Friday, December 15th, 2017

Use your voice to focus the mind

November 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Mental Side

How many of you can listen to someone talk and be thinking of something totally different than what the person is talking about?  If you

Try saying the word "ball" without thinking of and picturing a ball in your mind. Bet you can't do it.

are a guy, you better have your hand up because I think men are hard wired to do this.  Now … While you are talking about something, how many of you can think about something completely different than what you are talking about?  That’s a lot harder.  I’m not even sure I could do it if I wanted to.  The point is, when you speak it focuses the mind on what you are speaking about.  If you’re not the one speaking, your brain can get distracted easily and drift away from the subject.

Let’s connect this to hitting.  Many hitters complain that their mind drifts into areas they wish it didn’t when they are trying to focus on hitting the baseball.  Many sports psychologists work with players to calm their minds and use techniques to narrow the hitter’s focus when they need it the most.  One easy way to do this is say something.  

We already know that when we stay silent, our brain can drift very easily.  When we talk, it stays more focused.  If a batter is struggling with “brain drift” during a pitcher’s delivery, he could try quietly saying “ball, ball, ball” as the pitcher winds-up and delivers.  This forces the hitter’s brain to focus only on seeing the ball.  Saying what you want to focus on out loud prevents the brain from focusing on anything else.  When you say “ball,” your brain can’t help but think “ball.” This can only help a hitter.

Saying something out loud in a game might seem a little weird and might also get you some heckling from the other team or fans.  In practice, though, it’s worth a try to at least see if it’s a strategy that works for you.  If it does, you might be able to get it down to a whisper or maybe even just lip syncing the word so that you can carry it over to game situations.

Of course, this technique can be used for anyone else on the field that suffers from “brain drift.”  Just tailor the word to suit your needs.

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