Major League Baseball: 27 teams work with a mental coach


They’re not introduced in the opening-day pageantry. They don’t wear uniforms. They don’t have lockers in the clubhouse. Some even have weird titles, just to protect their anonymity. Yet, behind the scenes, there are proving as invaluable as any staff member in a Major League Baseball organization.

Mental skills coaches, employed by a record 27 baseball clubs to open the 2018 season, are valued more than ever.

“If you said mental skills before,’’ Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon says, “that was an absolute sign that you were weak among the old-school guys. Deep down, there were a lot of guys who wanted to talk to them, but they knew that if they were seen talking to them, it would be seen sign as a sign of weakness. And the manager might think less of him.

“That was an absolute fact, and even today, I don’t think that stigma has been totally erased. To think that psychology is an indicator of weakness, truly is an ignorant statement. When people are fighting it, it’s only because they don’t understand it.

“It’s no different than your hitting coach, your pitching coach, your infield coach. A mental skills coach is going to help you think better, think more clearly in the moment, and control your emotions.’’

In the words of the late Yogi Berra: “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.’’

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