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Baseball Discussion Group / Head Games / Coaching the mental side of the game
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Coaching the mental side of the game

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coachbball
05-11-2004 @ 4:05 PM                          
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I was wondering if anyone has learned any interesting ways to teach the mental side of the game. To get those young players to think a little more and remember a little more. Do you have a talk on the drive to the game as a review. Do you review on the way home about the positives but stay away from the negatives. How many agree that some coaches do more harm than good trying to scorn a kid in the middle of a game and shut the kid down mentally. I never thought in the middle of a game was a good time to ask why the heck didnt you cover that base. I have heard of Skull Sessions. Practices that were chalk board practices to go over the thinking parts of the game. I am sure coaches have learned what works and what doesnt work so good. Then there is that question of age appropiate learning, not trying to teach too much to a coach pitch player. Sometimes I will point out things in a book or pass him emails to read so he doesnt have to hear it from me. I like to show him pictures of players in proper mode of swinging or pitching.

Tyrone
05-12-2004 @ 7:31 AM                          
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My guy is 13u.  When we drive home, I always ask him about his at-bats, starting with the successful ones. It is a question like "what pitch was that rope to center". When I ask about the unsuccessful at-bats, it's the same question "what did he throw you on the tap back to the mound?" I have discovered as he has matured that he is very good at self-critiqueing. I really don't have to point much out.

In another thread here (Baseball requires a certain makeup) Bob Byrd mentioned some attributes of good players. The ones we "work on" driving home are:
- The ability to grasp the game and the way it works.
- The quality of understanding and accepting the inevitable failures of the game.
- A desire to learn the nuances and subtleties of baseball.


synwave7
05-12-2004 @ 9:38 AM                          
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Coachbball,
As evident by your post you realize that the mental side of the game is a huge part of the game.  My son and I do talk about mental aspects of the game on the ride there.  We don't go into much detail but we do always have a song queued up in the CD player to get us in the baseball mode.  

I like to use teach words for everything that we talk about.  "Bring the relaxed practice mode into the game."  During pracices I am always referring to how relaxed they (all the players at any given time) are.  

I'll say things like, it's just you and me and the team here, your smiling, joking, your not thinking "oh my gosh I gotta hit (or catch) the ball".  Theres no-one in the stands yelling c'mon johnny get a hit, little bingo now, c'mon now.  Your relaxed here at practice theres no pressure your playing against your own emotions here, your playing against the ball, not the other team.  When your in the game to bat think it's me out there and were on the practice field and your hitting every ball.  Bring the practice field to the game.  Bring that smoothness that calm feeling.  Step out of the box between pitches, dont clamp down on that bat.  

I use the mental side of coaching almost constantly.  I tell them I have confidence in them they need to find there own confidence in themselves.  That I believe in them and they have to beleive in themselves.  

It's difficult at times to know when your really getting inside there head but I think you need to do so almost constantly.  Other big teaches or phrases I like to use are "stay out of your head" "slow it down" "batting practice here" "control the things you can now"

I love to use the one Walter refers to in his book.  "Smooth as ashes"  I hadn't heard it since my little league days and when I read it in Walters book all kinds of stuff came flooding back.  Anyway, the mental side of the game is a constant teach for me.  I find it has helped us out tremendously.  My son seems to have the knack for staying out of his own head, staying smooth as ashes.  He has come thru for both of his teams in many many clutch situations I really think it works. No, I know it works and Walters book and CD really drive it home.

Syn

  

nick898
07-07-2004 @ 11:27 PM                          
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Well as a player, I notice my coach tells us we are making mental mistakes. His only problem is that he is not coaching us to get through the mistakes. He expects us to be able to cure them for ourselves. You are the coach and you need to guide them in the right direction in my opinion, That's what a good coach does. If they make mental mistakes. Don't tell them to "get their heads out of their asses" Tell them how to work on fixing the problem. Guide them in the right direction. And on an off note. Never work on a majority of things in practice. We did a lot of defense and some hitting but not much baserunning and never explained the mental side of baseball. In our game, the mental mistakes and our baserunning got us embarassed.

Go Red Sox!

Jim-Ski
12-31-2004 @ 2:04 PM                          
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synwave7

I am reading through Head Games now.  Can you give me any insight into applying Walter's method?  I haven't yet listened to the CD is it much different that what it already in the book?

Thanks in advance.

Happy New Year!

Jim-Ski

Jim-ski

Ernest
01-21-2005 @ 1:16 PM                          
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I am a Performance Consultant and have created programs for the mental side of pitching and hitting. I have also worked personally with pitchers. These programs came out of a muscle testing technique I developed called Hemispheric Kinesiology. What I have discovered in working with athletes over the last 15 years is that if it stresses a pitcher or hitter to pitch or hit, he is not going to do it well.

I also discovered that pitchers and hitters have a tendency to "switch off" or "weaken" one or both hemispheres of their brains during play. This condition is most pronounced during pressure situations. The reason, in my opinion, that the mental part of pitching and hitting remains such a mystery is that the performance problems experienced by baseball players is subconscious in nature. That is, it is occurring below the player's level of conscious awareness.

A player reaches peak mental performance when both hemispheres of his brain remain "switched on." This "switched on" state enhances his performance both mentally and physically. Please don't think I am trying to push my baseball programs. I am currently focused on  marketing my Mind Mastery For Coaching program. It is a program for the mental side of coaching and my market now is primarily colleges and universities.



stylemismatch
01-21-2005 @ 8:06 PM                          
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I read about this in a book by Jack Lewallen, and have worked on it with a few of our guys:  I tell them that when they make a perfect pitch, knock the cover off the ball, steal a base against a really good team, make a great catch etc. to mentally "videotape" that play in their brain and permanently store it for later use.  Then before they pitch/hit/steal/field they play back the appropriate mental video to recreate the moment of success.

I also stress to them to always have a PMA (positive mental attitude).  When I sense a player is getting down on himself I remind him about his positive mental attitude, then get him to tell me about one of his great plays he's got stored in his brain.  The act of talking about that usually seems to get them in a better frame of mind and ready to perform to their potential.



SteveS
02-05-2005 @ 7:36 PM                          
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Ernest,

Please tell me more about Hemispheric Kinesiology.  You can send a response to steves1846@aol.com.  Thanks!
Steve



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