Mental Skills Manual, Part I: Introduction
by Geoff Miller, Owner, Winning Mind
When people talk about the mental game of baseball, they are talking about two basic principles: knowledge and performing under pressure. To have a strong mental game, you have to know what to do and then be able to execute on that knowledge when it counts. Most books on sport psychology offer strategies for staying focused, controlling emotions, and developing positive thinking, but they miss the big picture for getting everything out of your talent. When you are comfortable, confident, and in control on the field, you don’t need help staying focused, controlling emotions, or staying positive…those things just happen on their own. So instead of learning tricks to help you overcome the tough times, the real key to successful performance is to learn and understand where, when, why and how you experience pressure. If you can know the conditions that make you feel pressure, you can get to the root causes that get you off track and then you won’t need the short-term fixes.
Unfortunately, it takes time to sort through the complexities that make us feel pressure. We all come to the field with our own life experiences, habits, personalities, families, and preferences. And sometimes, we don’t WANT to know what’s really making us feel the way we feel. Learning to understand why we make the decisions we make and training our minds to move toward long-term success is a process that requires patience and practice.
That’s why I have designed a mental skills program that offers two approaches to developing knowledge and abilities to perform under pressure. In the long term, you need to be able to know who you are, know what you want, and know what to do if you don’t get it. And in the short term, you need to have some weapons to help you stay on track when you’re not feeling confident, comfortable, and in control while playing the game.
- Dealing with Failure
- Short-Term Skills for Performing Under Pressure
These topics are laid out in this sequence so the following can be answered:
- Know who you are
- Know what you want
- Know what to do when you don’t get it
- Know what to do in the meantime before you’ve mastered these concepts