Baseball is a fairly physical sport, but it’s a much more mental game than you might think. Yogi Berra once said that baseball is as high as 90% mental! This might be a huge surprise for some of you. How is baseball a more mental sport than a physical?
Psychologist Mike Stadler of the University of Missouri explores the mental aspect of baseball in his “The Psychology of Baseball .”Live Science provides a beautiful overview of this work, so I suggest you check it out. More precisely, you will know about the critical mental features necessary for this sport. Below, there will be the essential points from the LiveScience post.
Psychological Aspects —Baseball is different from other sports because it gives players more time to think. Because of this, great baseball players need physical skills, cognitive abilities, and mental conditioning. Aside from that, a baseball player also has an ideal psychological profile. The critical traits sought in players include:
- Self-confidence. A baseball player cannot afford to overthink his actions.
- Mental toughness. A baseball player must not get stressed over missed shots and lost games.
- Emotional control and stress management.
- The slight tendency toward aggression – in other words, willingness to take the initiative and act.
Usually, these qualities are assessed in athletes via the Athletic Motivation Inventory (AMI) personality test developed in the late 60s. This test is very commonly used to evaluate athletes and includes shy of 200 questions. Among other traits, AMI measures an athlete’s aggression, determination, leadership, self-confidence, mental toughness, and coachability.
Cognitive Aspects — Baseball players – especially hitters – must employ prediction on the field. Although successfully hitting the ball mainly depends on reaction time and hand-eye coordination, cognitive abilities also play an essential role. Experienced players can predict where the ball will go based on past experiences with the pitcher and on the positioning of the opponent. This makes them hit the ball more efficiently and more consistently. Any information players gather on the field can be crucial because they have very little time to react to the pitch in the first place.
Building Stronger Focus — The ability to focus on the field is also critical for a baseball player. Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens once remarked that when he was focused, he only saw the catcher. But upon losing focus, he would get overwhelmed by the crowd.
Physical benefits include:
- Position-Specific Skills
- Reaction Time
- Hand-Eye Coordination
- Improved Health
- Better Posture
An academy that encourages young men to participate in this sport and helps them grow as empowered individuals are Harlem Baseball Hitting Academy. This academy allows men to realize their potential and develop skills to have a more secure life. Youman Wilder – The Founder of this academy – noticed that an alarming number of talented baseball players from Harlem and the South Bronx communities were going unnoticed.
Harlem Hitting Academy was made to give youth from underprivileged communities the opportunity to simultaneously get higher education and play sports. Despite great talent, they were not reaching their full potential due to constraints out of their control. Harlem Hitting Academy was built to reverse this effect.
Founded only 2 decades back, this academy has helped more than 350 young men accomplish academic and athletic goals. Students have won more than 14M dolls of scholarships for education along with baseball at Harlem Baseball Hitting Academy. They are reaching even greater heights daily.