Baseball Psychology: The Gray Matter Factor
by Jack R. Helber
Stratton Press Publishing

"Your baseball career will teach you perspective, pride, and discipline when handling life’s complexities."

Baseball is said to be a game of failure, where success is marked by failing up to seventy-five percent of the time. How then to motivate young players and nurture their mental as well as physical games so they embrace and excel at America's pastime and gain useful life lessons? This thoughtful little book posits that the necessary counterbalance to baseball's inherent negativity is for coaches and parents to teach a positive head game and lead kids by celebrating incremental personal successes and teaching perspective and common sense performance measurements.

Peppered with gentle wisdom, useful mental and physical drills, inspirational baseball quotes, and a thoughtful closing collection of terms and tools, this book is targeted at the grownups whose love for the game leads them to bring it to their kids, only to then risk losing those kids to the game's frustrating realities.

Some of the advice may seem basic for a harried coach racing toward little league playoffs or the next travel ball weekend tourney. But in the super-sized world of hyper-competitive youth sports and parental over-involvement, this book offers some essential reminders: find ways to reframe negative performance indicators into positive ones; reinforce not the failed hit but the skills and performance that a hitter displays in a near miss, a foul tip, or a good try; integrate personal reward systems and incentives; help players manage context and perspective to develop self-control and manage realistic self-image.

This is not a book for baseball beginners, as its shorthand baseball terminology and intimate discussion of play rely on basic knowledge of the game and its statistics and rules. But for parents and coaches who find themselves in the fray, this book offers a timely and timeless reframing that can make youth baseball the fun and formative experience it should be.

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