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Baseball Team


Pre-Game Visualization and Activation Routine

Proven pre-grame routine for elite teams and programs. Elevate focus and confidence with preparation and mentally induced muscle memory.

Preparing to Compete

Prior to competition, athletes complete a Sevwins Pre-Performance Journal to prepare for their competition. This can be inter-team competitions, scrimmages or games. The goal is to get athletes to prepare for competition by committing to two mindset strategies:

1. Mantra
Define who you will be today. A strong mantra will be used as a focus trigger or adversity reset.

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2. Performance Target
Define the one thing you will do better today than ever before. This creates a strong state-of-mind and focus on improving 1% today.

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Separate to be in the Moment

The refreshing aspect of sports is that practices and games create a special space and time where outside stressors can be set aside and dealt with later. Our goal, as coaches, is to teach athletes how to separate and focus on the task-at-hand. This results in the ability to perform in the moment. 

Coaches can help athletes learn to separate life stressors from practices or games using two proven methods:


  1. Remind athletes to put outside stressors “on the shelf” as they enter the field or gym. Let them know those stressor will be waiting for them when the practice or game is over. Right now, there is nothing they can do about those stressors.

  2. Embed separation strategies in the below visualization and activation routine. 

Learning to separate life stressors from competition builds experience to deal with adversity during competition. For example, a basketball player’s shot is blocked. Is the player able to quickly regroup and get down the court to focus on defense? When a baseball player has a tough at-bat, are they able to leave the at-bat in the dugout to focus on defense. 

There are many examples where separation can become the differentiator in an athlete’s ability to perform at a high level and recover from adversity. Separation and mantra triggers go hand-in-hand to enable athletes to reach their potential.

Build Muscle Memory & Confidence with "Movies"

Rehearsed visualization or often called guided imagery, mental rehearsal, mediation and a variety of other names, allows athletes to practice complex motor skills to develop and sharpen routines, approaches and muscle memory. Visualizing movement patterns share the same brain mechanisms as physical movements. In other words, visualization taps into the same brain activity used when physically executing the same skill. Visualization creates muscle memory and confidence.

Visualization and Activation Basics

The subconscious mind recalls memories in the form of short visuals or what we like to call “performance movies.” Our goal is to tap into the subconscious mind to create memories that translate into successful movement patterns, feelings and intended outcomes. To do this, Sevwins subscribes to visual manipulation that young athletes can quickly grasp and understand. 

Organizing visualization reps into short movies like a Netflix, YouTube or Hulu interface can help athletes visually store and organize reflective movies. Our goal is to create a series of “movies” athletes can create, fine-tune and recall in preparation and during competition.

Visualization is like anything else – it takes repetition and hard work. Some athletes will need to replace negative videos with positive videos through repetition. Others will need to work on entering into a first person state to maximize the impact of visualization. 

Coach Guided Visualization and Activation Routine

The following Visualization and Activation Routine is baseball specific and focused only on position players (not pitchers). Adapt the scenarios for your sport or position type. The goal is to create visual movies that are specific to a critical activity the athlete will rehearse prior to competition. In the case of baseball, we provide guidance for one offensive and one defensive movie that results in several byte-sized rehearsals.

1. Set Up: Visualization and Activation

  • Begin 30 minutes prior to competition or when you, as a coach, feel it is the right time.

  • Remind athletes the purpose of visualization. 

  • Have athletes lie down on their backs (on the field, in the locker room, etc.).

  • The Visualization and Activation Routine will take roughly 8 minutes.

  • The routine is designed to be guided by a coach to identify key scenarios and movement patterns.

2. Get Into the Moment

Control the breath to control the mind and body. Our initial goal is to slow the system by implementing several rounds of the box breathing technique. 

Box Breathing to Calm the System
Breath out through the mouth for a 4-count, hold breath for a 4-count, in through the nose for a 4-count, hold for a 4-count.

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→ Coach:
“Out through the mouth, 2, 3, 4”
“Hold, 2, 3, 4”
“In through the nose, 2, 3, 4”
“Hold, 2, 3, 4”

Repeat 2x

→ Coach:
“Keep your box breathing going. Let’s get into the moment. Before we do, we need to separate all the things that are on your mind with the current task-at-hand. Take 15 seconds to think about all the things on your mind - school, relationships, whatever is on your mind.”

“Now see yourself physically putting those things on a shelf outside the field or court. You might even want to put them in your car or your locker.”

“Know there is nothing you can change about those stresses now. They will be waiting for you after the game (or practice).”

“Keep your rhythm in box breathing. Focus on your breath. Feel the ground with all of your sensors, feel the slight breeze, smell the grass. You hear the music as it begins to give way to your breath.”

3. Assume the Mantra Persona

→ Coach:
“You all should have your mantra set. Who are you going to be today? Take on that persona. Out of your own eyes, see it. Feel it.”

Athletes keep box breathing while visualizing their mantra.

4. Defensive Visualization Series

Start with the first action your athletes will do in competition. For example, if you are the home team in a baseball game, start with a defensive visualization. In basketball, you might start with the tip-off. In this example, we are the home team in baseball. 

→ Coach:
“Visualize your own organized movie collection. If you need inspiration, think of your Netflix account, except this collection is full of all the positive stuff you did to get where you are today.”

4.1 – Coach Guided Defensive Visualization

→ Coach:
“We will start with defense today. I’ll walk you through the first rep. Hit the plus button to create a new movie.”

“You are exiting the dugout. Feel the crunch of the dirt as you leave the dugout, then the softness of the grass, then the crunch of the dirt. You get to your position. Feel the warm air, slight breeze, smell the grass, hear the music.”

“Let’s get locked in for [pitcher name]. You say your mantra, now.”

“[Pitcher name] takes a look at his card, gets set on the rubber, lifts his leg, you see the pitch location and the angle of the bat. The ball is hit hard in your direction. You attack the ball with light, airy feet. Your shoulders are relaxed. Hands are quick. You work through the ball and throw the ball on a line through your target.”

4.2 – Self-Guided Defensive Visualization

→ Coach:
“Hit pause and rewind back to when [pitcher name] is getting his pitch from the card.”

“Now you do it on your own. Your job on this rep is to get it crystal clear. See the rep through your own eyes. Remove the frame, get rid of the fuzzy edges, be in it.”

“Say your mantra and go!”

4.3 – Crystalize Defensive Visualization

→ Coach:
“Hit pause and rewind back to when [pitcher name] is getting his pitch from the card.”

“Make it even clearer this time.”

“Say your mantra and go!”

Give your athletes 30 seconds to rehearse the visual.

“Pause the movie. Slide that movie to the side and save it for later. Let’s make a new movie.” 

5. Offensive Visualization Series

5.1 – Coach-Guided On-Deck & Attack Off-Speed Visualization

→ Coach:
“We're on offense now. Your buddy is at the plate, and you are on deck. Go through your full on deck routine. Be meticulous.”

“Your buddy gets his sign from Coach [name], steps in the box, pitcher lifts his leg, pitch is delivered. Ball 1. Catcher throws the ball back to the pitcher.”

“Your buddy gets his sign from Coach [name], steps back in the box, pitcher is set, lifts his leg, pitch is delivered on the outside corner, your buddy hits a laser - one hop off the outfield wall in the gap. Your buddy gets out of the box hard, rounds first and gets to second base. He’s cranking it up and your teammates are going crazy in the dugout.”

“But you, you are locked in because you have a job to do. You leave the on-deck circle. The crunch of the dirt quickly turns into a softness of the grass. You cross over the hard halo surface and feel the crunch of the dirt as you approach your side of the plate. You get your sign from Coach [name], nothing is on. You know this guy will throw something soft away. You collect yourself, say your manta and step in the box to go to war. Pitcher gets on the mound, gets his sign from the catcher. He comes set, lifts his leg and delivers the pitch. You stay in your legs and attack the off-speed pitch away. You hit an absolute laser in the gap. You get out of the box hard, round first, get to second and you are cranking it! Your teammates are going crazy.”

“Hit pause on that movie.”


5.2 – Self-Guided Attack Off-Speed Visualization

→ Coach:
“Rewind it back to before you get your sign from Coach [name]. This time, make it even more clear. Remove the black boarder, get rid of the edges. Make it as real as you possibly can. Feel your muscles fire. Say your manta and go!”

Give your athletes 30 seconds to rehearse the visual.

“Hit pause on that movie. Save it for later.”

5.3 – Coach-Guided Attack Fastball Visualization

→ Coach:
“Rewind it back to before you get your sign from Coach [name].”

“This time you will attack the fastball.”

“You are just outside of the box. You get your sign from Coach [name]. You commit to the job your teammates expect you to do. You say your mantra and step in the box to go to war. Pitcher is on the mound. Looks into the catcher to get his sign, comes set, lifts his leg and throws a fastball. You stay in your legs and get off on the fastball. Ball is hit hard in the gap. You bolt out of the box, round first, get to second and you are cranking it. Your teammates are going crazy.”

“Hit pause on that movie.”

5.4 – Self-Guided Attack Fastball Visualization

→ Coach:
“Rewind it back to before you get your sign from Coach [name]. This time, make it even more clear. Remove the black boarder, get rid of the edges. Make it as real as you possibly can. Say your mantra and go!”

Give your athletes 30 seconds to rehearse the visual.

“Hit pause on that movie. Save it for later.”

6. Self-Guided Activation

→ Coach:
“You now have 3 movies you can recall in the field, on deck and before you get in the box. 
The first one is you attacking the ball with lite feet on defense. The second is you staying in your legs on off-speed. The 3rd is you attacking the fastball and getting out of the box hard."

​"Get reps on those three movies and get ready to go.”

Give the athletes 1 minute to crystalize their movies. Coach says nothing during this time.

Maximize the In-Game Experience

Using the Mantra During Games

Encourage athletes to repeat their mantra as a performance trigger and an adversity reset. Looking at a specific item on the field, whether it’s a spot on the bat, glove or a foul pole can provide an opportunity to incorporte their mantra and get locked-in.

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Capture In-Game Reflections and Notes

Many athletes carry notebooks to capture reflections on specific plays. For example, after a hitter comes off the field in baseball, they often log quick notes about their at-bat. Use Sevwins Open Journal to capture thoughts in real-time to get to raw, unfiltered thoughts.

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Reflect on Preparation Plan, Approach and Results to Improve

Evaluating performance with a vulnerable approach leads to an improvement plan. Sevwins Performance Journals are designed to simplify reflection so athletes can improve faster. After competition, athletes evaluate their performance and create a plan to build on strengths and work on weaknesses utilizing Sevwins Post-Performance Journals.

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