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?