Pre-game routine- have you ever wondered how to prepare for a baseball game besides just taking batting practice and infield? If you really want to take it to the next level, you need to have a pre-game routine. It all starts hours before you even show up to the ballpark. When I played in the major leagues, my routine started at home after getting up for the day. And as the day progressed, I slowly started to slip into my mental preparation or pre-game routine. The closer it got to going to the ballpark, the more I concentrated and visualized who I would be facing. You should have an idea of what you are going to be dealing with and you slowly prepare for it as the day goes on.
Understanding the opposition- This goes along with the pre-game routine. As you are concentrating more and more, you are focusing on the opposition. Are they throwing a hard throwing pitcher that day? Or is the pitcher someone who likes to throw a lot of off-speed pitches?
This means you need to be focusing on taking the ball the other way. This would start in your pre-game routine of visualizing, then carry onto the field when you start taking batting practice. Understanding the opponent will help you immensely in your preparation.
Mental preparation, putting it all together. You woke up today and you know that you are facing a hard throwing opponent. You are focusing your attention on what you need to do to be successful against him. You start visualizing being short to the ball (short swing) and you start visualizing how you are going to practice before the game. You see yourself being a little quicker to the ball and shorter to the ball. In other words, you are mentally preparing for the game the right way!
Visualization- one of the key elements to baseball psychology and success. I cannot say enough about visualizing your success. Have you ever seen yourself being successful at something? How did it feel? Have you ever heard of someone describing a big hit they had? You will often hear them say it was like they already saw it happening as it was happening. This is visualization. You see yourself hitting someone in a key situation before it happens and you are instilling success! Learn to visualize. All the great players use visualization to see the end result.
Understand the "whys". What I mean is you need to comprehend what is happening when you are playing. I will give you an example. You take a swing at a pitch that was right down the middle and you foul it straight back to the backstop. The crowd is yelling load at the mighty swing. You are excited and you think to yourself that I just missed that pitch. You know what? Here is the difference between a 350 hitter and a 250 hitter. The 350 hitter will understand the why. The great hitters after just fouling off the pitch, will step out of the batters box and figure out why they missed it and make the correction right on the spot. They will visualize themselves hitting that same pitch again only not missing it this time. They will take a practice swing with the right mindset this time, step back in the batters box and absolutely rip the next pitch if they throw it again. Did you see the difference and what happened? They understand the whys involved. And so can you.
These are five good examples of how you can improve your game immensely and take it to the next level. Baseball psychology plays a big role in your development on the field but is one the least things addressed. If you apply these five examples you will undoubtedly improve your game and prepare yourself for success.