As the chill of winter slowly gives way to sunshine and warmer weather, baseball and softball players around the country are beginning to get ready for the upcoming season. Spring training, from the pros down to Little Leagues, means working on hitting, pitching, and fielding. No accomplished player would deny the importance of mental toughness in any aspect of baseball or softball. Decisions must be made in a fraction of a second, and a player’s mental state can mean the difference between a strikeout and a hit, a perfect pitch and one that misses the mark, or a great play in the field versus an error. Baseball lends itself very readily to mental skills training. Prior to every play, there is a period of down time referred to as the “pre-action” phase when a player awaits and anticipates the action that is to follow. Casual observers of the game bemoan these periods of apparent inactivity, stating that it makes the game boring. In truth, however, what a player does during the pre-action phases largely determines their level of readiness for the next play. Elite players make optimal use of this time to achieve the ideal mental state and maximize his/her chances of success.
Unless a player has the benefit of working with a competent sport psychologist, they most likely to not have a good understanding of what constitutes an ideal mental state and how to achieve it. Gaining a competitive mental edge requires careful measurement of psychological and physiological variables, and intense training to be able to manipulate one’s internal state at will. Just like any other aspect of the game, developing these mental skills takes time, expert guidance, and hard work. But, making the effort can mean the difference between making a team, earning a college scholarship, or getting noticed by a professional scout, versus falling just short of these goals.
For more information on elite mental training for baseball and softball, contact Dr. Temple via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (512-694-9191). The investment you make could just be the difference that launches you or your young athlete to that next level.