Focusing in The Batter’s Box
What’s the difference between focusing and over-thinking in the batter’s box?
Focusing is being engrossed in a task and zeroing in on certain cues to maximize performance.
Focusing is a state of total awareness while being completely absorbed in the activity.
Over-thinking is the process of using your mind to instruct yourself, weigh options, and make decisions about execution.
Many ball players can over-think by analyzing what’s broken and trying to fix it in the middle of a game.
If over-thinking sounds complicated, it is.
Over-thinking complicates the process of hitting.
Over-thinking slows your reaction time at the plate and interferes with a smooth swing.
If you are analyzing your swing during the at-bat, it’s hard to see a fastball and react.
Over-thinking does not allow you to use your learned skills from practice.
When over-thinking, you are trapped in mechanics while attempting to perform.
When do you have time to focus on your approach to the at-bat or picking up the ball if you are over-thinking your swing?
Three mental game tips for great hitting:
- At-bat Routine – You should have the same routine prior to every pitch to quiet your mind and get you ready for the current pitch.
- Simplify your approach – Have a plan for your at-bat (i.e., move the runner into scoring position) and look for “your” pitch.
- Present Moment Focus – You want to focus your mind only on the current pitch, not the last pitch. Only the present pitch matters.
Outfielder and eight-year veteran, Angel Pagan of the San Francisco Giants understands the importance of focusing on your approach in the batter’s box.
Pagan is batting .442 in 10 games this year. Pagan credits guest instructor and former Giant Barry Bonds with his improved hitting.
“The thing I liked about his [Bonds] approach or his philosophy is that he doesn’t talk any mechanics. That’s awesome. That’s how you simplify hitting. You can teach hitting a million ways, but the best way to teach hitting is to simplify it … by talking about approach.”
Pagan highlighted the difference between over-thinking (mechanics) and focusing on approach.
“Mechanics can take you very far from the reality of what hitting is. Hitting is a feeling. If you have the right mentality to hitting, once you feel good, you’re going to go off.”
You want to work on your approach to the at-bat and your routine when doing batting practice so you routine will feel in-sync when you play the game.
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