Coaching Youth Baseball - The Mental Game
In youth baseball training, often the coach is just trying
to make sure the players are able to hit and catch the baseball.
Basic skills are taught first. As kids get older and are more
serious, coaches, parents and players need to work specifically
on the mental aspect of the game during baseball training.
Kids need more than an "atta boy" or "nice try, better luck
next time" to be able to master their mind.
The mind is constantly providing positive and negative self
talk. Usually there is more negative self talk than positive.
Even professional baseball players can be affected by negative
self talk - everyone has witnessed unprofessional behavior
in a major league baseball game.
Here are some ways for coaches to help players work on and
improve their mental game of hitting baseballs.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The more a player practices hitting, the better ball player
he will be. The better ball player he is, the more confidence
he will have. So when it is his turn at bat, the self-talk
will be positive rather than negative, because he knows he
is able to hit a home run or a solid line drive. He's done
it before in practice. As a player has more success in actual
baseball games, his confidence will soar even higher.
Make Sure The Players Are Having Fun
Don't let them take their turn at bat too seriously. Players
should be having fun doing what they enjoy, playing baseball!
Every player has struck out at the worst possible time at
least once and lived to tell about it, even major league players.
Have the kids practice walking out to the batter's box with
a smile on their face, even if they have to force a smile.
It will help them relax.
Once the player is at the plate, help him go through the
swing in his mind. Have him visualize the pitcher throwing
a perfect ball and visualize where he will hit it. Tell him
to concentrate on the pitcher, and realize he is probably
nervous too. Tell the player to keep his mind busy visualizing
success. This will help crowd out those negative thoughts.
Have Each Player Develop An "At Bat" Style To
Help Keep Them Calm
For example, Evan Longoria looks at the left foul pole when
he gets upset at bat. This helps him regain his focus, clear
his head and calm down. Each player should develop something
on their own, such as tapping the plate three times before
each time at bat, or putting their hand back. Something simple
that isn't too obvious, but that he will know is his signature
"at bat" style.
Remind Kids That What You Focus On Usually Comes True
If a player is worried that he will strike out, he probably
will. Let players know that the more they worry about something,
the more chance that it will come true. Have them focus intently
on what they want to happen, like hitting a home run or hitting
a line drive right past first base.
Every at bat should be treated like the first. Encourage
players to not let what happened at a previous at bat affect
their current swing. Remember, a hitter with a 300 average
means a fail 7 out of 10 times! And 300 hitters are paid millions
of dollars in professional ball. Tell them that if the did
poorly their last at bat, that means their chances of doing
better this time have improved!
If kids can control their emotions and mental state, their
baseball game will improve dramatically. And they will have
In order to be the best baseball player you can be, training
should happen year-round and be a joint effort between the
coach, the player and the parents. Get more free tips to improve
baseball performance, reviews of e-products related to baseball,
and links to training resources at http://youth-baseball-training.com.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jake_Wyatt
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