I was watching a Youtube video recently where NBA legend Dominique Wilkins was talking about how good Larry Bird was.
How good was Larry Bird? He once dropped 60 points on Dominique, surely one of the Top Ten players in NBA history. He was so good that day that he was swishing 3-pointers with his left hand. He was so amazing that day that the opposing players were cheering for him from the bench.
Here’s what Wilkins had to say about that performance: “Bird got in a groove early on. When you get a guy in a zone, when a great player gets in a zone there’s no defense designed that can stop him.”
It’s just as true about baseball. Sometimes players get in a zone and for a while, they play out of their minds.
Did you know that not one, but six major leaguers have hit four home runs in consecutive at-bats in one game? Yeah, in the zone. A couple were Hall of Famers, Mike Schmidt and Lou Gehrig. The rest you may not have heard of.
One was Bobby Lowe in 1894. He hit four in a row when the league leader only hit 18 for the whole season.
Dude was in the zone that day. And yet, for his career he only had a .685 OPS.
As amazing as four consecutive homers would be today, can you even imagine the astonishment at such a feat during the dead-ball era, when if a fan went to see every game, he would probably only see one home run per WEEK.
What happened that made it so that Bobby Lowe and the others could hit four consecutive homers? Luck? For a lightweight hitter like Lowe the odds of hitting four consecutive homers were approximately 100 million to one.
Not luck. Did he take his vitamins that day? Did a lightning bolt of super-human strength suddenly energize his body? Obviously not.
Bobby Lowe got in a zone.
A mental zone. A rare zone. A zone where he knew in his mind and soul “this is easy.” A zone where all the doubts just vanished, where the ball slowed down, and in his mind he just knew, “I’m crushin this.”
And he did. Four times in a row.
The Importance of Mindset
Baseball success is way more than just learning hitting and pitching mechanics, or practicing strength exercises and drills. These are important and necessary, yes.
But physical training alone won’t get you there if your mind is not in the zone. Or, put another way, if you’re not playing out of your mind. Because for most players, young and old, our mind is the enemy. It’s full of doubt, full of ”I can’t,” full of “this is too hard,” full of “I’m not good enough.”
“Oh no, this pitcher is too fast. I’m doomed.”
To be successful in baseball you’ve got to get out of your mind and into the zone. The zone of positivity. The zone of infinite possibility, the zone of “I know I can and I will.” And really believe it, body, mind, heart, and soul.
DON’T, DON’T, DON’T neglect the mental side of baseball training if you want your son to achieve all the success he is capable of. Teach him how to play in the zone.
I didn’t learn this until I was a senior at Auburn. I was not helping my team early on that season. But one day a flash of insight struck me like lightning. I suddenly realized that it was my doubtful mind that was limiting my performance, not my body. Once I developed the confidence to pitch in the zone, the mental zone, the zone of conviction and having fun, I suddenly went from one of the worst to an All-American and 8th round draft pick in one season.
Even my coaches were amazed. “What got into Madden?”
It wasn’t luck and it wasn’t vitamins. It wasn’t lifting weights or long-toss drills. I got my mind in the zone. I knew I could beat anyone. And suddenly I could.
How to train for confidence
I can help your son find the zone too. If he’s struggling in the games, even if he’s struggling to implement the lessons his coaches are teaching him, the problem is he’s too much in his mind. He hasn’t found the zone.
To help young players like your son to reach their full potential, I developed the program Confidence Booster. It’s the only youth-oriented baseball mindset training program that I know of. I developed Confidence Booster from my own experience and from the findings of great major-league mindset trainers like Dr. Tom Hansen of the Yankees, Angels, and Rangers.
This program is full of practical advice that works. Here’s a sample of the lessons in this 16 video series:
- How conviction breeds success. How success breeds greater conviction. Positive thoughts can snowball into an avalanche of success.
- How to neutralize negative thoughts and build confidence through daily affirmations.
- How to neutralize negative thoughts and build confidence through daily visualization practices.
- How to build a more positive life narrative to foster greater confidence
- How to create a powerful mental and emotional state of mind at will
- How to build a daily routine to support his new attitude.
- The importance of the ABC’s. Act Big. Breathe Big. Commit Big… Be Great.
- How to mentally flush failure down the drain.
- And most of all. Have FUN. FUN. FUN. Be a kid and forget doubt and fear.
Don’t think for a minute, like so many others do, that confidence and mindset training are just some extra fluff to pile on top of the bodybuilding and mechanics training side of baseball. The body can only do what the mind and will tell it to do. And if the mind says, “oh no, I can’t hit the curve,” or “I’m afraid to throw a strike to this hitter,” the body will automatically perform down to these mental expectations. No amount of mental training will get a player to the top if his brain is full of “I can’ts.”
So many elite prospects fail at higher levels because they never master the mental side of the game of baseball.
Confidence is fundamental to baseball success. A baseball career without a confident mindset is like a house without a foundation. Neither will last long.
To be a success in baseball you gotta know, with all your body, all your mind, all your heart, soul, and strength, that you’re the man. You’re the badass on the mound. That you’re gonna crush that ball when the game is on the line. You affirm that conviction every day. You visualize your success every day.
Confidence is how you get in the zone. And just like you have to train your body every day, you have to train your mind to be confident EVERY DAY.
This isn’t new-age gobble-de-gook. Almost all professional sports franchises teach the basic principles of mindset training I teach in Confidence Builder. Solid scientific research backs the efficacy of these techniques.
For example, one study took a group of basketball players and recorded their success in hitting free throws. Later, half of them then practiced throwing free throws for a given amount of time. The other half merely visualized hitting their free throws for the same amount of time. Then both groups threw free throws again.
It turns out the group that merely visualized hitting free throws improved almost exactly as much as the group that actually practiced throwing. Other similar experiments have had the same results.
It’s real folks. To be successful in any sport, especially baseball, “the game of failure,” you have to have confidence. You have to be in the zone.
With confidence comes success. With success comes fun. And when you’re having fun, you’re in the zone. You do super-human things, like hitting three-pointers with the wrong hand. Or hitting four homers in four at-bats.
Confidence. It’s fundamental. Without it, nothing else matters.
The good news is, you can train for it.
Check out Confidence Booster.