Sunday, August 9, 2015

Mental ABs, Continued: Practice

                                                                                       (photo credit:

First, a note from my first blog on mental ABs: A mental at-bat is a simulation, a visualization of an actual at-bat, and may include any number of real or imagined stimuli: bat in hand or imagined, uniform on or street clothes, in the dugout during a game or in your living room on a Tuesday night.

Mental ABs use the power of imagery, visualization and the mind's eye, to enhance confidence and emulate the experience gained of having a live at-bat. The power in this practice is in the power of imagery. In relation to confidence from experiences, the mind cannot separate what is real experience from what is imagined.

At Lee University, our lineup card has our game lineup on the left, and our "Mental ABs" lineup on the right. Non-starting hitters practice and go through their in the hole, on deck and pre-AB routines just as they would live in the game.

If a hitter is a part-time player and only gets four at-bats this week, he does not have but four opportunities for focused thought, approach planning and adjustment making. If that same hitter got 16 mental ABs from the four games he in which he did not play, he now has 20 at bats of experience.

Cold outside? Hitting facility closed? Got to the field earlier than anyone else? Tired of studying for your business finance test? GET YOUR MENTAL ABs IN.

Moving forward: Swinging and hitting are two different things. We must be prepared to swing on every pitch, with a plan of what we are attacking, and what we are taking. With enough practice, memorization of spin patters, velocity recognition, release point recognition and pitch planes/tunnels can all become reactionary/subconscious. Til then, work on the skill of recognition.

Practice makes PERMANENT. Here are some examples of what to visualize:

Aroldis Chapman

Masahiro Tanaka

Stephen Strasburg

Gerrit Cole

Zack Wheeler

Jeff Ibarra (Former Lee Flame)

College RHP with high take-away

College RHP 75-78 with slow off-speed

College LHP, stiff delivery, over the top release, 12-6 CB

Mike Minor, LHP, while in minor leagues

Mark Buehrle, LHP, Blue Jays

Tyrell Jenkins RHP, vs. SS Addison Russell

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