How to Prevent a Hitting Slump - Eleven Baseball Hitting Tips For Players, Parents and Coaches
By Jay Granat
Last week, I got a call from a baseball player who plays the outfield for a Triple A team connected with a major league club. The man was concerned because he has been in a hitting slump on and off for several seasons. He wants to make it to the major leagues and he feels that time is running out on him.
Yesterday, I got a call from a mother of a college player who is also stuck in a slump. This parent happened to be a psychiatrist. Like many parents who call me for help, this worried mother said, "My son has a beautiful swing. He works with a top hitting coach. He is great in the cage, but terrible once the game starts."
This concerned and worried mother had even tried medication to help her son perform better at the plate.
Baseball players frequently call me when they are stuck in a slump. Fortunately,over the years, I have developed many techniques, strategies and tools for breaking slumps.
However, it is useful if players can learn how to start the season with a positive and effective mental approach to hitting. Here are a few tips to help you get your baseball season off to a good start:
1. Learn the strike zone very well and swing at strikes.
2. Know what kind of pitch you like to hit.
3. Be aware of the count and the game situation.
4. Train your mind to think of nothing or have just one thought at the plate.
5. Practice relaxation techniques.
6. Learn how to stay calm, focused, confident and relaxed at the plate.
7. Learn how to stay in the present and the here and now. The most important
pitch and swing are the next ones.
8. Watch the pitcher carefully from the dugout.
9. Try to hit the ball into the gaps. You will naturally pull some of these for homers.
10. Keep accurate records on all of the pitchers who you face. Record what they threw, what you did and what you learned about hitting against them in the past. This is extra work, but these data will pay big dividends for you.
11. Once your swing is mechanically sound, you need to master the mental aspects of hitting.
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist and the founder of http://www.stayinthezone.com. He has written several books and developed several programs to help people perform to their fullest potential at sports, at work and at school. Dr. Granat, a former university professor, has appeared in The New York Times, Good Morning America, AP, ESPN, Golf Digest, The BBC and The CBC. His books include Zone Tennis and Get Into The Zone In Just One Minute. He is also the author of How To Get Into The Zone With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis, How To Lower Your Golf Score With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis, 101 Ways To Break Out Of A Hitting Slump and Bed Time Stories For Young Athletes. Golf Digest named Dr. Granat one of America's Top Ten Mental Gurus. He was recently featured in a documentary film on long distance running. Dr. Granat writes a weekly column for three newspapers.
His new program for baseball hitters 101 Ways To Break Out Of A Hitting Slump and a free sport psychology book is available at http://www.stayinthezone.com/baseball.htm
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