Staying Baseball Ready: Mindset Matters
Updated: Apr 21
Right now, the Corona Virus Pandemic has brought the baseball world to a stand still.
After the health and safety of your family, you might be worried that he's not doing enough to stay ready for when baseball starts up again.
And in these times, getting creative is a must because there will be a day when it's time to resume practice and games, and the question will be, "Is he ready?"
It is an incredible opportunity to prepare your son mentally for that Day 1 practice and Day 1 game, when he's prepared, confident, relaxed, and having fun.
At Athlete's Approach, my goal is to offer you perspective, insight, or strategies that will help you help your child master his mindset and overcome mental hangups.
Now, you might be wondering, "Steve, how is it possible to prepare and train mindset without formal practices and games?"
I want to steer you in a direction with some questions that I think will help. Keep in mind I never aim to preach to you about parenting or offer you parenting advice. What I do aim to do is take my experience playing this game at the collegiate and professional levels, and the knowledge I've gained from studying the game, performance psychology, and related disciplines, to help you.
So here we go.... Just some prelim questions to ask yourself.
1) Is your son practicing anything in the house right now? Could be dry swings, foot work in the kitchen?
2) Does your son know what he should be practicing?
3) If so, how does he know that's what he needs to work on right now?
4) Does your child know what the focus should be when he practices? Short hop drill focusing on eyes down, soft hands?
5) Is there a clear plan to improve in something specific?
Here's the coolest part about this.
You or your son may not be able to answer any of these questions. Maybe he's doing some things but mostly you're just trying to keep his addiction to Fortnight down. And that's ok because I believe there's a better question to ask.
Or, you may be able to answer all of them and your kid is super focused like Tiger Woods was at your son's age. Still, there's a better question to ask that can help prepare mindset.
The truth of it is, even if he practiced every day for a few hours in the house to stay "sharp", there still will be an adjustment physically that you may or may not see on his Day 1.
But, there is something I think you can do that will be helpful.
You can help your kid be certain and confident about something that will help his confidence on day 1 of practice and game day.
Here it is...
Establish a "training identity".
What is your son's "training identity"?
What do I mean by this and what does this have to do with your son's confidence?
Your son might be playing catch with himself in the living room or outside in the backyard. Help him establish something about his training that becomes a non-negotiable for him when he trains.... it would speak to the way he practices, the way he plays.
Here's what this could look like:
Let's say you help your son decides he wants to be the kind of player that always finishes his reps. He's a finisher! That's his identity.... a non-negotiable. So when he practices outside, ask him how many swings he completed and if that's what he intended to do. Or if he finishes a game of catch with 10 throws at the chest because that's his way of reinforcing that identity, ask him or make sure he completes those 10 throws at the chest. If he does, acknowledge him.... If not, engage him on why he didn't. Remember, he's a finisher of reps! That's the identity he's creating for himself.
This identity will be his best friend on day 1 because on day 1, all he'll have to look back on is his practice and his preparation the days, weeks, and months leading up to the current moment.
And when he gets on that field and needs to compete, he can look back and stand on a consistent and steady habit of focused training that reinforced the identity he built for himself. That moment on day 1, whatever identity he created and developed, can be used to help him with his confidence. It can be a leg he stands on when he's questioning his ability.
You can remind him on day 1, who he is, who he's built himself to be, and he has the history of the the finished reps to prove it to himself!
How he trains becomes part of who he is.
At the end of the day, we live our lives from the inside-out, and that's how our kids play the game as well. So we can help them establish that inside game that can carry them to and through Day 1.
If you found this article helpful at all, and another parent or coach came to your mind while reading it, please share it with them right now.