Blog 15.2

We got such great feedback from our blog on Heads Up Baseball:  Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time by Ken Ravizza and Tom Hanson, we wanted to add to these skills by reviewing the authors’ second book, Heads-Up Baseball 2.0:  Five Skills for Competing One Pitch at a Time. Our second blog details the 5 mental skills outlined in the book.  Stay tuned for more details on our upcoming video with Ken Ravizza! 

Ravizza and Hansen describe the RAMP-C skills as essential to the Heads-Up baseball approach.  The first skill is responsibility, which is “choosing to focus your energy on whatever gives you the best chance of success regardless of what has happened or how you feel.”  The importance of taking responsibility might seem obvious, but the reality is most athletes don’t take responsibility for their mental game.  They assume it just happens to them, or their coach or team is responsible to set the tone.  Athletes who take responsibility know that the game is unpredictable and they will not perform their best if they don’t consciously choose to focus on helpful thoughts and behaviors.

The second skill, awareness, is “being conscious or knowing about something” and includes awareness of your own reactions and tendencies when stressed, as well as what is happening in the moment on the field.  The authors emphasize that athletes have to know where they are now in order to get to where they want to be.  Ravizza and Hansen introduced a Lessons Learned strategy to build your awareness.  For example, one question might be “How will I apply what I learned to my next performance?”  The third skill, mission, highlights what was discussed in depth in previous blogs.  If you don’t have a well-defined target you truly desire that fuels your focus, you don’t know where you need to be.  Awareness helps you understand where you are now and mission helps you know where you want to be.  Often, athletes have “hidden missions” that are based out of fear.  For example, getting an award, avoiding looking bad, and gaining others’ approval are all “hidden missions” that can negatively impact your performance.

The fourth skill, preparation, includes all the mental and physical steps you must take before you actually compete.  Your process, or system, must be deliberate and consistent if you expect it to work.  Our module on Distraction Management includes several tips on how you can prepare and build a routine that works for you!  Finally, the fifth skill, is compete.  Ravizza and Hansen state that in their experience, they’ve learned that athletes can get too focused on the internal task of executing their routine or other mental skills and they forget the most important skill of competing!  The authors describe it as “a full-body experience that’s not an intellectual, in your head thing.”  Just like a physical skill takes practice before you feel you can do it without thinking too much about it, mental skills take practice so you can feel it in your whole body.

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