The Importance of Routine to the Mental Game

The Importance of Routine to the Mental Game

You have heard it a million and one times, "Baseball is a mental game."  Heck, even the great Yogi Berra knew that baseball was ninety percent mental and the other half was the physical stuff. But, if we don't hone in our routines to help us prepare the mental side, the other half doesn't even matter.

From the earliest days of your baseball career, you take time to prepare your body to play.  Your T-Ball coach might have told you to, "run to the fence and back."  Your Coach Pitch coach might have started teaching you to warm up your arm. Your coach Youth coach probably had you hit some balls off a tee, and (if you were lucky) you probably hit a few in the cage.  And once you got to high school, your coach may have even had the pitcher do "special" warm-ups to get ready to be on the bump.  But if your coach isn't teaching you to develop a pre-game or even pre-practice routine that helps you to hone-in the mental side of the game, then 90% of them game is being neglected.

It doesn't matter how old you are, how much game experience you have, or even what position you are playing that day.  You NEED to have a routine that prepares you physically and mentally.  And just like your body, there are different parts of your mental game that need to get "warmed up" before you play.  There are just too many things to throw you off mentally.  Butterflies, mean coaches, yelling parents, fearing making mistakes, and more.  Baseball requires mental preparation to stay locked in to the game.

According to Human Kinetics, there are five important mental characteristics: commitment, composure, concentration, confidence, and consistency. And these five characteristics/skills are all important for an athlete to reach his/her full potential.  There are also different ways to prepare and train each of these mental characteristics, and each player might need different strategies or "workouts" to get to where they need to be.

Understanding what it takes for you to be at your peak in each of these five characteristics before a game or workout is important. Often this is a process of trial and error, and just like any other practice, documenting that will help you understand your growth and what is best for you.  A good coach can help guide you through this as well (heck at CTX Athletics, we talk about this side of baseball in every single one of our lessons and practices.)  And once you have a good understanding what works best for you, you can create a mental preparation routine that helps you dominate the diamond.

The mental side of baseball, just like the physical, is something that can be developed through practice, and a routine can get you in the right frame of mind before you play or prepare to practice.  You can even maximize time by using part of your physical warm-up routine as mental preparation as well.  In fact, some of what you are already doing might be more mental prep than you realize...if you only thought about it and the goals of what you are doing a little differently.

If you struggle with the mental side of baseball, or if you would like help developing a pre-game routine, reach out to CTX Athletics.  We have had to learn and overcome our own mental struggles when playing, and have also coached players of all ages and experience levels, with an understanding that each player is different...different struggles, different strengths, and different needs to succeed.

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