Research into sabermetrics and baseball theory has yielded a couple of interesting, but often controversial results. It argues that there is no such skill as clutch hitting that a player cant up their game in a clutch trouble in order to improve the alternatives of landing a base hit and scoring the run. It argues that catchers have little to no effect on pitching ability at least, not to a point that is measurable by a lot modern technology. It believes that sacrifice bunts are a bad decision in nearly 80% of all attempts.
One of the things that make baseball fantastic is that lovers are welcome to figure out what beliefs they want to subscribe to. Traditionalists could prefer to trust that RBI, ERA and Wins are an accurate judge of skill. Those that follow sabermetrics could prefer WAR, wOBA, tRA and FIP. There could be lovers that consider in a mixture of both.
Sabermetrics and Psychology
But there is one thing that I consider sabermetrics has flawed. Sabermetrics believes that there is no such thing as a hot streak. And while there could be a couple of truth to that belief, it also ignores an extremely important phase of human psychology.
Research has shown that hot streaks arent predictive; that if a player is hot, they still have roughly the same chance of getting a hit or getting out as their true talent level, implying that there is no such thing as a hot streak, and that as an alternative a hot streak is simply a term people use to describe the effects of randomization. If you flip a coin 10 times you have a chance of getting 10 heads, but that doesnt mean that the coin is hot in favor of heads. Its a coin, its random, and it simply happened that ten heads in a row the place hit.
On the one hand, since hot streaks arent predictive, it is absolutely possible that they dont exist. But on the opposite hand, the idea that somebody cant be on the top of their game goes against something we also know to be true namely, that a player that is feeling too a good deal pressure or struggling could start pressing. Weve all seen gamers that are clearly trying too hard to break out of a slump, and the pressure and anxiety of a 3-hitter is causing them to struggle.
So maybe the effort isn't always that a hot streak doesnt exist. Maybe its that were defining it flawed. Maybe what we need to focus on as an alternative is how to ensure the player is at his best making sure he experiences the least amount of anxiety and tension so that he is playing to the only of his ability with every at bat. That way, hed be improving his alternatives of hitting the ball with authority, because he wont be experiencing the stress and anxiety that often hold gamers lower back.
Even the only hitter in baseball is going to fail sixty five% of the time, and because large amounts of hitting is luck (when a ball is caught by a diving defender or narrowly gets under a gamers outstretched glove) and chance (hitting against a bad pitcher or a good pitcher) there are going to be a couple of perceived hot and cold streaks that are nothing extra than random variation. But at the very least, it should be possible to decrease a gamers stress and anxiety so that theyre able to bring their absolute best to every at bat, and in doing so increasing their alternatives of getting right into a hot streak and bringing extra value to their team.
How to Reduce Player Anxiety
The idea of intellectual preparation for a 3-hitter is a confusing one. On the one hand, a gamers previous performance is going to play a role if the player has been struggling of late, theyre likely experiencing extra stress. If a player is hitting well, they likely have extra confidence. But there are a couple of strategies that gamers can try to initiate earlier than a ballgame:
Routines Having a pre-set recurring that you complete every game beyond the traditional warm ups is often a beneficial tool. Routines have long been a solution for anxiety disorders and panic attacks because they give people a sense of normalcy during the stress of the day. Players will ought to develop a recurring that keeps them comfortable, but as long as they find something that works for them they should be capable of deal with their anxiety earlier than the game and earlier than each at bat.
Relaxation Exercises There are large amounts of different relaxation exercises that a player can complete earlier than a game. Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and other tools that may aid gamers (secretly, if they like) enjoy greater relaxation earlier than the game no matter how theyve been playing.
Living Healthy It sounds like a cop out, but the reality is that far too many gamers live unhealthy lifestyles during the season, and considerable research has shown that living recklessly increases anxiety. If gamers arent eating healthy, getting a full nights sleep, and drinking less alcohol/coffee, theyre going to experience extra anxiety. During the season, gamers should do their best to live a healthy lifestyle especially if theyre feeling anxious earlier than a game.
Knowledge Far too few baseball gamers do any research or preparation earlier than a game. But research into who is pitching against them, park factors, defense, and many others., can go an extended way towards helping a player put together mentally for a game. Knowledge can result in confidence, and while no player is guaranteed to succeed even if they know what pitches are coming or what a hitters weakness is, knowing what to exploit can be a substantial benefit.
Personal Relaxation The reality is that baseball is a team game made up of individual performances. Players dont pitch with their teammates standing on the mound, nor do they hit with their other teammates standing with them in the batters box. Its continually a one on one showdown. That is why gamers experiencing anxiety need to also find anything that relaxes them and do it. What the team does earlier than a game is extremely important, but what a player can do to feel relaxed is extra so. If the player relaxes by talking to lovers, then he should refer to lovers. If the player relaxes by sitting alone and listening to Hold On by Wilson Phillips, they should do that too. Players need to find out what makes them comfortable and go with it.
By the time any player reaches the MLB, theyve seen or thrown tens of thousands of pitches, played in dozens of different parks, and worked extremely hard to refine their talents and make it up to the present. There isn't always a good deal extra they may do to practice and change who they are. What they may do, though, is ensure that theyre in the only intellectual health possible to succeed. That means they need to manage their anxiety and mentally put together for each game. Any player that comes to each at bat 100% focused and prepared for each pitch is going to be in an improved position than a player affected by anxiety and stress, and if they may find a way to mentally put together, they give themselves the only chance of helping their team and succeeding in any metric (traditional or SABR) that we, as lovers, opt for to follow.