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What are some of the ways you block out all your negative thoughts and relax. I'm a junior and put a ton of work in outside of the season but because of this I tend to put pressure on myself especially this year since junior year is so crucial for college. When I don't meet my expectations I lose confidence and negative thoughts start coming. I then tend to obsess over things or feel like I have to prove myself. Idk I've been trying to change the attitude but its quite hard. Any Suggestions or help?

Success takes Sacrifice

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First of all, congratulate yourself for recognizing this and seeking assistance. I wish I had more time to be more specific but it seems like you are a "thinker" which means you tend to be distracted by your own thoughts as opposed to external distractions. Much of the information out there will have a player focus inward if they are distracted by external things and have them focus on something external if they are distracted inward. The key for you is stopping the negative self-talk and redirecting it. Research things like "perfectionism" and "negative self talk" and see what you find. I'll add some things later.
My blog has a section of posts on the mental side of the game. It has some other resources as well that might help.
Jake, yes, you've identified a not-so-commonly taught skill in baseball: how to block out unwanted thoughts during performance time periods. It's tricky! Meachrm had it right that reducing the "thinking" needs to happen in order for you to block things out of your head.

I've got a couple aritcles (below) I've written that will make a lot of sense. Read them and then ask further questions if you need to.

One great resource I've found on this topic actually comes from a tennis book I read, The Inner Game of Tennis. It's been the best resource on explaining how to block thoughts I've come across yet. It's short and well worth the read. It's easy to translate the ideas to baseball from tennis as well.

Here are the articles I've written.

The Battle For Your Thoughts

Shutting Your Brain Down
Tim Gallwey was ahead of his time with this book (circa 1972?) My dad was a tennis player and suggeste dthat it could help my hitting when I was a boy as there wasn't much about thi stopic from the baseball side.

Ken Ravizza and Harvey Dorfman come to mind if you are looking for baseball specific applications. Also the Science of Hitting has some very good stuff on Mental aspects although it is not as "scientific" as some of the more recent publications. You can see why Ted Williams was a great hitter!

Some books I have use din my instruction and that I feel are beneficial to the mental side! All are available from Amazon.

The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance Karl Kuehl (Author), Harvey A. Dorfman (Author)

The Mental Keys to Hitting: A Handbook of Strategies for Performance Enhancement Harvey A. Dorfman (Author)

Coaching the Mental Game: Leadership Philosophies and Strategies for Peak Performance in Sports and Everyday Life [Paperback]
Harvey A. Dorfman (Author)

The Mental ABC's of Pitching: A Handbook for Performance Enhancement H. A. Dorman (Author)

Science of Hitting Science of Hitting
Ted Williams (Author)
John Underwood (Author)

Heads-Up Baseball : Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time Tom Hanson (Author)
Ken Ravizza (Author)

Mental Toughness: Baseball's Winning Edge Karl Kuehl (Author), John Kuehl (Author), Casey Tefertiller (Author)

Number 1, you are not alone my friend. Everyone handles this differently, but normally it starts in the dugout/on deck circle with deep breathing to help you relax and gather your thoughts. Once in the box, continue with your breathing with one thought of seeing the ball. Laser Focus! All else should be blocked out. Work on this in BP sessions and I think your AB's will improve in game situations. Be patient, it will take time.

Baseba777, yes, well ahead of his time on that book. I remember looking at various mental books in HS and college and was discouraged by some of the heavy scientific reading I found. This is one of the main reasons I like Gallwey's approach. It's a simple read for a high school student. You've got some good resources listed in your post, especially the Science of Hitting by Williams. It's got pictures Smile
That is why I love the game of baseball! It is a very cerebral sport that seems boring to many casual observers. There are so many smaller mental games going on within the actual game that when learning techniques to cope or adjust to them, provide a player with the mental skills to incorporate yto their physical tools.

If you can deal with the mental side of the game of baseball you can deal with life!
Thanks for all the help I have recieved so far it has been helpful,

Nate, your college teammate in your article "Shutting Your Brain Down" is exactly how I am minus his temper.
This kid would strike out and take it so heavy that he would storm back to the dugout throwing his helmet on the way. Afterward, we’d sometimes chat out in the field while we were shagging balls. He’d say, ‘Nate, what’s going on with my swing? Why am I not making contact?” I’d usually respond with a couple small things I could see and he’d tell me thanks and off he’d go. Then I’d see him working later on some of the things we had talked about; except it looked weird and overly-mechanical when he did it. Now that I look back it was clear that he was spending so much mental energy THINKING about the mechanics problems he was having that he failed to really let his body remember how the movements were supposed to be. Therefore, his muscle memory always took a back seat to his brain

So what I now believe I need to do is: change my negative self talk therefore improving my confidence, relax and not paralyze myself through my thoughts, and work on my beathing techniques.

Btw, Is it normal to obsess over baseball and my performance in general. It's like constantly on my mind, I'm guessing thats part of the problem.
Last edited by jakewestphal
Yes, you got it. Reduce the distractions in your mind by using some of the techniques mentioned, and that will allow you to relax more and perform how your body has been trained to perform.

I used to think about hitting the baseball all the time every day through college and into pro ball. Baseball was a large part of my day and occupied my thoughts often when I wasn't on the field. Just make sure that you can let things go when your mechanics aren't going well and pick it up fresh the next day. You'll be more productive when you learn how to do that, and baseball will be more fun too!

Training your brain is just like training your body. It takes consistency and effort, daily.

Keep us posted!
I just want to thank anyone here who took time out of their busy schedule to help me out. After applying some of the principles you guys have taught me, my play has improved to the level I believe I should be at; while also having more fun and enjoying myself more in the process. The biggest help I think were the breathing techniques as I found when I control my breathing, it is easier to control my thoughts. I still have some things to work on mentally but this is a big step forward.
Last edited by jakewestphal
FWIW, at various times my sons asked me what I thought was the best psych for doing their best on standardized tests (such as the SAT or graduate school entrance exams.)

I told them: Back in the day, I outperformed friends of mine on the SAT, though they were as bright--or brighter-- than me. I think it's because I intentionally approached the SATs as a game, as if I were solving riddles during a family car ride.

My older sons had decent mental attitudes for baseball, but they're amazed by my youngest son. He has a phenomenal attitude. He works his tail off, but treats it as a game. His teammates feed off of it.

Prior to a business negotiation, I try to tap into this approach, so that I won't choke.
Last edited by freddy77
hi jake--make sure u have attainable goals--walk up to the plate with confidence --hit the ball hard and u win --get a hit its a bonus--cant control getting hits that cant be my goal--attack inside part of ball and hit ball properly and most important part of the game is to help your team win--check out my website luck steve springer
Here is a little update: I started the season slow while working on my mental game, and then once I overcame it all Ive been on a tear at the plate and also upped my game behind it as well. A couple college coaches have expressed interest and I definately feel more confident as a baseball player and as a person in general. I still have some work to do but I want to thank everyone for their help and advice it is much appreciated.
Originally posted by jakewestphal:
Here is a little update: I started the season slow while working on my mental game, and then once I overcame it all Ive been on a tear at the plate and also upped my game behind it as well. A couple college coaches have expressed interest and I definately feel more confident as a baseball player and as a person in general. I still have some work to do but I want to thank everyone for their help and advice it is much appreciated.



This is great news. I think the key is to stick with your approach. You have found what works for you, while many athletes struggle with this. Best of luck to you. Funny thing my eldest son just wrapped up his JUCO career and was strugling early like you, but we worked on his mental approach and caught fire too. Now he has an opportunity to continue his career at the NAIA level.

Keep working and good things will happen.

All the best,
What are some of the ways you block out all your negative thoughts and relax

The only reason that makes you disturbed by negative thoughts is because you are “trying” to get “rid” of them. This means that you are “afraid” of your mind’s negative thoughts, and the truth is that anything that you fear keeps you tied to it. So the way out, is to consciously stop fearing the mind’s negative thoughts, and stay “allowing” of the mind when it produces these thoughts.Also confidence plays a vital role..You should have full confidence and full control on your mind..

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