ABCA Clinic Recaps - Jim Meier


Liam Carroll

Mental Game Meat and Potatoes
Jim Meier, The Championship Thinking Coach

Clinic Topics

1. Sports Psychology: how the mind works in sports either for or against you
2. Sports Psychology in the context of baseball
3. Concepts taught through Championship Thinking
4. Examples of actual work done with a team/player/coach

Jim Meier is familiar to many baseball coaches through his online radio show “Championship Thinking in Sports” and has worked with individuals and teams at the amateur and professional levels.

Meier outlined five core components required for baseball excellence, listed below.  Those asterisked are specific to “mental smarts” and mental toughness:

Access to and use of information
• Timely
• Accurate
• Complete
• Understandable

• Physical
• Psychological*
• Emotional*
• Spiritual

• Technical
• Physical
• Situational Analysis
• Mental*

Proper Equipment
• Glove
• Bat
• Shoes

• Desire*
• Commitment*
• Attitude*
• Drive/Passion*

On the subject of proper equipment, Meier noted that it’s important to have fittings for player’s apparel to enhance self-esteem, which will impact mental performance.  He reminded me of UNLV’s awesome Equipment Manager, Tausha Smith, who geared out our players with the motto “look good, feel good, play good.”

Coaches try all sorts of tactics to motivate their players, from pep talks to rewards to discipline.  Meier noted that coaches should create an environment for players to motivate themselves.  While only some of the points above are specific to mental toughness and “smarts” all of them can contribute to a player’s intrinsic motivation.

Meier outlined several examples of sport psychology concepts negatively impacting performance and a method to “fix” the problem.  A playing example was a hitter who is feeling fear.  The concept Meier uses to coach the player is Self-Image, i.e. the way that they picture themselves.  The technique he uses to reinforce a positive Self-Image is to have the player picture themselves as an aggressive animal.  A coaching example used (yes, this topic impacts coaches too) was a coach who felt uncomfortable and indecisive in making pitching change decisions.  The concept Meier uses here is Self-Talk.  Raising awareness of the language and quality of Self-Talk and writing down successes encourages positive Self-Talk, which impacts comfort and decisiveness.

My Most Important Thing

As well as Self-Image and Self-Talk, Meier teaches 18 other concepts including Belief, Attitude, Relaxation and Goal Setting.  A common goal for all of them is for players to tell themselves what they want their performance to be, rather than what they don’t want it to be, saying “as I think, so I play.”

Last Up: Keith Vorhoff

On Deck: Mike Birkbeck


tagged under: baseball, coaching, softball, sport psychology

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About Liam Carroll

Liam Carroll

Liam was a Regional Coach and then Development Coordinator for BaseballSoftballUK until May 2014. He returned to his hometown of London to work for BSUK in 2010 after stops in Somerset, Bristol, Cornwall, California and Nevada. Growing up playing in Britain, Liam made the move to America to study and play university baseball. After figuring out that his future would be brighter as a coach rather than player, he moved to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to finish his degree and coach college baseball. Since then he’s coached youth and adult teams on both sides of the atlantic and with the Great Britain Baseball National Teams.

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