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Dr. Ken Ravizza – Bad Attitudes in Baseball

Chad Moeller and Ken Ravizza Discuss Correcting a Bad Attitude


Chad Moeller with Dr. Ken Ravizza Video – Bad Attitudes in Baseball Players

Chad – So I work with a lot of players and I hear questions from parents and one in particular is boys with bad attitudes. They got a temper especially if they get out and dealing with that and just being a good sport on the field, not being that kid, but being able to embrace the fact that you’re playing a game and being able to deal with not having success, what would you recommend?

Dr. Ken – Well I think one of the things is that you’re not going to be successful all the time and you’re going to hit a point where you’re going to have to learn to deal with your failure and your frustrations but the issue I think is when it reaches the point of anger, its little things building up because back to when we were talking about the signal light analogy. Athletic performance is like driving the car. You come to the light, if it’s green you go, yellow you tend to the intersection, red you stop. Very often the kid is going through some yellow lights and doesn’t even recognize it, so the little frustrations are building and then wham! It becomes anger. So as a parent I think one of the things that becomes important is first off, settle the kid down. It’s just like basic behavior in the home.

Chad – Right.

Dr. Ken – You know, go to your room, cool off, whatever the thing is. Get down to their level, ok what happened here? Alright hey, there was this frustration, that frustration, this frustration and then wham! Can we do something beforehand? Yes the umpire made a bad call, yes there was the error. Did you go to something to get control of yourself? Because the beautiful thing that the game has Chad. The game has a batter’s box. When I step in the batter’s box I’m ready.

Chad – Right.

Dr. Ken – The game has a rubber. When I put my foot on the rubber I’m ready. You need to make sure you’re ready. If you’re not ready, don’t put your foot on the rubber. Don’t step in the box. Yeah, time and space ok. I can be mad over here, not over here.

Chad – Right.

Dr. Ken – And that’s the control issue ok and it’s a parent validating for that.

Chad – For succeeding at doing yeah.

Dr. Ken – Yes, also if they’re getting that angry over the results, they’re too focused on the outcome because a lot of what the mental game. The mental game is in the present. The mental game is in the process. The controllable’s are the process. The controllable’s are the approach. You don’t have control of the outcome. You don’t have control of the results.

Chad – No that’s perfect and it’s a perfect life skill because we don’t, we don’t have control over most of the results and the sooner we learn how to deal with it and learn how to cope with it the better.

Dr. Ken – And this is one thing you see all the time Chad, at the higher levels. With the college coaches, the major league scouts. What are they looking at? They’re looking at a quality called mental toughness and how do you see mental toughness? You do not see mental toughness when a player is going 4 for 4 and hitting home runs. You see mental toughness when the player has to deal with adversity and how do they handle it. How did they do after they strike out with the bases loaded? Did they get back to the rail and support their teammates or in the dugout smashing the bat rack.

Chad – Yeah.

Dr. Ken – That says a lot.

Chad – That says a ton right there.

Dr. Ken – Yes and it’s not easy.

Chad – No it’s not easy.

Dr. Ken – And that’s what we need to validate them for.

Chad – Absolutely.

Dr. Ken – You know, now question.

Chad – Nope that’s perfect.

Dr. Ken – Yep.

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Dr. Ken Ravizza on Dealing with the ‘Yips’

Chad Moeller and Ken Ravizza Discuss the ‘Yips’


Chad:  – So Ken, there’s a common problem in baseball and no one wants to talk about it. I dealt with it when I was in high school and I battled it my entire career although no one, or very few people, know anything about it. It often has nicknames, the thing. Its most commonly referred to as ‘the yips’ and what have you found with ball players and dealing with it. Have you had any success with dealing with this because it’s a scary, scary thing for a ball player and it’s being able to not do the most remedial thing, throw a ball where you want to?


Dr. Ken:  – Right. I think one of the things Chad that’s real important is it’s not just in baseball , in golf, it’s in almost every sport where the most basic fundamental skill. I saw it in gymnastics where they couldn’t do the most basic move you can learn as a ten year old in Saturday gym two weeks before nationals. I saw figure skaters before the Olympics; they couldn’t do the most basic things. Then a lot of the stress of the situation gets played out on that thing and I think, first thing I would say is anyone who is dealing with this or you have a child who’s dealing with this is just how courageous that person is in taking this on because their being embarrassed, their embarrassed and there’s fear and their addressing it and their dealing with it so, I mean being as supportive as you can. I think the common thing is well just do it, just throw the damn ball you know and if they could they would.


Chad: – Yeah.


Dr. Ken – I think some of the things that with different people it works different ways. I wish I could tell you do this, this and this and it’s guaranteed for success but I think one thing is that if you can just settle yourself down, get relaxed, see if you can visualize yourself, see yourself go through it, feel it, taste it. Go through it almost in slow motion, making the throw, visualizing it. If you can’t see it sitting down then stand up and go through the actual movements. That would be one thing I have found for some people that helps. Sometimes throwing into a net where you eliminate the target and you keep the focus just on good sound mechanics and stay with the mechanics and it’s almost something in some cases that you can work through over time but there’s no guarantees here. I wish I could say this is going to do it. Another thing would be after you make the throw or as you’re throwing, don’t have the throw end with the throw. Have it end with hitting the glove. If you can put the thought process, the focus, on hitting the glove it’s not on am I going to throw the ball away. Another, I have a graduate student that said what he focused on was the footwork instead of the throwing action. Whatever it takes for you but you don’t want to start well I’m going to do this this throw, this this throw, I’m going to do this today. That didn’t work. I’m going to do another one tomorrow. You want to stay with these for a little while and try them out.


Chad: – Right.


Dr. Ken: – But most importantly Chad it’s sort of like your son or daughter’s very courageous in taking this on and really be there to support them and validate them with that.


Chad: – I think you’re exactly right because it’s a scary time and I’ve found that catchers I’ve worked with and dealing with it myself, a lot of it has to do with fear, embarrassment, that whole question am I good enough? You know what they are being courageous and it is something difficult and they can overcome it. I know it never totally left me. It always was in my head. I played and 99.9% of people would have no idea that I dealt with it besides people that I divulged it to. But I also find that it makes it worse sometimes to hold everything in as opposed to just let somebody know and be open that this stinks and it’s uncomfortable and I don’t like how it feels and then I find that you can breathe a little bit easier and you know it makes it a little bit simpler from that standpoint. It’s still difficult.


Dr. Ken: – And I think it’s something Chad I know in our conversations when we used to talk about it when we were first working together. The thing I got from our conversations specifically was some days it’s there, some days it isn’t there, some days it’s there to different degrees and to have something in place for when it’s there and to not be so is it there, isn’t it there, oh it’s there ahhhh!!! But ok I got to deal with it today. This is what I’m going through.


Chad: – Yeah.


Dr. Ken: – And I think from a parental analogy, where we can tie life analogy, is hey we have good days, we have bad days, we have days where we break an arm. We got to go through work with a cast on and you’re learning to compensate and adjust.


Chad: – Yeah. Thanks that’s great Ken and it is, it’s tough and if somebody’s going through it, I feel for you and I’ve been there and hopefully you’ll be able to get through this.


Dr. Ken: – But I think the point your saying is reach out, get some support.


Chad: – Absolutely.


Dr. Ken: – And hey you’re courageous in terms of getting after it.


Chad: – Absolutely.


Dr. Ken: – Definitely.


Chad: – Thank you Ken.



Dr. Ken – Yep.

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Dr. Ken Ravizza on Dealing with a Game that’s based on Failure

Baseball is a Game based on Failure – Dr. Ken Ravizza


CHAD – So baseball’s a game based on failure basically, especially from a hitting standpoint. How do we deal with failure and mistakes in baseball because there always put out there, we have errors and we make mistakes constantly and at the plate we strikeout or we groundout and we fail 70% of the time and we’re great. How do we deal with that?

Dr. Ken – Yep, I think this is the key thing because one of the things that’s very important, especially the culture that were in today, is that everyone wants to feel comfortable all the time and his parents and I’m sure I was guilty of this Chad with my children and I’m sure with your children. You want to do everything you can so they feel good and they feel comfortable.

CHAD – Right.

Dr. Ken – But the issue is in life, things aren’t always comfortable, things aren’t always good.

CHAD – Right.

Dr. Ken – And part of it is we really have to help people learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable because that’s what competing and performing is going to do. It’s going to put you in difficult situations and the game’s going to test you and this is where the mistakes and failure come into play in terms of “failure is positive feedback, failure is information, failure gives me direction on what I need to work on to get better.” Now right after a game sometimes it’s difficult to sit down and talk about what went on is the game and why did I do this or why didn’t I do that because your too emotional.

CHAD – Right.

Dr. Ken – This is why the car ride home sometimes is not an interrogation of what happened blah, blah, blah. But now if your son or daughter wants to talk about it, then I would say talk about it. But if they don’t want to, wait till you get home. Give them some time to decompress.

CHAD – Right.

Dr. Ken – Because you’re going to get emotional, they’re going to get emotional. Now I’m speaking as the sports-psych person here but I’m also speaking as a parent who when my daughter played travel ball, we took a weekend to be on the road and she’s got an attitude out on the field and I could be at home doing other things and we’re here and you’re acting like this. See I have some compassion and empathy for what we’re going through but there’s a point we’ve got to talk about it, but right after is not necessarily the point. And then it gets back to the issue of what did I learn? What do I need to get better at? That is huge and that’s one of the big life lessons because we don’t go through life with success, success, success, success, success. You run into failure, there’s no question but it’s the failures where we really take the biggest strides forward. That’s where we really learn and that’s how we deal with those failures, is how we get better. And I think it’s apparent this is where you need to be there to support your child and it gets back to some of the things we’ve talked about in our earlier talks about responsibility and accountability. Did you do what you had control of?

CHAD – Right.

Dr. Ken – Because one thing Chad that I’ve learned over the years no one likes losing. If you like losing then it’s time to be done competing. But when you go to bed at night after a game and the opponent beat you, you can sleep.

CHAD – Right.

Dr. Ken – When you beat yourself, that’s when you toss and turn and you need to get the lesson from whether the opponent beat you. What do I need to get better at? what do I need to work on and if I beat myself, where did the breakdown occur. How can I get better at that?

CHAD – That’s perfect and that’s reality where these are life lessons as well as baseball lessons and sports lessons so.

Dr. Ken – And the other thing Chad I think that’s fascinating with hitting in baseball is yes, a 300 hitter fails 7 out of 10 times but also the other side of that equation is, as a hitter you only have to beat the pitcher one pitch.

CHAD – That’s it one pitch.

Dr. Ken – One pitch, one pitch and you can get beat the first two pitches and you have to beat him one pitch. We forget that. We always here unsuccessful 7 out of 10 times but you only have to beat him only once.

CHAD – Only once?

Dr. Ken – Yep.

CHAD – Now that’s perfect thank you Dr.

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When Does the Baseball or Softball Game Begin

When Does the Baseball or Softball Game Begin



We talked about when an at bat begins, but when does a game begin?  Do we prepare before they throw the first pitch?

I think it’s the same concept of going into something and doing something coming out of it.  For a young athlete generally it’s going to school before a game.  You got to go through school and then baseball.  The whole checking in process of getting yourself from school, down to the baseball area, changing clothes.  The changing of school clothes to baseball gear and making that switch and going to the field and then at a certain point putting on the spikes  and walking through the gate of the field.  I like the symbol of putting on the spikes and walking through the gate in terms of ‘what is my mission today? What is my goal?  What one thing I’m working on today?  Offensively?  Defensively?’  So there is a little bit of a purpose in what we are doing.

For a lot of kids it’s just about being with the team, being with the guys.  But if you’re going to take it to the next level you have to be on a mission.  You’ve got to be getting better.  Because when you take the spikes off you need to ask yourself what did I learn today?  What did I do well? What did I do with my goals?  What do I have to be better at?  That goes for when I go to the cage or what am I working on?  Because when I’m around athletes.  What I ask a lot is, “What are you working on? I’m not talking about ‘I’m working hard and I’m going to smash the ball’.  I’m talking about, “what are you working on?”  Hands? Stride? Staying back?  Part of that is what you retain.  So, there is a clicking in process from school to baseball.  Baseball back home.  Homework. Taking care of family responsibilities.  Go out there and do those particular things.  Parents know that this is an important life skill because we, as parents, we have work and we need to come home and be the father, mother, or parents.

So we have the changing of the clothes, shifting the gears.

We see it as a life skill and we will be a non-baseball player much longer than will be a ballplayer.  It’s a transition.

Another thing that goes with this is you are also not leaving until you are done.  You need to finish the thing.  You need to bring it to the end.  To conclusion.  In baseball it happens so much.

The pitcher gets 2 quick outs and thinks he’s done and then ½ hour later he’s still out there.

Or the hitter that has an 0-2 count. I tell pitchers’you’re ahead of him sure, but then start taking him for granted and you lose him’.  One thing about baseball is that you got to respect the moments.  If not, the game will whack you in the side of the head.

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Mental Coaching for Baseball and Softball

Mental Coaching for Baseball and Softball

Hi, I’m Chad Moeller of ChadMoellerBaseball.  I’m here with a great friend of mine, Ken Ravizza, sports psychologist.  We spent a lot of time together through my career.  16+ years together going back to college.  He helped me through so many things.  I’m just pleased that he was willing to take part in these videos with me.

We want to get into a lot of what takes place on the field.  We do a lot of work on the mechanics of playing this game.  Throwing, hitting, catching, but little gets put into the mental side.  Which is probably the biggest part.  Lots of kids have talent.  Lots of adults have talent.  But how do you separate yourself?  Most of it takes place in your head.

When I was in college I learned that I couldn’t do it on my own, and I needed help.  Over the course of my career, Ken was a dear friend of mine.  I definitely could not have played as long as I did, and as successfully as I did without him.

Ken has worked with numerous major league teams.  He works with colleges.  Works with the Olympics.  A dear friend.

We’re going to talk about takes place in the brain today and how it affects us on the field.

So, let’s start out with “what is mental coaching?”  Why do we need to actually worry about this?  What makes you so darn good at it.

KEN:  First of all Chad, I think it is great where you are sharing because baseball is a mental game.  There is so much time to think in the game.  The 6 inches between the ears need to remain clear, and that is what we are trying to do.  Where the mental game comes into play is the terms of when you look at the big game.  How much of the big game is physical and how much of the big game is mental?  You look at the breakdown.  Even if you say it is 30% mental and 70% physical.  How much time do you spend on your mental game?

When you said you were at USC and you started to realize that we could work together because the mental game basically are skills.  And skills can be learned.  It’s an educational approach somewhere in what you do is provide people with information.  You give them skills to use that information and then you support that in refining and developing those skills so they work for them.

So, for an athlete on a mental perspective, the athlete has a hard time in pressure situations.  They get keyed up.  They get too keyed up.  They get too excited.  They want it so bad.  The need to have the line skills to regulate themselves, to calm themselves down.  The one has to be supportive as they learn these skills such as breathing, relaxation, visualization, to calm themselves down.  So its an educational approach and then that’s when you go back to your career, we came together.  I gave you some information.  I gave you some fill.  You were the one who took it and ran with it, and modified it into a system that worked for you.

In baseball the mental game is keeping on it because there is so much failure built into us.  You fail 7 out of 10 times.  How do you get yourself to the next pitch when you have all that failure going on.

At the higher levels, whether its making an all-star team or club team, the physical talent balances out.  What becomes important is the 6 inches between the ears and how you deal with adversity.  How do you learn to compensate and adjust.  That’s more mental than it is physical.  That part of the puzzle.    The other thing that goes into baseball is that baseball is an interesting sport because it’s a team sport, but its an individual sport.  You stand alone and you have to perform.  In soccer you blend into the masses.  It’s not basketball where it is go-go and the team is always moving.  There’s stop, go failure.  Look at the failure.  Get to the next pitch.  How could you blow that, and get to the next pitch?  So, the mental game is just so important and I think the parents watching this with your children.  The can learn to control the mental side of the game.  They may not have the talent or the game itself does not a allow them to get the results.  Hit the ball hard, you may be out.  And that validates them for working the process and giving them the best chance for success.  So, that’s where the mental game comes in.

CHAD:  That’s perfect.  It is a process and you need to learn new skills.  What most of these boys need to learn is that it is a process  and they do need to learn this.  It doesn’t happen over night.  Not instantly.  To have total command over their brain, much like they want to have over a fastball or their bat.  It takes time.

KEN:  And the other thing, Chad, is that it is very important that these skills, these mental skills, come into focus.  The ability to focus.  The ability to set goals.  The ability to compensate and adjust.  The ability to have a plan and have a routine to go through.  The beautiful thing about it is that these are life skills.  Yes, we use them in baseball, but you can use this stuff throughout your life.

That’s what’s important for me and the parents out there.  I do have a dream that your son or daughter sampling major league baseball while they are getting a college scholarship in baseball or softball, but if they don’t they are still going to get a lot of valuable lessons learned.

The question you asked me is a key question of why is the mental game important in the first place.

Chad, I have to tell you this story.  It’s a good one.

10-15 years ago my daughter had me come into high school softball team.  I’m going to talk to the team for a half hour about the mental game.  I am a wreck going into to talk to my daughters team.  Olympic teams, baseball teams, no problem.  But my daughters team is a big deal.  I go in and I speak for a half hour.  I wowed them.  It was unbelievable.  I just nailed it.  They then went out and had practice.  I went home and was sitting on the couch when my daughter comes in.  I said, “Monica, what did they think?”  She looked at me and said, “Dad, they did not have a clue of what you were talking about.”

From that day on, whenever I talk about the mental game we always start with “why is it important?”  Why are we doing this?  To this day I start there.

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