By Jay Granat
A hitting slump has physical, psychological, emotional components to it. For the professional baseball player or the player seeking a scholarship, a slump can have significant financial and career implications.
Players, coaches, parents and agents can become quite frustrated by prolonged hitting slumps. Here are a few suggestions for managing hitting slumps.
1. Make sure you are technically and mechanically sound in the cage and in front of live pitching.
2. Keep accurate diaries and spreadsheets about pitchers who you face. Record all relevant data. Knowing what they threw you in specific situations is very helpful. Similarly, knowing how they like to pitch and how you did against them is essential information for a hitter who wants to excel at the sport of baseball. I know this record keeping seems laborious, but it will pay off with a shorter slump and a higher batting average.
3. Determine if you hit best with an empty mind or with one mental thought or idea at the plate. Most hitters do best with a simple thought or with a mind which is crystal clear and ready to allow the body to do what it is capable of doing at the plate.
4. Go back to some important basics: Keep your head very still. Don't grip the bat too tightly. Hit the ball into the gaps. Focus on the path of the ball. Utilize a ritual which allows you to feel comfortable in the batter's box. Know the strike zone very well.
5. Watch yourself on video when you are in a slump and compare this tape with a video of you when you were hitting well. You will be amazed at what you will learn from this exercise.
6. Use a new hitting coach to get a fresh outlook and a few new tips.
7. Consider a sports psychologist to help you master the mental aspects of hitting.
8. Learn how to use self-hypnosis to get your mind into a confident, focused, relaxed and optimistic state in the dugout, in the on deck circle and at the plate.
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist and the founder of http://www.stayinthezone.com He has written several books and developed several programs to help people perform to their fullest potential at sports, at work and at school. Dr. Granat, a former university professor, has appeared in The New York Times, Good Morning America, AP, ESPN, Golf Digest, The BBC and The CBC. His books include Zone Tennis and Get Into The Zone In Just One Minute. He is also the author of How To Get Into The Zone With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis, How To Lower Your Golf Score With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis, 101 Ways To Break Out Of A Hitting Slump and Bed Time Stories For Young Athletes. Golf Digest named Dr. Granat one of America's Top Ten Mental Gurus. He was recently featured in a documentary film on long distance running. Dr. Granat writes a weekly column for three newspapers.
Baseball players, coaches and parents who want learn more about the psychology of hitting and breaking batting slumps should visit http://www.stayinthezone.com/baseball.htm
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