The Ole Ball Game

~ Baseball Self Talk: "One Comes To Believe Whatever One Repeats To Oneself Sufficiently Often, Whether The Statement Be True Or False"! ~

When You Are Alone With Your Thoughts, What Do You Hear?

When you talk with yourself, are you positive or negative?

Talk to yourself as you would like another person to talk to you, baseball self talk can be very helpful, or equally as destructive. Be kind to yourself.

Make yourself aware of whatever negative messages you give yourself, so that you can change them immediately. You cannot block the negative thought out. Replace it! In the batter's box, the most functional and appropriate replacement thought a hitter will ever have, "see the ball". Remember it; Use it; Value it.

H.A Dorfman, "The Mental Keys to Hitting") ( A Handbook of Strategies For Performance Enhancement )

The section on baseball self talk is taken from the book, MENTAL TRAINING FOR SOFTBALL, by Jeff Janssen and Mike Candrea. I hope that you will find some information within to help you reach your mission and goals. It has certainly been of benefit to me and my players over the years.

Self Talk Tips ~ From the Dugout

self talk tips ~ from the dugout

Whether or not they will admit it, everyone talks to themselves.

Right now some of you are talking to yourself and saying, yes, I do talk to myself. Others are saying, "no way". Some are wondering, do I talk to myself? I don't think so; but maybe I do.

Self talk is the internal dialogue we carry on with ourselves each day of our lives.

Everyone talks to themselves to some extent, some having an ongoing play by play, while others have only brief words, phrases or sentences.

Quantity varies; but most athletes report a minimal amount of self talk occurring during highly successful performances. Baseball self talk is usually non-stop during poor performances.

~ The Key Lies In Quality / Not Quantity! ~ ( Jeff Janssen )

There Are Two Types Of Baseball Self Talk

  1. Positive ~ Self promoting, builds confidence, optomistic, constructive, motivating, focused, optimal muscle tension and performance enhancing.

  2. Negative ~ Self defeating, creates anxiety, pessimistic, destructive, unmotivating, distracting, excess muscle tension and performance destroying.

Be your own best friend. Imagine yourself playing catch with a younger brother or sister, or a friend's brother or sister, and they are having trouble throwing and catching the baseball. You can see they are discouraged and frustrated.

What Might You Say To Them?

  • Is it positive and supportive, or negative and critical?

  • What effect might your words have on them?

Now, Think About What You Say To Yourself When You Are Struggling

  • How supportive or critical are you?

  • What effect does it have on you?

Most people are unaware of the quantity or quality of their baseball self talk. Quite often they are surprised at how negative they are with themselves, and sometimes others.

Let's Look Inside One Of Those Situations In Baseball That We All Dream About, That Make This Game So Special

  1. Bases loaded, two outs.

  2. Bottom of the last inning.

  3. Behind by one run.

  4. The crowd and both dugouts are on their feet in anticipation, as you step out of the on deck circle and walk towards the plate.

Positive Self talk says?

  • I am excited about this challenge, this is an opportunity for me to contribute to my team.

  • I am a good contact hitter. I want to see the ball well, put a good swing on it and drive it hard. I know I can do that!

  • I have been working hard all year in practice. My heart is pounding, it must mean that I am pumped and ready for this challenge.

  • What are your chances of getting a hit?

Negative self talk says?

  • Why do I have to be up now? I could lose the game for the whole team and everyone would hate me.

  • Just don't strike out, that would be the worst. Wow, I am really stressed out, my heart feels like it is going to burst out of mt chest.

  • What are your chances of getting a hit?

  • Both are possible reactions to the exact situation. Thus, it is not so much the situation that causes stress and anxiety; but our thoughts about the situation.

    Below are some thoughts about one portion of baseball's mental game. It has been my experience that the mental game is a true seperator between individual players, as well as teams. These are skills, just as throwing, hitting, running and receiving are. They can be practiced and developed; but seldom manifest themselves on their own. Time spent by players and coaches can reap dividends and provide that "competitive edge" we are all seeking over our competition.

    You can work on these skills in practice, as well as outside of your season. Take your game, or your team, to the next level!

    How Can I Best Use Baseball Self Talk? Learn through asking yourself questions, such as those below.

    • "What's stopping me from ...?"

    • "What can I do differently to get the results I want?"

    • "To get this right, what has to be different?"

    • "If I could do that the way I want to, what would it be like?"

    Anticipate Situations and Plays ~ Direct Your Intentions!

    • A batter: "I'm going to hit the ball on the ground between the first and second baseman."

    • A pitcher: "Fastball, low and away."

    • An outfielder: "I'm going to hit the cut-off man if the ball's hit to me."

    This self-talk focuses on what you will do when a play develops. It provides control; you become the actor, rather than the reactor.

    Talk is not an exclusive tool used when preparing for physical action. Pictures and images help.

    Use the words to trigger the previews of coming attractions.

    H.A. Dorfman, from his book,The Mental Game of Baseball.

    See yourself making the play.

    see the ball, put a good swing on it, hit it hard somewhere
    throw a low, fastball strike, outside corner
    runner will be coming home, get set up and make a smooth tag
    stay down and through this ground ball
    go get anything in the air, don't let it hit the ground
    get a good jump, strong head first slide

    Click here for more ideas on controlling your attitude through your self talk, click here for ways to identify unproductive behavior.

    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. ~

    Mental Power

    ~ You are searching for the magic key that will unlock the door to the source of power. ~

    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. ~

    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. ~


    ~ 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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