Ladson Lightning Bolts: My Site News: Five Mental Keys of an At-Bat Routine (Click Here)

Five Mental Keys of an At-Bat Routine (Click Here)
Patrick J. Cohn, Ph.D.

If have trouble focusing when you step into the batter’s box, then you would benefit from learning a simple at-bat routine. I have found that a consistent mental and physical routine can be a player’s greatest asset to help focus the mind, instill confidence, and deflect distractions. A preshot routine has three overall objectives. The first is to instill confidence and help you focus on success. The second is to focus you on the task, not the results of hitting. The last is to help you trust your skills during execution. A batting routine locks your focus into performance cues so you can be task-focused for every at bat.

A routine also should be simple and tailored to a player’s preferences, but still achieve these three primary objectives. You don’t want a batting routine that is too complex because you don’t want to focus too much on doing a complex routine. You want to simplify your batting routine so it’s easy to practice and execute. Here, I outline five important ingredients of a good preshot routine:

Ingredients of a Positive At-Bat Routine:

1.Regroup and Get Control: Outside of the box, release the last pitch, it’s over, let it go. Take a slow, deep breath as you prepare to step into the batter’s box. When you step into the box, this says your mind is clear and you are focused on the next pitch.

2. Have a Plan: Get signal from coach. Make sure you have a plan and commit to it before your step in such as “see the ball and react.” Do not proceed unless you are committed to a plan.

3. See Your Plan: Rehearse your plan. You have a few options here. See it, “feel” it, hear the ball contacting the bat, or use a combination of all! Positive image here is necessary to feel confident and commit to plan.

4. Focus on the Ball: Narrow your focus on the release point of pitcher as you settle into the box. Here, you are setting the stage to see it and react.

5. React, Just do it: React to the ball freely. What’s important is to be free, natural, and loose. Don’t “guide” the swing—trust your mechanics. You may choose a cue word or phrase to help you “let it go,” such as “hit it hard.”

If your mind wanders for any reason (including negative results) stop and refocus. For example, if your mind wanders to the last pitch or worry about not getting a hit, stop, step out of the box, and restart your routine.

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