Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

The good news about fear

November 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Mental Side, Off-Season

Fear is one of the basic features of our hard-wiring that has allowed human beings to last as long as we have.  Fear and all the physiological responses to it – increased heart rate, quick shallow breathing, the adrenaline dump, an increase in body temperature, etc. – are all warning signs to us that something […]

Embarrass yourself before someone else does

October 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Mental Side

Ever get called out by a coach or a teammate?  Play long enough and every player will have that happen to them at least once.  It could be a teammate who jumps you for not running hard down the line.  It could be a coach jumping you for not trusting your stuff and becoming timid […]

The importance of being aggressive early at the plate

July 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting, Mental Side

As all of my readers know, baseball is a very cerebral game.  The difference between winning and losing & succeeding and failing at the game often is more about what is going on between the ears and not in the physical things you can see.  No area of the game is immune to this either. […]

Sometimes you have to pack the parachutes

July 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Make Up, Mental Side

I recently heard an inspiring true story from a friend/coach.   It goes like this … Captain Charlie Plumb was a fighter pilot in the 60’s during the Vietnam War.  While on a mission, his jet was shot down.  He was able to eject but unfortunately for him, he had to parachute down into enemy […]

Pitchers and the Spotlight Effect

May 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Mental Side, Pitching

If you ever took a psychology course then you probably know that there are many things that can impact how we perceive the world around us.  Quite often our perceptions are flawed as a result.  Concepts like confirmation bias, the fundamental attribution error, and hindsight bias are just a few of the things that humans […]

Color Coded Mindsets For Baseball

March 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Mental Side

If you have been in the Marines or are in the gun world, you probably have heard of Colonel Jeff Cooper.  Cooper was considered to be one of the world’s top experts on the use and history of small arms (handguns). Among many of his books was one that introduced a color coding system to teach […]

Just “tie your shoes”

March 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting, Mental Side

This is the last post in a series of recent posts on the importance of creating a routine as a hitter.  The previous posts on the subject are linked here: What is your hitting routine? What are YOUR players doing on deck? A hitter’s routine and muscle memory Why do players choke? Today’s post gives […]

Why do players choke?

March 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting, Mental Side

Today’s post is in a series of posts dedicated to hitters who can benefit from a routine prior to their at-bats.  The prior three posts related to this topic are linked below.  The final one in the series will be Friday. What is your hitting routine? What are YOUR hitters doing on deck? A hitter’s […]

A hitter’s routine and Muscle Memory

March 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting, Mental Side

Two of last week’s posts centered around the importance of hitters developing a personalized routine to prepare for at-bats.  If you did not get a chance to see them, you can click on their titles below. What is your hitting routine? What are YOUR players doing on deck? Today’s post sets us up for the […]

FELT goals for baseball success

March 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Make Up, Mental Side

Baseball is quite possibly the most confidence and esteem crushing sport in existence.  No other sports punishes players for doing everything right.  A batter perfectly approaches a tough slider down and away and smokes a line drive to the opposite field gap.  Since the shift was on, the outfielder takes two steps and catches the […]

Make a deposit every game

February 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Mental Side

Go to any book store and you will see tons of books related to financial success.  Each one claims to have the secret formula to reaching your financial dreams.  I’m no financial wizard but I do know the #1 rule when it comes to money.   “Spend less than you make.” My parents taught me […]

The And-1 mentality

February 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Make Up, Mental Side

Kyrie Irving takes it down, he’s looking to get it to Lebron.  He dishes it off to Kyle Korver.  Bounce pass to Kevin Love.  Back to Irving.  He get’s it out to Korver at the 3-point line.  Doesn’t have a shot.  Lebron is fighting for position underneath.  Pass over to Irving.  He drives to the […]

Who are you chasing?

January 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Make Up, Mental Side

We’ve all seen many underdog players or teams overachieve.  On the flip side, we’ve also seen many incredibly talented players and teams underachieve.  Both seem to happen so often that there must be a reason. Of course, there is never just one answer but if I had to pick one that stands out the most […]

Burn the boats!

January 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Mental Side, Off-Season

Some seniors in college know for sure that pro ball is in their future.  Some know that pro ball is definitely not going to be an option.  This post is for players who are stuck in between.  Some of you who know your military history may know what “burn the boats!” means.  If not, “burn […]

Get better through observation

December 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Mental Side, Practice

When Tiger Woods was a young child and being watched by his father, he would often be put in a high-chair so dad could practice his golf swing.  For safety reasons, Tiger’s dad didn’t want little Tiger to be walking around while dad was swinging a golf club.  The high-chair kept him safe.  It may have […]

Tips for the showcase circuit

September 13, 2016 by  
Filed under Mental Side, Misc

It’s showcase season! The Fall is when many high school players hit the showcase circuit in the attempts to woo a college or pro scout into giving up some money.  If you are already a selfish, “me only” player then you may stop reading and move on to another activity.  You won’t learn anything new […]

Mind your BEE’s

July 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Coaching, Make Up, Mental Side

For the last couple years I have coached my young son’s 8u/9u travel baseball team at the end of his rec seasons.  That age group brings many challenges but one of the toughest is trying to get them to move on from the game’s inevitable adversities and stay positive.  Easier said than done because if […]

We’re good, Sir.

April 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Make Up, Mental Side

Like many guys, I am fascinated by military special forces.  If I see a book about them, I pick it up.  If one is interviewed in a podcast, I download and listen.  It may be the training.  Maybe it’s the mental toughness. Every time I read or listen I pick up something new that I […]

What is your unfair advantage?

January 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Make Up, Mental Side, Practice

When I was 12 years old, I remember pitching in a game with the winning run on third base with the game all tied up.  There were less than two outs and if the runner scored, the other team would win in walk off fashion.  I decided to go from the wind-up thinking that if the […]

Add some problem solving to your drills

December 9, 2015 by  
Filed under Coaching, Mental Side

“I am so sick and tired of my players not being able to think for themselves.  They sit back and just wait for me to tell them what to do all the time.” Sound familiar? I’m sure it does.  Every coach deals with that dilemma.  So how can a coach address it rather than just […]

World Series insights – Game 3 & 4

BONUS SUNDAY POST! These insights from Game 3 and 4 of the current World Series between the Mets and the Royals are in no particular order.  Once again, I provide links to posts and videos I’ve previously done that expand on these ideas.  Enjoy! Game 3: The Met’s catcher made a big mistake and let […]

Why won’t he talk to me? Advice for baseball moms

March 12, 2015 by  
Filed under Mental Side

How many of you baseball moms out there have experienced something like the following … Your son comes home from a game.  It is obvious that he is upset.  Maybe an 0-4 with three strikeouts.  Maybe got pulled from the mound in the 1st inning.  Maybe a crucial base running mistake in the last inning.  Who […]

The three opponents you face every game

November 18, 2014 by  
Filed under Make Up, Mental Side

Three years ago I wrote a very popular post called The game is your toughest opponent.  It’s worth reading if you haven’t already because it’s a good message to players about what they should be focussing on during games. But I have to confess that I think I was wrong.  The game is not your […]

Talk to yourself but don’t listen

November 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Mental Side

How many times have you heard that little voice in your head say things like “You suck!” or “How could you not throw a strike?” or “0 for 4… You’ll never be any good at this game.” or “How did you miss that pitch?”   I don’t know about you but that inner demon inside my […]

There is no top of the ladder

November 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Mental Side

A lot of people out there would like to climb the “ladder of success.”  Here’s a little secret … There is no ladder. A ladder implies vertical movement.  Up or down.  That’s not how the game works.  Although the levels of the game do appear to be like a ladder, a player’s progress (and many […]

A baseball lesson from election day

November 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Make Up, Mental Side

HEADS UP!!  A special offer for subscribers of the site is coming within a week!  Become a subscriber if you haven’t already!  Scroll under my photo on the right to subscribe! Now, back to today’s post! As a social studies teacher I take a keen interest in the political process.  When I see the percentage […]

Are you an Infantry player or Special Ops?

October 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, Mental Side

There are many different roles in the military and all are necessary for a fighting force to be at its best.  Infantry and special operations are two of them.  Infantry has been called the “tip of the spear” since they are often the first sent into battle.  They frequently are sent out to search for […]

I hate this vs I don’t want to be here

October 29, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, Mental Side

How do you know when you are burnout and had enough with baseball? It doesn’t matter whether you are a player or a coach, there are some days that will drive you to say “What am I doing?”  I think Crash Davis put it best when he said “F— this F-ing game.  I quit.” after […]

Great from pitch #1

October 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Mental Side, Pitching

 Game #1 of the World Series has come and gone but hopefully the lesson learned has not.  James Shields, the starter for the Royals, gave up three quick runs in the first inning.  The Giants cruised from there to a 7-1 victory.  As I write this, they are one game away from winning the World […]

Giving 110%

October 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Mental Side

Everyone has their pet-peeves.  As a social studies teacher, my pet-peeve is when people screw up their geography.  Someone from Philadelphia says “This weekend I’m going down to New York City.”  No, Sparky.  NYC is north and therefore “UP” not “DOWN.” Of course, English teachers have about a gazillion pet-peeves when people write and talk. […]

Drills to prevent reflexive looks

October 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, Mental Side

In my psychology classes, there is an activity I do to teach about reflexes.  I have the students line up with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them.  I give a signal to the last person in line and they lightly squeeze the shoulders of the person in front of […]

How important is the right gear?

October 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Make Up, Mental Side

To answer that question, let me put it this way …. If you want to excel at anything, you have to have these four things: Mindset Tactics Skills Gear And most importantly, they stay in that order of importance! Let’s take each one individually and apply it to baseball. Mindset.  Baseball is a very tough […]

The most annoying thing about private lessons

October 2, 2014 by  
Filed under Make Up, Mental Side

For many years I gave quite a few private lessons to players of all age groups every week.  In fact, I look back on my daily schedule of teaching all day and giving private lessons four weeknights per week, all day Saturday, and most of the day on Sunday and can’t understand how I did […]

Your imaginary opponent

October 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Mental Side

If you are a player who has average to below-average ability then deciding who your opponent is is fairly easy.  It’s the guy playing ahead of you or that good pitcher on the other team you are about to play.  Every time you take a rep in practice or in your own backyard you clearly […]

Awareness pays off for one MLB player

September 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, Mental Side

The MLB regular season is fast coming to a close and several teams are battling it out for the last playoff spots.  One such fight is between the Detroit Tigers and the Kansas City Royals.  As I write this, the Tigers have a 1.5 game lead over the Royals in the American League Central Division.  […]

Awareness Game #3

September 22, 2014 by  
Filed under Mental Side

My past two posts have been about two games that players and coaches can play during games to improve field awareness.  Today is Part 3 of a three part series and involves another game that players can play in their minds while watching a game.  I guess it could be called the announcer game. Being […]

Awareness Game #1

September 18, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, Mental Side

I live in Pennsylvania but a growing number of people are moving to our country’s 51st state – the State of Oblivion.  For a variety of reasons, people seem to be less aware of what is going on around them.  I think the cell phone is the biggest culprit.  Everyday in school, hundreds of teenagers […]

Baseball and the OODA Loop

September 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, Mental Side

September 1st of last week was the anniversary of the start of World War II.  After the war officially ended, a young man by the name of John Boyd enlisted into the Army out of high school and later entered the Air Force after college.  Little did people know that Boyd would go on to […]

Improve your practices with “Contextual Interference”

September 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Hitting, Mental Side

Psychologists have long wondered how people learn and remember things.  Teachers as well as coaches also have an incentive to find those answers.  Often what we do in the classroom and on the field is geared towards teaching new information with the goal of long-term retention.  Unfortunately, lots of psychological studies seem to indicate that […]

Teach the wall how to play baseball

August 27, 2014 by  
Filed under Mental Side, Off-Season

If you ever took a psychology class you probably did a unit on learning and maybe another on memory.  I cover both in my AP Psych classes.     There are many concepts within both units that could help baseball players learn the game quicker but I’ll focus on just one – use as many […]

Baseball Hardware vs Baseball Software

June 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Make Up, Mental Side

The 2014 MLB Amateur Draft has ended and hundreds of young men are probably thrilled beyond belief.  I know I was back in 1989.  When I got the call from the Twins organization that they had selected me, I hung up the phone after the conversation and just stood there in silence for a few […]

Recognize abnormal

June 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Mental Side

When a coach or player is said to have good instincts, there are many things one can point to as proof.  In my opinion, most of it involves good “situational awareness.”  In other words, a good sense of what is happening around them.  A mother “with eyes on the back of her head” is an […]

Assessing a rough season

May 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, Mental Side

As the high school/community season ends and the summer season starts, it’s important to assess how things have gone so far and decide how to precede the rest of the way.  Hopefully things have gone well up until now.  If that’s the case, keep doing what you are doing!  If not, you really should do […]

Baseball and Wall Street

April 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, Mental Side

When it comes to investing, some people are long-term investors.  They continually put money in the market and don’t worry so much about the daily, weekly, or even yearly ups and downs and just focus on where they want to be in 20-40 years down the road.  When looking at the following picture, long-term investors focus […]

Poor weather practices

March 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, Mental Side

I remember playing a AA game way back in 1992 in Huntsville, AL.  It was early April and it was very cold in Huntsville.  The temperature was in the mid-40’s around game time.  After spending a month in spring training in warm temperatures, that series in Huntsville was not a picnic. I remember seeing teammates […]

Breaking games up into sets

March 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Mental Side, Pitching

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! The other day I was watching a spring training game on TV.  Orel Hershiser and the other announcer were talking about how the pitcher in the game had a history of giving up runs early before settling down.  The other announcer asked Hershiser how he personally dealt with giving up a […]

Adrenaline dumps

January 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Hitting, Mental Side

In stressful situations, the body dumps adrenaline and noradrenaline into the bloodstream.  Both are extremely powerful hormones that basically get our body ready to fight.  Our heart rate increases, our blood pressure goes up, our breathing becomes more rapid, our analytical mind is less effective, etc.     The problem is that the body does […]

No dimmer switches

December 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Mental Side

In my house, like many houses, I have several dimmer switches that regulate how much light I want turned on.  These are great for homes but not so good for a player’s mentality on the field.  Unfortunately, many players play the game with a “dimmer switch” mentality.  In short, they are constantly stuck in between.  […]

Injuries: One week or one month?

September 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Mental Side

About 10 days ago one of my daughters got a horrible gash on her leg that required an emergency room visit and five stitches.  She is fine but her experience since then has caused her a lot grief.  Because of her injury and the stitches, she has been unable to start up her new dance […]

Because you just never know

September 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Make Up, Mental Side

Here is a story about a former player of mine that should be a lesson for all young players.  This player had a good high school career but even though he went to a Division I college, it certainly was not a top-teir one.  That’s because he wasn’t the 6’3″ blue chipper with the 90+ […]

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