Balance and the brain in baseball
The human body is an incredible machine. Take balance as an example. When we perform a task such as walking, our body and brain are performing an amazing number of things to make sure we stay in balance. Balance is so central to our
functioning that our body and brain takes care of it all without us having to give it any thought. It just works.
Until it doesn’t.
We’ve all tripped or stumbled and lost our balance. Remember the feeling? We get startled and for a split second we get an intense wave of shock and fear until we regain our balance. The process that causes that is pretty amazing as well. When we lose our balance, another amazing thing happens. We stop thinking. It doesn’t matter what we were thinking about just before stumbling. When we lose our balance, internal alarms scream and wipe our mind clear of any thoughts we were having. It’s the body’s way of saying that absolutely nothing is as important as regaining your balance.
In baseball, young players often have a problem with balance. Pitchers are off balance when they deliver to home plate. Batters are off balance in their stance and therefore in their swing as well. Fielders don’t use the proper footwork when approaching ground balls and trip over themselves.
As I said earlier, every time we are not in balance the body shuts down our thinking so that all the focus goes into regaining and stabilizing our balance. That’s not good if you are a baseball player. To be good at the game, a player has to think clearly to constantly process new information that is coming in as the play develops. That cognitive processing cannot happen if players are falling over themselves. Their body just won’t allow it.
Regardless of the activity the player is performing, focus must always be given to making sure proper balance is achieved .
Tomorrow’s post: Young arms – overuse and specialization