Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

Relax and withdraw

August 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Mental Side

For an athlete to be at his best, he will need to develop the ability to relax and withdraw from his environment completely as well as temporarily.      Although John Kruk once said “I’m not an athlete, I’m a ballplayer”, baseball players certainly need it too. 

Shutting out everything temporarily or completely is a skill all athletes neebaseball players certainly must develop this ability as well.

The ability to withdraw from all the distractions going on around you is key in order to give the correct focus to what you have to pay attention to.  Listening to screaming fans and parents won’t help when you are trying to see an 85 mph sinker coming at you.  During practice and games, better players usually do a better job of relaxing and withdrawing from the environment on a temporary basis than others.  When many kids are talking about their evening plans, the mentally tough player is able to block out similar thoughts in order to focus on the task at hand.  When he is done his reps or when practice is over, he can then go back and focus on his plans.

Most players know the importance of being able to relax and withdraw temporarily from the environment in order to focus on something immediate, like a pitch or a ground ball.  However, many don’t recognize the need to, and as a result struggle with, withdrawing completely.  Withdrawing from the environment completely will usually occur after a practice or game.  Some players who struggle with this often have trouble “getting over” performances and may even develop sleep problems.  Basically, they cannot turn their brain off.  They continue to analyze the game over and over in their mind and have trouble moving on to other activities in their lives. 

Like all other challenges, there are different degrees depending on the player.  Some may only have trouble withdrawing after really bad games.  Some have trouble moving on after every single performance.  The key for any player is to recognize where they are on that spectrum and develop some relaxation techniques that can help the mind shut off or move on quicker.

The next few posts will provide some techniques that athletes use to relax and withdraw temporarily as well as completely.

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