Mental Toughness: A Crucial Skill in Baseball

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Yogi Berra, a former American professional baseball catcher, manager, and coach, once said: “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”

There used to be a stigma that focusing on mental skills is a sign of weakness. People would think of you as weak when they see you consulting a psychologist. Things have changed recently. Major league teams now realize the importance of mental skills in baseball. About seven years ago, major-league clubs only had 20 mental skills coaches, but now there are 44 either full-time employees or team consultants.

Keeping Their Head in the Game

It is the team manager’s responsibility to put players in their best position to find success. To achieve this, they should not only focus on physical health, but also their mental and emotional well-being.

Sports psychologists explain technical and physical skills are not enough for athletes. They spend hours of training and practicing until their own expectations, of their families, coaches, and teammates put massive pressure on them. This may make them feel frustrated and affect game performance.

Baseball players should be able to balance their physical, technical, and mental skills. Building strong mental mechanics will help these three essential skills to function in unison.

Mental Skills to Train

The mind can disrupt a victory like any physical injury. That’s why mental skills training is just as important as physical ones. Players should learn to control their mind, regulate focus, and control emotional chaos. But what should they focus on to improve their performance?

Working with an experienced coach
Beginners and seasoned players all need a coach that will help enhance their athletic skills. The coach will engage in deliberate practice to improve the areas players are not good at or can’t perform at all. For instance, using a radar gun to measure the pitching and see if it needs improvement.

Most importantly, the coach has to teach them how to think as well as how to play. Players may be put through pain and risks to strengthen their mental skills.

Dealing with pressure and time gap
Players know what pressure feels like and what causes it. A time gap between plays, meanwhile, gives them time to think and internalize positive and negative emotions, such as pressure, excitement, frustration, and fear, among others.

Champions, however, deliver their best performance by not thinking. Instead, they let their body do what it has practiced to do. Therefore, players shouldn’t let the time gap kill this. Training to return to a “present” state of mind and accomplish the task at hand is a critical skill that requires training and guidance.

Fighting doubt and fear of failure
During a time gap, a person may feel the fear of failure. This fear can stop them in their tracks because they will be too concerned with not messing with their performance, causing them to hesitate and fail to execute.

One way to fight the fear of failure is by visualizing losing the game, like what Samurai warriors used for centuries. This exercise helps people accept that they will fail, releasing them from the fear of failing. Once they’re free, they’re ready to play with a clear mind.

Training for mental skills should start early. It helps determine a person’s weaknesses and gives them more time to improve. And of course, access to proper equipment and assistance makes the training holistic and more effective.

Use the Right Equipment During Training

Radar Sports, LLC offers high-quality radar guns to help you measure the effectiveness of your players’ pitch. Our radar guns capture every moment of the ball to measure its speed accurately. We also offer accessories to make your training more efficient.

Contact us today to learn more.

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