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The Complete Mental Game of Baseball: Taking Charge of the Process , On and Off the Field [NOOK Book]

Overview

The Complete Mental Game is a comprehensive instructional system to guide the baseball player --- at any competitive level---- to take chagre of the process of playing the game, on and off the baseball diamond. Through this book, the baseball player will learn to establish a consistent approach to their continuous development and improvement, not only as a player but also as a person. The book includes guidelines methods and procedures so that the baseball player will learn how to do the following:

* Understand ...

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The Complete Mental Game of Baseball: Taking Charge of the Process , On and Off the Field

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Overview

The Complete Mental Game is a comprehensive instructional system to guide the baseball player --- at any competitive level---- to take chagre of the process of playing the game, on and off the baseball diamond. Through this book, the baseball player will learn to establish a consistent approach to their continuous development and improvement, not only as a player but also as a person. The book includes guidelines methods and procedures so that the baseball player will learn how to do the following:

* Understand their personality, core values, strong points and limitations--- the player as a Person

* Cope effectively with negative people , places, and things that can put them at risk, while developing a posituve support system---the player as a "Coper"

* Buy into something larger than the individal-- the player as a Teamnate

* Enage prodictively in preparing for each game,, take their preapration into the game, be an accurate self evalautor, and make effective adjustments -- the player as a Performer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781463402198
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Publication date: 7/14/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 599,888
  • File size: 605 KB

Read an Excerpt

THE COMPLETE MENTAL GAME OF BASEBALL

Taking Charge of the Process, On and Off the Field
By Charlie Maher

AuthorHouse

Copyright © 2011 Dr. Charlie Maher
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4634-0221-1


Chapter One

The Three Sides of Baseball

There are three sides to the game of baseball. They are the physical side, the fundamental side, and the mental side. The physical side has to do with your physical condition. The fundamental side involves your baseball skills. The mental side covers your thoughts, emotions, and actions.

The three sides of the game—physical, mental, and fundamental—all are relevant to your development, performance, and success as a baseball player. If you expect to be a good baseball player, or a great one, you cannot neglect any of the three sides of baseball.

How good you are at each side of baseball contributes to your overall game. This is the case no matter who you are or whether you are a pitcher or a position player. It does not matter if you are a starter, role player, or a utility specialist.

Your understanding and appreciation of the three sides of the game also applies to you, no matter what your current level of competitive play—high school, college, or professional—and no matter the win- loss record of your team, or the time of the year.

If you want to be the best baseball player possible, all three sides of the game must be taken into account by you, the baseball player. The three sides of baseball to which I am referring are:

1. Physical Side: This side includes your core muscular strength, flexibility, quickness, cardiovascular fitness, nutrition, and other physical areas.

2. Fundamental Side: This side has to do with the specific baseball skills that you need to possess in order to be effective in your role and position. The fundamental side includes skill areas involved with hitting, fielding, throwing, base running, catching, and pitching.

3. Mental Side: This is the side that has to do with your thoughts, emotions, and actions and how you use them, both on the baseball diamond and off of it. This side of the game is what this book is about and it is being referred in this book as the Complete Mental Game.

These three sides of the game of baseball are illustrated by the equal-sided triangle, seen as Figure 1.1.

Each of these three sides of baseball is important to your development, performance, and success as a baseball player.

Interactions of the Three Sides of the Game

The three sides of the game of baseball interact with one another in many important ways. These interactions have an effect on you and how you play the game.

Just how you go about developing and improving yourself in relation to one side of the game will affect the other two sides, either for the better or in ways that can limit your performance.

For example, consider the baseball player who is sound interms of the fundamental side of the game. This player possesses good fundamentals for his position and consistently demonstrates these fundamentals on the field. He is solid in his approach to hitting and he is able to field his position, say third base.

However, if this player is not physically in condition to play a full game at third base, or if he is too tired to put up quality at bats, or to field his position, then both the fundamental side of his game and the mental side of his game are likely to be affected, probably for the worst, thereby limiting the player's performance.

Because this baseball player is not in good physical shape, he will not have the stamina to compete effectively throughout the contest, inning to inning. As the game proceeds, his hitting and his third base play, although sound fundamentally, may likely become less efficient and become more inconsistent, due to physical and mental fatigue.

In contrast, consider the starting pitcher who is physically in very good condition. If his fundamental side is not sufficiently developed, however, like if he does not have command of his pitches due to poor delivery mechanics, then this pitcher's overall performance probably will be inconsistent. Or, if this pitcher is not in control of his emotions, then his delivery may very likely be rushed, resulting in lack of command of his pitches.

As another example: If a position player, or a pitcher, has not developed the mental side of his game—which is the focus of this book—the physical and fundamental aspects of the player's game also will be negatively affected.

On the other hand, though, if a baseball player takes into account all three sides of the game—the physical, fundamental, and mental—and works at developing them all, then this individual's overall progress as a player and his day to day performance will most likely be enhanced.

More often than not, the player who addresses all three sides of the game will continue to get closer to realizing his potential as a baseball player. This will be the case since all three sides are being developed and working in coordination with one another.

Prevent the Shortchanging of Your Development

In the Complete Mental Game, there is clear recognition that all three sides of the game—the physical, mental, and fundamental—are equally important. This means that all three sides require your continued attention, practice, monitoring, and adjustment.

This kind of personal attention on your part is never ending and this is the case whether you are a high school player, a college competitor, or a major leaguer.

In essence, you cannot shortchange yourself in any of the three sides of the game. One side of the game is not better than the other. Instead, all sides are important; all deserve appropriate attention, time, and effort.

The individual who plays the Complete Mental Game embraces all three sides of the game of baseball and strives to be the best that he can be in each area.

Table 1.1 summarizes essential areas which comprise each side of the game of baseball.

The rest of this current chapter will briefly review some basic areas and qualities for each side of the game.

The remaining chapters of the book, then, will cover in detail the mental side of the game.

The Physical Side

The physical side of baseball has to do with your natural athleticism and other physical characteristics.

Without doubt, your muscles and their muscular strength are important to how you perform. Likewise, your heart and its cardio vascular functioning are essential aspects of your physical development.

In addition to muscular strength, the flexibility of your joints, and your physical quickness, particularly first step quickness, are necessary for success in baseball.

Other dimensions of the physical side which are important to a baseball player include vision, diet, nutrition, the neurological area, and overall general health.

In terms of the development of the physical side of your game, you need to make the mental and emotional commitment to make sure that your physical strength and condition are the best that they can be.

In order to make sure that physical side of the game has an important place, all professional baseball organizations, most college baseball programs, and an increasing number of high school programs have strength and conditioning coaches as part of their staffs.

Many of these programs also have added a nutritional consultant as part of their support services to their player.

The Fundamental Side

The fundamental side of the game of baseball is, of course, where most of the attention is given to the player and his development.

This attention is natural and warranted since, without an appropriate level of fundamental skills, it will be difficult for any player to be competitive on a consistent basis and not overmatched.

The fundamental side of the game is basic to success on the field. In this regard, you are encouraged to make sure that you are developing and applying the proper mechanics and skills for playing the game, both offensively and defensively.

The fundamental side of the game can be divided into a number of important skill areas, referred to as baseball skills.

For position players, these baseball skill areas encompass hitting, bunting, fielding, base running and base stealing.

For pitchers, sound delivery mechanics can be considered as a basic fundamental skill. In addition, pitchers need to be skilled at other things particularly fielding their position and controlling the running game.

In terms of the development of your fundamental baseball skills—no matter what your position—you also need to be able to adopt a listen and learn attitude.

The kind of commitment that you need to make to the successful development of the fundamental side of your game requires a willingness on your part to want to strive to get better and to never take anything for granted.

As a baseball player gets older and matures both physically and mentally, some fundamental skill areas will decline. As a result, other baseball skills will need to take precedence. This progression and decline will occur as part of your game, if it already has not happened yet.

The baseball player must be ready, willing, and able to change in the fundamental side of the game, to make continuous improvements and adjustments.

The Mental Side

The mental side of the game, of course, is the focus of this book. The remaining chapters will be devoted to all aspects of the mental side of the game.

In and of itself, the mental side of baseball can also be represented as a triangle, also with three equal sides.

The three sides of the mental part of the game have to do with three basic ingredients. These are your thoughts, emotions, and actions. These are three of your most important assets as a baseball player and as a person.

One of the great things about the mental side of baseball is that you are able to influence and use your thoughts, emotions, and actions to your competitive advantage ... if you want to and know how.

Taking charge of the process of playing baseball involves taking charge of your thoughts, emotions, and actions. This book is about how to take charge of the process.

The diagram representing the basic ingredients of the mental side of the game of baseball is seen as Figure 1.2

The three aspects of the mental side of baseball are your thoughts, emotions, and actions. How you use your thoughts, emotions, and actions will, in large part, determine how you will function, both on and off the baseball diamond.

Your thoughts are the vision, images, and words that you produce while preparing for competition. Your thoughts have a lot to do with the quality of how you are actually engaged in playing the game, and at other times in your life off the field.

Some of the thoughts that you experience are helpful to you and are considered positive thoughts. For example, thinking that you have prepared well for an upcoming game and that you are ready to compete from the first pitch on will help to give you confidence and focus.

Other thoughts, however, can serve to limit your performance and these are negative or self-defeating thoughts. Examples of negative thinking are thoughts such as worrying about getting out of the inning rather than focusing on the upcoming pitch. Negative thoughts can undermine the performance of a pitcher, or a position player, very easily and quickly at that.

In addition, the quality of the thoughts which a baseball player has affects how he reasons while he is competing, as well as how he goes about solving problems and making decisions, off the baseball diamond. When the player's thoughts are objective and not unduly influenced by emotions, the player's decision making is likely to be clear and effective, more often than not.

Your emotions have to do with the things that you are sensing and feeling, before, during, and after the game. Emotions include what you are experiencing, both on and off the field. In this regard, your emotions may be described as being positive or negative and productive or unproductive in terms of your performance.

Examples of positive emotions that affect you, the baseball player, are your passion for playing the game, joy about winning a close game, and appreciation for working hard and making the team.

Examples of negative emotions which can affect your play are becoming angry at striking out as part of an at-bat, frustration when not getting hitters out as a pitcher, and jealousy when a teammate gets attention from others such as the media.

Your actions reflect behaviors such as implementing a pre-game routine, following through on your plan for an at-bat, staying away from bars, clubs, and people who do not have your best intentions at heart, and saying no to drugs of abuse and other banned substances.

Thoughts, emotions, and actions affect and influence how the baseball player, including you, prepares, competes, and evaluates his performance. They are basic ingredients of the mental side of the game.

The Complete Mental Game is based on recognition that your thoughts, emotions, and actions are very important personal assets. They can be developed, refined, and improved, day in and day out, both on and off the baseball diamond. You have the responsibility to make your thoughts, emotions, and actions work for you.

Exercises

1. What does the game of baseball mean to you? What attracted the game? Why do you persist in playing it?

2. If the game of baseball ended tomorrow—that is, there was no more sport of baseball—what would you do with the time that you devote to the game?

3. How would you size up your physical development? How much time do you spend on it? What has deterred you from getting better physically?

4. What about the fundamental side of your game? What are you satisfied with in terms of your fundamental development? What are you less than satisfied with? What are your intentions in terms of your fundamental development and improvement?

5. How much time have you spent on the mental side of your game? Who has been helpful to you in its development? How much time do you think that you should put into your mental development?

6. What would you like to learn more about in terms of the mental side of the game?

7. How would you describe yourself at this time as a baseball player? How would you like to describe yourself as a baseball player in a few years? At the conclusion of your baseball career?

Chapter Two

Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions

Baseball is not an easy game to play, at any level. In baseball, you will fail more than you will succeed. Making solid contact with the ball with two men on base and two outs, for example, takes confidence, focus, and a disciplined approach. Likewise, throwing a change up in a three and two count requires composure. Turning a double play is not a walk in the park, especially when a runner is heading right into you.

The game of baseball is hard and demanding. To have success as a baseball player requires development in the three sides of the game—top physical condition, solid fundamentals, and effective mental skills.

Despite the difficulties involved in playing baseball, the game can be an enjoyable experience, especially when you develop and use all of the assets which are at your beck and call.

With respect to the Complete Mental Game, there are three important personal assets that you can take advantage of—leverage to your benefit—if you want to be deal successfully with the ups and downs of the game, its success and failures.

The three personal assets that you have at your disposal as a baseball player, and as a person who plays baseball, are the following:

1. Your thoughts—the images, words, and ideas that you think about and tell yourself about, both on and off the field.

2. Your emotions—the effort and energy that you sense and feel when you are playing baseball as well as at other times and in other places, off the field.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from THE COMPLETE MENTAL GAME OF BASEBALL by Charlie Maher Copyright © 2011 by Dr. Charlie Maher. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Preface....................vii
Acknowledgements....................xvii
1. The Three Sides of Baseball....................3
2. Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions....................13
3. The Process of Playing the Game....................25
4. The Complete Mental Game Blueprint....................35
5. Perspective: Balancing Baseball with Your Life....................59
6. Personal Awareness: Knowing Your Strong Points and Limitations....................73
7. Self-Motivation: Setting and Pursuing Goals....................87
8. Mental Discipline: Having a Plan and Following It....................105
9. Self-Confidence: Believing inYour Capacity to Compete....................125
10. Emotional Intensity: Giving Consistent Energy and Effort....................139
11. Focus: Paying Attention to What Matters in the Moment....................151
12. Composure: Remaining Poised Under Pressure....................169
13. Teamwork: Relating Productively to Teammates, Coaches, and Others....................187
14. Self-Esteem: Being a Good Separator....................203
15. Performance Accountability: Taking Responsibility for Your Results....................219
16. Continuous Improvement: Striving to Get Better....................231
About the Author....................241
Appendix A: The Complete Mental Game of Baseball Checklist....................243
References....................247
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