The Most Overlooked Mindset Tips in Baseball

Written by VersusTue Nov 08 2022
The Most Overlooked Mindset Tips in Baseball

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Grit. Tenacity. Competitiveness. A growth mindset. Resilience. Self-belief. These are all essential mindset skills that every athlete should work on. But if you want them to move the needle in your baseball career—you must learn them properly.

Albert “The Machine” Pujols shares some unconventional mindset advice that has kept him at the top of the league for 22 years.

It’s a familiar refrain: “Baseball is 25% physical and 75% mental.”

Then, there’s usually a pep talk about positive thinking or mental toughness. And not much in the way of useful advice that you can actually implement to improve your game.

At Versus, we agree that mindset is essential for success in baseball. But developing the mentality needed to win is more complicated than some would have you believe.

Grit. Tenacity. Competitiveness. A growth mindset. Resilience. Self-belief. These are all essential mindset skills that every athlete should work on. But if you want them to move the needle in your baseball career—you must learn them properly.

To be effective, mindset training for baseball should be delivered by someone who has experience in the theory and practice of the skills being discussed. This could be a player, coach, or sport psychologist. So long as they have the kind of crystallized intelligence that comes from applying theoretical mindset concepts in real-world situations.

Mentors like this know what works for mindset in baseball and what doesn’t. They also know what strategies give the biggest returns regarding performance, ensuring that you focus on the areas that really matter.

This last point came to light when we asked MLB veteran Albert Pujols for mindset advice. He reminded us that even though the dialogue around mindset has evolved in recent years—the fundamentals are still what has the biggest impact. We sat down with him to record an exclusive video training session, where he outlined some key mindset principles for baseball that are often overlooked. 

We’ll get into these in a moment. But if you want to watch the full video to hear everything Albert has to say on this topic—choose a plan, download the VS app, and start learning.

Our free plan gives you access to one video session of your choice. While the standard and premium options come with the full library of video content from our star-studded roster

With any Versus plan, you can utilize our advanced AI-powered technology to ask interactive questions from our team. Just imagine, being able to ask Albert for mindset tips right before a big game. Or getting advice on stretching and arm care from Adam Wainwright.

Versus has everything you need to get better—all on an easy to use digital platform you can access anywhere.   

Now, let’s look at Albert Pujols’ advice on the mindset principles required for success in baseball.

A One of a Kind Mentor

When it comes to mentors in baseball, Albert Pujols is in a league of his own.

In what is likely his last season of a highly-decorated 22-year professional baseball career—the Dominican-American slugger is currently just two homers shy of becoming the fourth player in MLB history to reach the 700 home run club.

The future Hall of Famer is considered one of the greatest hitters in MLB history. And as the oldest current player in the MLB, Pujols has an enviable list of awards and achievements, including:

  • 2 x World Series Titles
  • 6 x Silver Slugger Awards
  • 2 x Golden Gloves
  • 3 x National League MVP awards
  • Only player to hit 400+ home runs in his first 10 seasons

Albert has a lot to be proud of. And you might think that someone at his level could be out of touch with the needs of junior players who are still developing. But in our work with Pujols, we’ve found that the opposite is true.

Whether he’s teaching on hitting mechanics, being a good teammate, or overcoming adversity—we’re constantly astounded by how straightforward and down to earth Albert’s advice is. And with mindset, he’s no different.

Know What You Want and Don’t Give Up

“Wanting to give up is something every athlete goes through,” explains Pujols. “But the guys that have success—they don’t throw in the towel.”

At first glance, this statement might seem like one of those flippant mindset recommendations without substance. But there is a very specific reason Albert stresses not giving up, which is tied to everything else in the video.

For Pujols, “not throwing in the towel” isn’t so much about perseverance and not giving up on your dreams. Both are important, but neither will turn you into an elite athlete on their own. It’s a recognition of the fact that not giving up is the only way you can get better.

Albert doesn’t view mindset as some kind of secret skill you can learn to suddenly dominate the baseball field. He explains that it’s about “getting your mind right and going for the things you want to accomplish.” 

According to Pujols, mindset is about staying in the right state to continually do the work to succeed in your baseball career. And that work always has to be focused on growth and development.   

Always Stay Open to Adjustments and Learning

It might not sound as exciting as mental toughness, grit, or always giving 100%. But always staying open to adjustments and learning is Albert Pujols’ top piece of mindset advice. 

And when you stop and think—it makes a lot of sense.

Especially in a technical sport like baseball, where players have to master such specific skill sets. And pitchers and hitters are constantly engaged in the equivalent of an athletic chess match. It’s easy to get sidetracked with the more technical aspects of mindset.

But in most areas of baseball, mindset included, the fundamentals are where most of the results come from. 

In line with The Pareto Principle (or the 80/20 rule)—there is a core set of basic skills related to hitting, pitching, fielding, and mindset—that yield the vast majority of an athlete's results in each area. 

And when it comes to mindset, the core skill that leads to most of the benefits, is staying open to adjustments and learning. 

Let’s take a look at how to put this into practice.

Maintain a Beginner’s Mind

The concept of “beginner’s mind” is helpful to further illustrate the points Albert makes in the video.

According to habits and performance thought leader James Clear—who played baseball for 17 years—maintaining a beginner's mind actually becomes more important as a person advances in skills and knowledge. 

Beginners are always open to learning. Soaking up new knowledge like a sponge. Then applying that knowledge, learning from the results, and improving their skill and ability in the process. But as we become an “expert” in something, we tend to close our openness to learning something newlearning, and our progress and skills plateau.

In some areas of life that’s fine– but in baseball, the moment you stop growing is the moment you get overtaken by the competition.

Pujols credits being open to adjustments as being a primary contributing factor in his massively successful career. Stating, “Even after 22 years in this game, I’m always open to continuing to learn.” 

An example Albert gives of adjustment paying off, was the change to his high leg-kick when he started hitting with a wooden bat after high school and college. This led to his signature “tippy-toe” step before a big swing, which he claimed made him much more balanced and explosive over the plate.

According to Pujols, the key to ongoing development is always being willing to learn from others. “Whatever can help you to get to the next level, you have to be open to it,” he states.

He admits this isn’t easy, as there are times a coach might make a suggestion you don’t initially like. In this case, Albert urges players to, “Respect their thoughts. Be quiet. Listen. And when it’s time to talk—see if you can meet in the middle and try something new. Because that’s always going to help you grow.”

Pujols has consistently been open to learning from other players as well. He talks to teammates about their training, recovery, and in-season routines, always on the lookout for anything that might improve his game. “I use that for my advantage,” he explains. “I always learn from all the guys on my team.”

Never Experience a Slump Again

Pujols gets fired up in the video talking about slumps.

“I hope all these young athletes listen to this,” he states. “There’s no such thing as a slump!”

Now, is Albert saying that he doesn’t believe players can experience a prolonged drop in performance? Not at all.

The point he is making—is that “a slump” isn’t some random decrease in an athlete’s ability. It’s a sign that a player has stopped growing. Stopped learning. And stopped adapting.

If you want to avoid slumps and reach your full potential in baseball. Recognize that the “beginner’s mind” is a fundamental mindset technique that must stay with you throughout your career.

As long as you always stay open to adjustments and learning, you will give yourself the best chance of overcoming obstacles and staying one step ahead of the competition.

To watch Albert Pujols’ full training video on mindset for baseball. Or to improve your game with any number of other sessions from our roster of elite athletes and world-class coaches. Simply select a plan, download the app, and start learning. 

If you want to learn more from Albert Pujols about hitting and what it takes to have a winning mindset, head over to Versus and check out our Game Plans. Any of our packages will get you access to our lessons, plus tons of other training sessions, interactive content, and more.

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