The Mental Part of the Game

As an exciting March Madness comes to a close, the 2016 baseball season kicks off. The transition from basketball to baseball also implies that the end of school is just around the corner, so life is good.

For me, leaving basketball behind has never been easy, even if it’s just for a couple months. But once April comes around, all I can think about is baseball: from eye black to short hair to sunflower seeds.

Baseball is a game of failure. The best hitters get a hit just three out of every ten at-bats. When you break it down, It can’t be easy to hit a fastball moving from 70-95 mph, let alone curveballs and change-ups. The tempo of the game puts pressure on the pitcher, batter, and fielders for every pitch.

Evidently, it’s not the easiest game in the world. It is the best feeling to be on a hot streak, when you’re just seeing the ball well out of the pitcher’s hand. On the other hand, slumps build up a ton of frustration.

Coming off a successful basketball season, I was reluctant to completely switch my efforts to baseball. When I started swinging a bat, eventually, nothing felt comfortable. During pre-season, I had my high points, but still wasn’t comfortable in the batter’s box.

In our last pre-season game, I capped off my performance in a blowout loss with a strikeout. I was furious, and I let my emotions get the best of me. Rather than leaving it in the past, I took my anger out onto the field the next inning, and made multiple mental errors.

Looking back on it, I am more disappointed in my reaction to the game than my performance. Fortunately, it was only pre-season, and I can learn from the experience.

Between pitches, every player on the field has to think and focus on their responsibilities for the next play. To succeed, you need to know what you’re doing, and to think you’re gonna do it perfectly.

I saw first hand what can happen if you can’t conquer the mental aspect of the game. Just as every baseball player should, going forward I will continue to improve at having a short memory, and focusing with a positive attitude.

A player can’t succeed in the physical game of baseball without conquering the mental game first.