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3 Tips for Developing Mental Toughness in Baseball

mental-toughness-in-baseball.pngMental toughness in baseball and softball can be developed with a positive mental attitude, creating positive habits, and minimizing your minds negative talk and beliefs.  Mental toughness can be defined as having the psychological edge to better cope with demands and challenges you face as an athlete. Being more determined, focused, and resilient, will lead to consistent results under pressure.

Start With a Positive Attitude

A positive attitude and believing that you will do well is crucial to achieving your athletic goals. One simple method to help focus your energy into positive thinking is to break down your strengths and weaknesses. By breaking down your skills, it will allow you to not only recognize areas that need improvement, but more importantly, allow you to focus on your greatest skills with positive energy. Recognizing your weaknesses and focusing on them with optimism will lead to continued improvement. These traits will give you the edge needed to excel beyond your opponents. Find confidence by recognizing your abilities, and using them to your advantage on the field. Once you’ve found confidence, use this as motivation to start plowing towards your goals. A positive attitude will help you remain focused when challenges arise.

Create Reassuring Habits

Staying focused starts with good habits. Develop valuable routines each day when you’re at the ballpark. Whether you are in practice, preparing before a game, or competing, stick to a good schedule that helps boost your mental game. During practice, become a student of the game. Learn and perfect the drills your team works on. If you can execute drills in practice with confidence, this assurance will carry onto the field. Before competition, visualize your success. Even the night before a game, visualize hitting a homerun or striking out a player. Listen to music, tell stories, play games, and do what ever it takes to lift your spirits just before competing. This will make it easier to have confidence in your abilities. During the game, stay poised and confident in your abilities. Remembering good at-bats you’ve had or solid plays you’ve made in the field can help keep your mind focused and composed.   

Minimize Negative Talk

Negative self-talk can be devastating to an athlete and should be minimized. During practice and in game situations ball players often let doubt creep into their mind. Start by recognizing these thoughts and turning them around. For example, a ball player might think to himself or herself – “there’s no way I can hit this pitchers change-up.”   Instead tell yourself – “look for the fastball, adjust to the change-up, square-up and hit a solid line drive.”

Mental toughness and determination can take a ball player much farther than pure talent. Ballplayers like Greg Maddux, Dustin Pedroia, David Eckstein and many others have achieved greatness with less than superior talent.  They accomplished this by using the skills they were given.  They overcame challenges and failures in their path to greatness. What challenges are you facing? What obstacles are in you way? What are you going to do about it?

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