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Mental Game: Quality At-Bat Routines

Good hitters have confidence and solid routines. Here is a sample routine to keep the hitter mentally prepared for the next at-bat.

1) The at-bat starts when the helmet and gloves go on. Preparation is key to success and I see so many hitters, especially younger hitters, scrambling around to find their bat or their gloves as it's already time to walk to plate. This should never happen. When a hitter is due up 3rd (in the hole) he or she should be geared up and ready for battle.

2) In the hole - it's not time to just stand there with a helmet on and take up space. Study the pitcher - have a mental at-bat with your teammate in the box. Plan your approach and visualize success.

3) On deck - simulate the game! Have a live at-bat with your teammate from the on deck circle. This is a great opportunity to get your timing and practice your yes or no decisions.

4) Walk to the box - don't walk to the box like a victim or like you are playing defense. Walk to the box like a UFC fighter about to destroy the baseball. Good hitters have BIG body language and carry the barrel in hand. Confidence is key - fake it until you make it!

5) The box - hitters should get the necessary sign from the coach and go into their in the box routine. Clean out the box to "wipe away" any previous at-bats and create a clear focus on this at-bat. Find a focal point and breathe! Many hitters lock in on the barrel of their bat and take a deep breathe before stepping into the box. Finally, commit to a plan and have positive thoughts - see it and hit it or something else a long those lines.

6) Back from the box - Positive body language is key. Put the bat away. Take a moment to learn something from the at-bat and then take off the helmet and gloves. When the helmet and gloves come off it's time to transition back to dugout participation. Be an energy giver - pass along some information to your teammates.

I believe if a hitter commits to these six steps, as simple as they may seem, it will make a huge difference on the mindset and preparation of each at-bat over the course of a season. Don't take it for granted your players know how to hit the "reset" button or how to "lock in". It is up to us as coaches to not only coach them up physically, but mentally as well!

Hope this helps.

See you on the diamond!

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