Thursday, December 14th, 2017

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.  

One of the best learning/teaching tools out there

One of the best learning/teaching tools out there

 

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 senses as possible when you are trying to learn.  One of the best ways to do this is to “teach the wall.”  Even better, “teach the mirror.”

Let’s say a player is reading a book (or blog post!) about something in baseball.  After reading it (if it’s a short one) or after reading a portion of it (if it’s a long article or book), the player gets up, stands in front of the mirror, and pretends to teach the mirror what they just learned.  When this happens, several things are going on at once …

  • The player’s brain is processing the information in order to explain it back to the mirror.  Because the player cannot remember every single word, the player must rephrase the content in order to summarize it thoroughly in their own words.  Summarizing information is a great method for learning and remembering.
  • The ears are picking up the sounds of his voice so instead of just reading the words by sight, the brain is processing the information again in an auditory manner as well.
  • The player is watching himself in the mirror so if he is demonstrating what he just read as he speaks (a swing, pitching motion, etc.) then the information is encoded visually as well.
  • If the player is demonstrating the swing, pitching mechanics, etc. then he gives his body a chance to learn the information kinesthetically also.  This is particularly good for kids who are more “hands-on” learners that may not enjoy reading.  Getting up and demonstrating the information learned gives them a break from reading and also brings in other senses.

Think back to your earliest baseball memory as a child.  You probably can recall what you saw, heard, smelled, felt, and maybe even tasted.  You remember it clearly because your brain used multiple  senses to pull in and encode the information. 

The off-season is a great time for learning new things.  “Teaching the wall” might help you remember it all too!

Tomorrow’s post:  The double peek

 

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