Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mind Practices for Baseball Game

The most critical moments in a baseball game require players to possess not only the physical skills necessary to perform well, but also the mental toughness to block out distractions and focus. Practicing techniques for these mental skills can elevate your performance to a new level and give you an edge over the competition.
Rehearsing Pressure Scenarios
Todd Williams, writing on the website Pitching Tips, points out the importance of rehearsing challenging game situations in practice. Not only will this prepare you for the possible scenarios which may occur, but it also introduces the element of pressure. Pitchers can throwing to a batter with no outs and men on first and second. Batters can test themselves with a man on second and two outs. If necessary, add some incentive such as halving running drills for the day based on the outcome.
You can rehearse positive outcomes in competitive situations without being on the field. Penn State sports psychologist Dave Yukelson advocates visualization as a means of preparing your mind for the desirable outcomes in a game. Imagining yourself at bat, seeing pitches clearly, timing your step and driving the ball can provide the kind of positive image that the brain will duplicate more easily in pressure situations.
Address Weaknesses
H.A. Dorfman and Karl Kuehl write in their book, "The Mental Game of Baseball," about the mental value of addressing your game's weaknesses. Not only is this practice valuable to your technique and mechanics, it also helps to erase doubt and increase confidence when the weakest parts of your game are tested in a competitive situation.
Consistent Practice
Dorfman and Kuehl also point out that your mental toughness will only be as strong as the commitment you make to it. Practice drills and activities designed to exercise the mental part of your baseball skills regularly, just as you would batting or fielding. The notion that dabbling in these techniques one or two times and then never again is erroneous and will lead to poor results.

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