One game at a time: Cleveland Guardians stay focused on task at hand
The Cleveland Guardians are off to a good start on the field and appear locked-in mentally as well.
As MLB players try to obtain peak performance during the 2022 baseball season, a main focus of their process will be the mental game.
Often, fans will hear a favorite player in post-game interviews allude to the importance of staying focused on the process and not worrying about results.
Obviously, playing baseball one pitch at a time is very difficult. That is why almost all MLB teams have full-time mental performance coaches who help players focus on important action-oriented approaches toward improving the mental game.
Cleveland Guardians mental performance coach Brian Miles, who has been with the organization for six seasons, recently described the importance of players learning to stay in the present moment.
Specifically, Miles explained that it is important for players to understand that the past has already occurred and we cannot change what has already happened.
For Guardians fans interested in learning more about the mental game, Miles has produced a new YouTube series, Mindset Show, in collaboration with current Tampa Bay Rays mental performance coach Justin Su’a and former New York Yankees mental conditioning minor league coordinator Lauren Johnson.
In their new series, Miles and his colleagues discuss important mental skills taught to athletes to help them improve their mental game.
In addition to learning about the mental game from Miles and his colleagues, various Guardians players on the current roster have described how they practice and incorporate mental skills into the process of playing baseball one pitch at a time.
Starting pitcher Shane Bieber described that he tries to mentally move on from the last pitch when he is on the mound in order to focus on the next pitch. To do this, Bieber said he tries to focus on his breathing and take large belly breaths.
Triston McKenzie recently described performing a specific routine to get his mind in the right state before competition. He views this concept as a “mental checklist” to go through before pitching. McKenzie also mentioned that he likes the quote, “Be where your feet are.” Nolan Jones, a prospect in Cleveland’s organization, said that Guardians mental performance coaches will often remind players of this quote.
Zach Plesac also recently discussed having incorporated meditation and breath work into his preparation for the 2022 baseball season. Plesac mentioned that he believed incorporating these concepts into his physical game could help him improve his performance (so far, so good on that front).
Most recently, rookie outfielder Steven Kwan discussed the importance of the mental game of baseball and staying focused on the process.
As Cleveland Guardians players go through the grueling 162-game slog, it’s no doubt helpful to have mental performance coaches on staff as they try to stay in the present moment throughout the ebbs and flows of the season.