The Ole Ball Game
 

Baseball Mental Power: Do You Know What Your Mind Is Capable Of? You Will Be Surprised!

The goal? To understand and unleash the power of your mind to ultimately gain enhanced baseball mental power, helping seperate yourself and your team from the competition, in all phases of your game.

I initially learned about this exercise from my wife, Margaret. She is a Human Resources Professional and had experienced this exercise in a business management seminar, while working for a technology company.

Soon after my wife's experience, I was reintroduced to it by Jeff Janssen, then the Sports Psychologist at The University of Arizona.

This exercise has been the initial lead into teaching baseball's mental game, to all of my teams and players since.

It never fails to amaze the players that they are able to do this. Once they have this experience, it helps open their minds to all the posibilities that are available to them.

It is much fun to watch and listen to the players as they do the exercises. You can hear the amazement in their voices.

A Mind, Once Stretched By A New Idea, Never Goes Back To It's Original Dimensions. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes ~




Power of your mind, worksheet


Equipment Needed For Exercise

  1. Target sheet, with numbered cross hairs and circle.


  2. Paper clip with 15" piece of string, attached to one end.





Initial Set Up

  1. Each participant gets a baseball mental power target sheet and paper clip, with attached string.


  2. Participants need to be sitting at a desk, table, some sort of flat service.







Instructions

  1. Set the target sheet on the surface in front of you.


  2. Place elbow on table.


  3. Hold the string in your thumb and index finger, adjust the string length so paper clip is approximately a half inch above paper, directly over the cross hairs.
mental power set up

Sequence Of Steps


  • Participants focus on the cross hairs, with the goal of stopping the movement of the paper clip.


  • Once accomplished, have them move their eyes, up and down the vertical line between #1 and #3. Goal is to get the paper clip moving along this line. Give them approximately 30 seconds, before having them focus back to the cross hairs and stopping the clip in the center.


  • Next, have them repeat the movement, only on the horizontal line from #4 to #2, with the same goal. After the 30 seconds, focus back to the middle.


  • Have them start their eyes at the top of the circle and move them around the circle clockwise, getting the clip to travel around the circle, 30-45 seconds, then focus back to the center.


  • Repeat from top of circle, this time going counter clockwise, focus back to the center.


  • Top of circle again, start clip in either direction, once they have it moving, speed it up by moving their eyes faster, then quickly focus back to the middle to stop, then reverse it and do the same, stopping back in the center.


  • Freestyle: Have them keep changing directions without stopping in the center, reversing the circles, reversing vertical/horizontal,changing from circle to line, etc. Keep doing it on their own, on the fly. Finish by having them all stop at the same time, by focusing back to the center.


  • Eyes closed: With their eyes closed, using only their MIND, begin to imagine the paper clip is moving up and down between the numbers 1 and 3. Allow yourself to be patient and concentrate fully on the clip moving up and down from #1 to #3. Hopefully, when you open your eyes, after about 15 seconds, you will discover the clip is swaying in the direction you have imagined.


  • Close your eyes again and imagine the clip swaying between the numbers 2 and 4. At this point you can challenge yourself and have the clip rotate in a clockwise direction (1,2,3,4) and then counter clockwise (4,3,2,1), all with your eyes closed.



This group of baseball mental power exercises never fails to draw comments from the participants, such as,"hey, this is wierd, wow, what's happening to me, and my all time personal favorite; what is this, voodoo?"

As you move up through the steps, the emotion builds, as they are able to accomplish more and more complex movements. It would be nice to believe we all might have some mystical powers; but the reason the clip is moving is quite basic, but very exciting.

When you use imagery, that experience does not stay just in the mind. It is transformed throughout our bodies.

While we did not direct our muscles to move, the images of the clip moving created actual impulses and movements in the muscles of our hand and arm, at a very low level, a level so low we cannot detect it is happening.

So What Makes Imaging Useful And Exciting?


  • We are able to practice and program ourselves to respond through mental, as well as physical practice.


  • Each time we imagine executing a skill or strategy, we are actually acquiring or practicing movements and thoughts we need when we perform.


  • Imagery allows us to strengthen the muscle's memory for the correct execution of skills.


  • The mind and body often cannot distinguish between real and imagined experiences.

Baseball Mental Power Tips ~ From The Dugout

baseball mental power tips ~ from the dugout

Time spent on baseball mental power as a group and as individuals, provides your athletes with the same power of entitlement they get from working on physical skills.

The added bonus is they are doing something extra to separate themselves from their competition.

Some of the effort is formal and noticeable, much of it is subtle. All of it is effective!

When you have the mental game tools, it's the equivalent of having a road grader, instead of a shovel and rake, to build roads.



One Example Of The Many Baseball Mental Power Stories In Existence

A number of years ago, I listened to a presentation from a sports psychologist, who at the time worked for the Seattle Mariners.

He was speaking about imagery and used this example about Ken Griffey Jr. Between at bats, when the Mariners were on offense, Griffey would go back in the club house and watch video of his successful at bats, listening to music which helped him focus. He felt that imagery transferred directly to the field.

While those of us in amateur and youth baseball are not dugout equipped with video, and in most cases would be against league rules, we all have those special "in the zone" moments forever etched in our minds.

All we have to do is focus on the positive skill or movement we anticipate, calling up that mental video, increasing our chances for success with that skill.

Baseball mental power is a tremendous tool to possess and one that will create positive separation between yourself and your competition.

As players understand the concept of the baseball mental power they all have, it makes a great base to build from.



Additional Topics: A Road Map To Increasing Mental Toughness

Mental Game

~ The one thing over which you have absolut control is your own thoughts. ~

Coaching Confidence

~ In baseball, coaching confidence can produce results that go beyond the drills and strategies and into the hearts and minds of the people they teach. ~

Focus Grid

~ This is a fun mental focus exercise designed to find out how well you can initially concentrate with no distractions, then how well you concentrate with distractions. ~

Mental Control

~ Mental control lies in our ability to direct our attention on what we can control. ~

Self Talk

~ The dialogue we carry on with ourselves each day of our lives. ~

Slump Busting

~ Slump busting can provide you and your players with a plan to decrease the impact of those inevitable slumps. ~

Mental Framing

~ Put your mind in a position to be successful. ~

Teamwork

~ It's crucial but; players don't always know what teamwork means. ~

Control Your Attitude

~ Controlling your attitude is nothing more than choosing to use and focus on productive self talk. ~

Identifying Unproductive Behaviors

~ Make your opponent beat you instead of losing to yourself. ~

Derek Jeter On Deck

~ The ultimate preparation! ~

Harvey Dorfman

~ Tributes to a very special man! ~






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