The Baseball Zone Blog

Rick Johnston | Feb 13, 2014 8:27:00 AM

Baseball Coaching Philosophy - It Is Not Just the X's and O's

In all sports, most people think of a particular coach’s philosophy as the style by which they like their teams to play the game. No matter the sport, each coach typically does have his way of thinking how the game should be played. A football coach may be a high tempo, run and gun, hurry up offensive guy who then finds players that fit the role. A hockey coach might believe more in defense first and deploy a defensive, neutral zone trap and establish this as the type of player he would like on his squad. A baseball coach might believe in big ball, sitting back, waiting for two bloops and a bomb, a la the days of Earl Weaver and the Baltimore Orioles. Absolutely, these are and will always be a part of any coach’s philosophy, but, there is far more than just coaching the X’s and O”s of whatever the discipline is.

Every SUCCESSFUL coach, regardless of what sport they are coaching, has a fundamental, rudimentary approach to the game that most will abide by. Each one of these successful coaches' philosophies involves components that go beyond the realm of these X’s and O’s, and are highly supported by attitude, beliefs, viewpoints and values. These are defining areas of significance, and in most situations, define who they are as coaches and how they impact people, players and staff around them. The philosophy is so impactful, that not only can it define from who they are as coaches, to how hard they work to get to the top, to something as simple as how they handle a player (maybe the best player on team) being late for practice.  The success of the team is generally based on the philosophy instilled. Failure of good teams is not based on talent, it is usually failure based of philosophy. Talented teams, in all sports, have been wasted because of the lack of good, sound coaching philosophy. A coach needs to know what he is going to do before he does it.

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Topics: baseball strategy, baseball psychology, baseball parents, baseball coaching, baseball communication, baseball philosophy, baseball leadership

Rick Johnston | Nov 1, 2013 3:41:00 PM

14 Mental Errors in Baseball That Get an Offence in Trouble

Many baseball coaches will say that the thinking or the understanding part of the game is the most vital to success for a player. This part of the game is sometimes called the mental pillar and is one of the primary pillars that support the structure of the athlete within the game of baseball (and any sport - these being mental, physical, technical and tactical).

In general terms, a baseball player will commit two types of errors, but one more than the other can have long term effects - mental and physical. Coaches have no problem for the most part accepting physical mistakes; players will clank ground balls, butcher fly balls and look like a bag of hammers searching for a tool box as a hitter. Players will have bad days, where physically all that happens. No problem, we are all human, all make mistakes. In baseball, it is the mental error that has harsh effects both short and long term on players and teams and will often manifest themselves as physical errors (i.e. what looks like a physical error was actually born a few seconds earlier as a mental one).

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Topics: hitting preparation, baseball strategy, baseball psychology, baseball coaching, mental performance, hit & run, suicide squeeze, baseball fundamentals, mental mistakes, physical mistakes

Rick Johnston | Oct 15, 2013 11:37:00 AM

Practicing Performance Under Pressure - Do We Do It In Baseball?

When was the last time you truly saw a baseball player or team actually practice under massive amounts of pressure? In general, I can tell you they spend very little time performing under pressure. Honestly, just try and think back to this past season, whether you were practicing as a player, coach or observing as a parent. Can you candidly say that most practices were carried out with pressure, intent and conviction? In a majority of these instances I would venture to say little or no emphasis was actually put on performing under pressure, but instead the emphasis was technical or mechanically based.

What are we potentially doing to our players by practicing this way? I think it is pretty evident...when a critical moment arrives in a game, such as a sacrifice bunt or 3-2 count with bases loaded, either as a hitter or pitcher, due to the lack of exposure to these pressures it could perhaps be not so surprising that performance can vary or falter (As Sports Psychologist Dr. Rick Jensen suggests, pressure will always find your game's weakest link so find it and work on it). In short, do baseball skills learned in non-pressure situations, with nothing on the line transfer to pressure situations? Not necessarily! So, for that reason, maybe it is time to review the way in which practice tactics, mechanics and philosophy is delivered? 

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Topics: baseball psychology, baseball coaching, mental training, mental performance, baseball practice, mental mistakes, physical mistakes, practicing under pressure

Rick Johnston | Aug 27, 2013 2:45:00 PM

Baseball Psychology - Truth Be Told, You Will FAIL!

Yep, that’s right; we are destined to fail at this game. I can’t think of any other sport where failure is actually as good as it can be in baseball. As hypercritical as that last sentence is, it is also the truth. As long as you play this game, you will FAIL! That’s right, I will say it again, YOU. WILL. FAIL!

Well then why do we play it? That is a question only the eyes of the beholder can answer. Not sure if this makes sense…we do something knowing full well that if we are successful 30 per cent of the time (i.e. as a hitter), we can be happy! Wow, how captivating baseball must be to enjoy failing like we do.

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Topics: baseball psychology, mental training, mental performance, dealing with failure, failure

Jen Scorniaenchi | Jul 10, 2013 7:04:00 AM

Top 10 Benefits of Sports Psychology

IMPROVING PERFORMANCE- BEYOND THE BODY.

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Topics: baseball strategy, baseball psychology, mental training, rehab, baseball communication, mental performance

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