Baseball and Concentration
by Karlene Sugarman, M.A
Sport Psychology Consultant
Distractions are a big part of baseball, so players must learn how
to handle them so performance isn't diminished. A loss of focus will
usually result in lost opportunities, more errors, and opponents
taking advantage of your lack of focus. If you're not focusing 100%,
you are not performing at your highest potential.
If your concentration is broken, or you have trouble regaining focus,
there are a few ways to deal with this:
- Rituals - Rituals help to calm you down and focus on the
task at hand. They provide consistency to your approach, which
intensifies your focus and increases confidence. You can have pre-game
rituals as well as rituals for during a game. They give you a sense
of control and stability in an unstable environment. Get pre-performance
ritual/routine down before the season starts so that you're comfortable
with it. Many athletes use changing into their uniform as a trigger
to get ready to go play.
- Focal Points - These serve as a release to get rid of any
unproductive thoughts. Pick a stable point on your field and have that
be the place you go to when you lose your focus or are distracted.
Focus in on that one thing (2nd base, glove, bat, etc.), and take a
deep breath so you can regain your composure and put your focus back
on yourself and the task at hand. Notice, the examples I mentioned are
things that are very specific and will be at all fields no matter where
you play. If you were to pick a specific sign on your outfield wall,
what would you do at away games? This is why it's necessary to pick
something that will always be there, no matter where you are playing.
- Other Releases - Pick up some dirt and then "throw away"
negative emotions. Or, go over to your bag and put your negative
emotions in it and "zip it up." Be creative and find something that
works well for you.
You need to be absorbed in the moment and forget everything else.
The best competitors forget who they are competing against, forget
about the crowd; they are just immersed in the moment - the fun, the
challenge, the task at hand. You focus only on yourself, your teammates
and getting things done that need to be done RIGHT NOW. Anything else
will cause you to falter. If everyone concentrated on what they needed
to do, the team as a whole would be much better off. Staying in the
present and focused on the task at hand cannot be stressed enough -
it will play a huge role in your achieving your goals.