In my work, it’s important to help ball players be aware when they are making mental errors and also provide direction. You first have to know when there is a problem before you can address it. Great hitting requires you maintain a great attitude. Confidence, trust, and focus are the keys to great hitting, but many players stifle their chances of better hitting by making too many mental errors at the plate. In this article, I discuss six typical mental errors players make at the plate. Let’s see if you are guilty of any of the following mental errors.
“Hope & Pray” Hitting
The moment the pitcher releases the ball, you just pray you can make contact with the ball. If you’re a hope hitter, you stand at the plate and strike out in your mind even before the ball crosses the plate for the first pitch. Even worse than that, you hope that you won’t have to hit again in the same inning! If you hope and pray to get a hit, you have trouble trusting your swing because you are so unsure of the outcome.
“Do or Die” Hitting
A do or die hitter focuses too much about not getting a hit and make it a dire need. If this is how you think, you worry too much about results. You always know what your batting percentage is during a game: 0-1, 1-1, 02, etc. You say to yourself “I need to get a hit.” As you focus on trying to avoid getting thrown out or popping out, this causes you to forget about execution and lose sight of what it takes to actually get a hit.
If you engage in wishy-washy hitting, you have trouble making decisions at the plate. You change your mind often about your plan when at the plate. You may decide on a strategy, but then at the last minute change your mind as you settle into the batter’s box. You have two plans in your mind, which causes doubt. Indecision and doubt kill a smooth swing, which are a hitter’s worst enemy.
If you engage in panicked hitting, you are too scared to start your swing. You panic because hitting is the weakest part of your game and you know it. You need to get a hit in order to play well. Visions of poor hitting days and strikeouts have you bewildered. Even if you gather yourself enough to take a cut at it, your muscles are too tense to make a smooth swing.
If you are a pessimistic hitter, you are streaky and rely on momentum. If you get a hit in your first at bat, you’re OK and you can play well that day. You might “run the table” if you get hot early. But if you strike out or pop out early, your game is shot. You become pessimistic and say to yourself: “I’m going to play poorly today.” You generalize based on the first at bat that you just can’t play well today and become more pessimistic.
If you are a synthetic hitter, you think too much about mechanics while you play. Your left brain, the analytical side of your mind, has you under its spell. Your hitting does not feel natural or smooth because you think too much about HOW TO swing the bat. You try to make adjustments during your swing but this only makes matters. You are so consumed with making perfect swings that you loose feel and forget about making contact with the ball.