The Last Thing To Do Before Entering Batter’s Box

The Last Thing To Do Before Entering Batter’s Box

I love practical tools that players can use in the moment to improve something in their physical and/or mental game.

The human brain is fascinating.  The complex operations of the brain even during simple tasks is astounding.  It is the source of everything that makes us human.  It is also the source of a lot of our challenges.  In short, the brain is our best friend and our worst enemy at the same time.  So much of success depends on our ability to tap into the power of the brain and get it to work for us instead of against us.  Unfortunately, in the 10 seconds prior to stepping into the batter’s box or toeing the rubber, a player doesn’t have the time to read a chapter of a neuroscience textbook nor do they have time to sit down for an hour-long therapy session with a sports psychologist.  What they need in those 10-15 seconds prior to performing are useful and practical techniques that improve their ability to perform at the highest level possible.

Today’s tip is just one of many things that players can do in the seconds prior to performing.

Remember in school when you would feel sleepy while looking down at the paper or book on your desk?  Remember that kid next to you whose eyes would close, his chin would drop, his head would start to drift, and then he would jolt awake to the amusement of everyone around him?  We’ve all seen it.  Of course, I’ve never actually seen it among my students in my 26 year teaching career.  That’s because everything I do in my class is so extremely engaging.  (I like to tell myself that.)

There are certain things people do that cue the brain into moving into a particular state.  Laying down on your bed is one of them.  It cues the brain into thinking that it is time to sleep.  (Note: this is why students should not study in bed!)  Dropping the chin and looking down accomplish the same thing!  There have actually been studies that show this to be true.  When we look down and drop our chin, our internal physiology literally slows down a little and can make us lethargic.  Of course, “lethargic” is not the state a hitter or pitcher needs to be in when about to perform.

Fortunately, studies show we can also use this mechanism to our advantage!

Try this right now … Start by sitting or standing up straight with your eyes looking straight ahead.  Next, lift your chin, raise your eyebrows, and look straight up.  Hold that position for 10 seconds.

I guarantee you felt more alert at the end of those ten seconds.  That’s because the brain recognizes that posture as a need to be alert and then responds accordingly.  Studies that monitor people’s internals when doing this quick technique show slight increases in the physiology related to alertness and wakefulness (increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, etc.), all of which are great for times when you need to quickly get your body and mind ready to perform.

Standing in the on-deck circle about to walk to the plate?  Take 10 seconds to look up.  Walking up to the plate?  Don’t look down at the ground while you walk.  Keep your head up and look straight ahead as much as possible.  Looking up and then looking straight ahead keeps your brain alert and ready.  Looking down sends the opposite signal.

Try it for better alertness and focus!