You have to be able to center yourself, to let all of your emotions go… Don’t ever forget that you play with your soul as well as your body.

~ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Baseball is a balance of physical and mental. Like anything, the body and mind are always linked. But since they say baseball is a thinking man’s game, you have to use your brain a lot. Carlton Fisk, a real good catcher who was just inducted into the Hall of Fame, used to have a sign over his locker that said THINK…. I was always thinking when I played, even if I did say you can’t think and hit at the same time. As a catcher I used to study the opposing hitters, their tendencies, their weaknesses, their strengths. To me there was always something in the way a batter stood, the way he held his bat, to tell you what pitch he was looking for…. I always noticed the little stuff, it helps…. I really used my brain more that anything. As a catcher you scrounge for every edge. A thousand things happen in a game, little things, and you have to keep those things in your head. In the 1953 World Series, I threw two runners out at third base on back-to-back bunts. People thought I stole the Dodger’ signs. Truth is, I was watching how the batter’s feet were pointing, and how our pitcher was keeping the ball where I wanted it. I could just tell the bunts were going to the left of the plate — and that’s where they went.

~ Yogi Berra

Note: This excerpt is from Smart Baseball: How Professionals Play the Mental Game

My focus was very concentrated throughout the race. We have a start plan, and in it I concentrate only on the first few strokes… Then I concentrate on the next little bit of the race… Then it’s getting to the end, we have to really push. Almost every 3 seconds or so towards the end I’d have to say, “Relax,” and I’d let my shoulders and head relax, and I’d think about putting on the power, and then I’d feel the tension creeping up again so I’d think about relaxing again, then power, then relax…

~ Anonymous