The Psychology of Baseball: Inside the Mental Game of the Major League Player
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Currently, we have two full-time and two part-time staff. Each Major League Baseball MLB organization has a different set up for organizing mental skills and performance coaches.
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The number of mental health professionals in pro sport is growing fast! This allows us to start implementing mental skills from the very first time youngsters step on to one of our baseball fields. When I graduated, the market for Mental Skills and Performance Coaches was more narrow than it is now. But with the awareness of mental health in sport, every year there seems to be more and more opportunities. But I got lucky! Things timed up well for me. Because I graduated in December instead of May which was when most of my colleagues did , opportunities were different for me.
The first internship I did outside of school started in February. So I applied for a position that would go on to become my first gig in baseball. It was with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Overall, I am proud to say that I helped to create a culture that believes in sport psychology both on and off the field. Eventually, my position with the Pirates helped lead me my current role with the Phillies as Mental Skills and Performance Coach. Each day looks different! But I can take you through a sample day.
When the game finished, I arrived at my hotel just before midnight.
I woke up early this morning and drove to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to watch our short season team play. They are called the Williamsport Crosscutters. Most of the time, my day starts with getting up and heading for a physical workout. Depending on the day, I may lead a group workshop with specific positions. For example, I may do a workshop just for pitchers, infielders, catchers, hitters, outfields, etc.
Going, Going, Gone! The Psychology of Baseball
Then the game comes! I watch the game and make myself available as needed. Then, I head home and get ready to do it all over again the next day! It may not be the same the next day though [laughs].
Perhaps I find myself travelling to any one of our affiliates. It really depends. That could be a little nook in the clubhouse, locker room or our classroom.
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It depends! Most of our facilities have classrooms. So being in the classroom provides me with a place that gives them the privacy they need. Suddenly, I was being courted like a college recruit. Each team was offering me a deal to work with its players. I ended up signing with the Indians and got the chance to work for them for a number of years. I even received a American League championship ring, which I cherish.
The Hall of Fame does not have a wing for sports psychology, but if it did, Harvey Dorfman would be a first-ballot unanimous choice.
For Harvey Dorfman, Percent of the Game Was Mental - The New York Times
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Newsletter Sign Up Continue reading the main story Please verify you're not a robot by clicking the box. Invalid email address. Please re-enter. You must select a newsletter to subscribe to. Even within this environment though, the MLB has not been a sports league many look to for progress.
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And as most fans will admit, it tends to act like it. But perhaps it should be. The last few years however have seen the game modernizing in certain ways, including trying to speed up games for the fan experience, incorporating advanced analytics into team building, and, far more quietly, welcoming mental skills coaches to organizations.
What these mental skills coaches actually teach may vary from player to player, or clubhouse to clubhouse.