The mental game of baseball (6th tool) is extremely important to develop an elite level athlete. At Hard 90 Baseball, we recently started formal mental game training with our players through the study of the book The Young Champion's Mind by Jim Afremow.
Each player in the class is reading the book, as well as applying the concepts to a specific athletic goal they would like to achieve. The athletes have found this extremely helpful as they seek to become the best versions of themselves and goals range from making their high school team to playing in college, or even the MLB.
One of the key elements that many serious athletes (and parents) forget is to find JOY in the game...and more importantly the training that leads them to the level they seek to play. Finding joy in the game, the workouts, the wins and the losses - leads to long term high level performance.
Great ways for players to recenter tough game situations, grueling workouts and frustrating losses is to smile, find humor in the situation and/or share a funny joke with friends. All of this lightens the mood and allows the player to achieve peak performance by finding joy in the game.
Even Joe Montana used this tactic in a legendary Super Bowl drive:
"Some of the guys seemed more than normally tense," Montana recalled, "especially Harris Barton, a great offensive tackle who has a tendency to get nervous." As usual, Montana was just focusing on the situation, how far they had to go and how much time was left. Just then he happened to spot the late actor John Candy in the stands. "Look" he said, 'isn't that John Candy." It was hardly what his teammates expected to hear in the huddle with the Super Bowl on the line. But it definitely broke the tension. "Everybody kind of smiled, and even Harris relaxed, and then we all concentrated on the job we had to do."