The Mental Road to the Major Leagues

A Guide for Rising Ballplayers


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SKU: 9780786465637 Categories: , ,

About the Book

Integrating sport psychology with the personal testimonies of baseball players, this helpful guide offers a step-by-step overview of what it takes for a boy playing little league baseball to work his way to college ball, the minor leagues, and beyond. Throughout, emphasis remains on the mental challenges players face and ways players can prepare for these challenges, both on and off the field. From college scholarships to meager minor league salaries, from getting traded to getting injured, this handbook will help athletes and parents navigate choices while illuminating the mental aspects that give the game its unpredictability and vitality.

About the Author(s)

Kelly J. Pfaff teaches writing at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Peder N. Piering, a clinical and sports psychologist, is founder and president of, which offers psychological consultation to athletes and coaches.

Bibliographic Details

Kelly J. Pfaff and Peder N. Piering
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 201
Bibliographic Info: appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6563-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8806-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. Growing Up with Baseball      7

2. Getting Noticed      23

3. Draft or College      43

4. The Apprenticeship      59

5. AAA      84

6. The Call-Up      113

7. Winter Ball      130

8. The Show      150


A: Psychological Characteristics of Peak Performance      169

B: Understanding and Using Imagery in Sport      72

C: Relaxation Techniques for Regulating Arousal      176

D: Vital Skills for Generating Energy      178

E: Goal Setting: The Game Within the Game      180

F: Patterns of Distorted Thought and Maladaptive Thinking      83

G: The Performance Triad: Thought, Feeling and Action      186

Bibliography      189

Index      193

Book Reviews & Awards

“This book provides a realistic picture of the mental challenges players will face in the game and lifestyle of baseball. It is a useful, inspiring read for baseball players at any stage of their careers.”—Jack Curtis, PhD, mental skills coach, Philadelphia Phillies; “Kelly Pfaff has interviewed Major League Managers, Olympic baseball coaches, and professional and collegiate baseball players in her quest to study the route from amateur to Major League Baseball player. She’s studied all the steps along the way and provided it for you in a wonderful package.”—Jim Murphy, author of Inner Excellence.