and a strong enabler to allow players of all ages and levels to be the better prepared than ever before.
Images courtesy of Christine Beck, chrissybeckphotography, Chesapeake, VA
While many baseball articles and even websites deal with the physical parts of the baseball game, there is another segment that is also very important, and mastering it can go a long way towards your success as a player. I am talking about the mental game of baseball which is undoubtedly a skill that youth players can learn, and it will greatly benefit them as they progress through school ball and beyond. Do a web search on mental baseball, baseball mental training, mental drills, etc., and you will see that it is not be as fruitful as your other search. Now, there is some good information out there, and I do like www.baseballmentalgame.com, but in general, there is a lack of information on the mental side of baseball - how come? Is there nothing out there? The great Yogi Berra, as much known for his off the field shenanigans and sayings as he is for his unbelievable success on great Yankee teams, once stated that “you can’t hit and think at the same time”. What he meant is practice until your swing becomes second nature from repetition and recall, and when you come up during a game, trust in that swing! Another former Major League baseball player, Jim Wohlford, said "Baseball is ninety percent mental half the time," and although that shouldn’t be confused with another great Yogi saying, which is “Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical”, their meanings have extreme similarities…and that is, you have to prepare and expect the unexpected! Ted Williams, perhaps the greatest hitter of all time, said “hitting is 50% from the neck up”. What does all of this mean? The successful outcome of the extremely difficult task of succeeding in all aspects of the game depends not just on your physical skills, but also your mental skills. So with all the emphasis from players, some legends, on mental baseball but lack of information on baseball mental training and mental baseball drills, what can be done for the player to increase his mental capacity and for the coach to incorporate mental baseball training and drills into practice?
It is hard to practice the mental side, but it is an absolute necessity, and baseball mental training is possible. Private instructors offer tips and teach skills and drills with some very good training aids, which primarily focus on hitting, pitching, fielding or catching techniques. And although there are books and videos available on the mental aspect, there has been little practical use of transferring that information to the baseball field during actual play. Control of mental skills and performing mental baseball drills is imperative for success in anything, and once a player is able to control his mental skills, his overall game can improve which can turn good players great and great players into superstars! Exercising the mental game will give a player the best possible chance for success, which in turn will lead to the best chance for overall team success. Coaches will not have to give basic in game instruction. Hitters will approach with a positive attitude and understand situational baseball. Pitchers will gain the advantage over the opposing hitters. Baserunners will not run in to outs. And so on. By understanding this article and the follow on articles, players will see significant improvement in their own mental baseball skills and fundamentals, gain an increased understanding and enjoyment of the game and soon notice they are actually the ones being recognized throughout their local leagues, travel teams and even school ball.
This section will deal with mental baseball skills and baseball mental training. Here is a link to the core of the baseball mental training section. Click here for information on mental baseball hitting!Baseball › Mental Baseball
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