Are Mental Skills important in Baseball?
Baseball is a mental and physical game. You can’t reach your potential as a baseball player if you only work on one aspect of your game.
Yet many players only work on the physical aspects of the game, such as throwing mechanics, hitting technique, and fielding efficiency.
If you took time to list how your mental game affects your play on the field, the list would be longer than you could imagine.
Your mental game affects everything you do:
- The intensity of your conditioning
- The manner in which you practice
- The speed it takes you to learn new skills
- Your mindset before a game
- Your emotions during a game
- Consistent play
- Your focus throughout long games
- Your mindset when leading or trailing in games or going into extra innings
- Your goals
- The increased sense of pressure in later innings
- Processing your performance after a game
- The way you communicate with your teammates and coaches
- The way you deal with slumps, streaks, errors, bad weather.
*The way you cope with unfavorable playing conditions, bad umpire calls, rowdy crowds, etc
This list is a small portion of the mental factors that impact your game. If you are only concerned with taking batting practice, you will fall far short of the player you could become.
Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras puts a lot of credence in the mental game.
Contreras had solid seasons his first two years in the big leagues batting .282 and .276, respectively. In 2018, Contreras was selected to the All-Star team but his offense production fell off in the second half of the season and he finished the year with a .249 batting average.
Contreras is back on track in 2019 and he credits his success to an improved mental game.
CONTRERAS: “On offense, I worked mostly on the mental side of the game. I always had the ability to use the whole field, but I was not doing that last season. I put too much pressure on myself to match the numbers I had in (2017). That took a lot away from my concentration. This year has been way different. I have just worked and not put pressure on myself to get numbers. I am letting things happen and using the whole field.”
Contreras also improved is his ability to manage his emotions and deal with failure.
CONTRERAS: “I know that I play with a lot of emotions. I also understand since last year that I’m going to fail more in this game than have success. That’s one thing that keeps my feet on the ground.”
Contreras is proof that physical talent and skills can only take you so far.
If you want to be the very best baseball player you can be, then you need to couple your physical skills with strong mental skills.
Developing Strong Mental Skills:
Be proactive with your mental game! Too often, baseball players put off mental training until they’re in a slump or struggling. “I’m playing well now, maybe later in the season I work on my mental approach.”
Start today. Do an honest assessment of your mental game skills. What areas need to improve? Focus? Confidence? Composure? Trust in your skills? Taking your practice to games? Coping with anxiety or worry? Routines?
What skill can you work on this summer that will help boost your performance in the fall?
If you need help with assessing your mental game and making improvements for the fall, contact us today.
Get The Mental Edge For Baseball and Softball Players!
Do you (or your athletes) lack full confidence in your skills when you step on the field as if your game disappears at game time?
Do you lose composure easily after you make your first error of time game?
Do you feel embarrassed after striking out and carry this with you for longer than one inning?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, check out The Mental Edge For Baseball And Softball Players!
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“The mental game lessons really helped me focus on the process of my performance and not the outcome. I now realize the difference between confidence and trust, in that confidence comes before competition. Your coaching is really going to help me improve my mental game this fall.“
~Trey Mancini, Collegiate Baseball Player
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~Keith Donnell, College Baseball Player
“I currently play NCAA Division 1 Baseball, and even my coaches have noticed a change in the way that I approach the game; my attitude and confidence at the plate. Thank you for helping in my continuing goal to mental toughness.”
~Tylor Prudhomme, College Baseball Player