What Mentally Tough Baseball Players Do #4

#4 Mentally tough baseball players communicate with teammates during games.

Mentally tough baseball players communicate.  The communication take a number of forms.  One way mentally tough baseball players communicate with teammates is by talking about what they see.  This could be what a pitcher is doing on the mound (what he's throwing, when he's throwing it, etc.).  Mentally tough players are disciplined enough to start this communication early and continue it often.  Talking about what you see could involve talking about pickoff moves, looks to second, and picking up signs on offense.  Talking about what you see on defense could be telling someone to watch for the bunt or a reminder that a hitter is a good runner.  It could be the center fielder noticing a right-handed hitter is extremely late on fastballs and telling the right fielder to shade the line.

Mentally tough baseball players encourage teammates.  Tough players are positive with all teammates regardless of role and help everyone feel valued during competition.  They encourage and keep things controllable.  "Hit it hard right here!" instead of "Get a hit right here!"  They pick up teammates who need it after a bad at-bat or an error in the field.  This does not mean the mentally tough baseball player cannot get on a teammate.  In fact, he will if the teammate is not doing things the right way!  Evan Longoria comes to mind here.  I can remember watching a game a few years ago where there was a ball hit into left-center that B.J. Upton dogged it after and played into a triple.  Longoria ripped into Upton afterwards in the dugout.  Two things stand out that make what Longoria did great.  #1: He did it in the dugout.  There is no need to show up a teammate on the field.  #2: He called Upton out for a lack of effort.  Mentally tough baseball players don't get on teammates for not getting a hit or making a play, but something controllable like effort is absolutely within the realm of duty.  Here is the video:

A couple keys to all of this.  If you're going to be a mentally tough baseball player, you have to be accountable.  This means you are communicating with teammates throughout the game regardless of your individual performance.  It also means you encourage teammates regardless of whether you are best friends off the field or not.  You understand team sports is about more than that.  Finally, it means you are doing things the right way.  It's okay for you to get on a teammate for lack of effort because the mentally tough player demands the same of yourself.

Can you think of a time when a teammate or player you have coached got in someone's grill appropriately?  I'd love to hear about it!  Tweet or email me, and I'd love to share your story with others.


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