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The Mental Game Of Baseball

Mental Toughness Wins Ball Games

Bill Cole, MS, MA

How important do you think your mental approach is to your baseball performance? If you are a high-level player, you know it is very, very important. I don't like to put percentages on it, but you would probably agree that it is critical to your sustainable success. You know mental toughness in baseball is huge.

When I was the Sport Psychology Coach for the Stanford Baseball Team they were ranked number one in the United States. We worked on mental toughness every day. We also worked on focus, mental preparation and building and maintaining routines and mental recovery strategies.

This article gives you five mental game of baseball strategies I used with the Stanford Baseball Team that you can use right away in your own game.

  1. Learn To Control Your Focus: The most important part of the mental game is attentional control. Where you place your focus, in what way, and for how long is key. You need to learn how to choose the appropriate attentional cues so you keep your mind tuned in, not out. The mental game of baseball helps you know what these cues are.

  2. Keep Your Mind In The Here And Now: Good baseball is played one pitch at a time. Do that and your mind stays in the moment, the now. One way to facilitate that is to have breath focus. The mental game of baseball helps you learn how to find your breath, track it, and allow it to center and focus you.

  3. Stay Poised And Patient: You want to play aggressive baseball, but you also need to remain self-aware, and tuned in to what is happening around you. This is vital to being a plugged in player who makes things happen. The mental game of baseball helps you develop this fine-tuned personal awareness.

  4. Develop Confidence And Self-Belief: If you don't believe in yourself, who will? Everyone around you can tell you how good you are, but if you discount this encouragement, it will never enter your head and heart. The mental game of baseball helps you build an inside-out foundation of self-approval so your confidence flows.

  5. Use Mental Rehearsal: Get a competitive advantage with your mind by playing the game in advance, using visualization. Go to the movies in your mind and mentally rehearse what you will be doing in competition. You can plan for contingencies, problems, or map out your strategy and see yourself winning before you actually do it. The mental game of baseball helps you use your imagination to great effect.

When I was at Stanford University we had a belief in our power, and in our destiny. The head coach would get up before a game and ask everyone, "You are about to go out and play in a major college baseball competition. Is there any other place you would rather be? Does it get any better than this?" The guys would then realize that it doesn't get any better than playing the game you love. The mental game of baseball helps you realize this fundamental, game-altering truth.

I want you to succeed mightily in your baseball career. I want you to reach all of your baseball potential. The mental game of baseball can help you do that in a big way.

For a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities you need an assessment instrument that identifies your complete mental strengths and weaknesses. Here is a free, easy-to-take 65-item sport psychology assessment tool you can score right on the spot. This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths and weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a guide in creating your own mental training program, or as the basis for a program you undertake with mental coach Bill Cole, MS, MA to improve your mental game. This assessment would be an excellent first step to help you get the big picture about your mental game.

Copyright © 2010 Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.

Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association, Bill is also founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is a multiple Hall of Fame honoree, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at

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