The baseball season is about to begin and I already getting calls from parents, players and coaches who are concerned about hitting slumps.
Anyone who has played baseball for any length of time has experienced the frustration of an extended hitting slump. And there are many causes of these performance valleys.
Some of the causes are physical. A breakdown in mechanics, poor balance, poor technique, a moving head, a tight grip on the bat or an injury can contribute to poor performance by baseball players.
Some of the causes of hitting slumps are mental. A batter who has been hit by a pitch can be scared in the batter’s box. A player who has been hitting poorly can lose his confidence. A batter who is worried about impressing his coach, his parents or a scout can become quite anxious. A player who is conflict with teammates may find it hard to hit to his potential. Similarly, a player with stress related to his or her life off the field can have difficulty concentrating when he or she steps up to the plate.
Also, it is important to understand that there are many relationships between the mind and the body where hitting a baseball is concerned. For instance, a nervous player is apt to grip the baseball bat too tightly. Likewise, a tense player is apt have difficulty turning on a pitch.
Interestingly, some people believe that our vision gets worse when we are tense and that it improves when we are relaxed.
There are many ways to relax one’s mind and one’s body before you get up to bat.
Players can learn relaxation techniques, meditation, visualization or self-hypnosis. Some players benefit from listening to music in the dugout or before a game. Others do some aerobics before they take the field as they find that this helps them to relax when they get up to bat.
Tension will work against you at the plate, so it is important that baseball players learn how to get very comfortable when they face the opposing pitcher.