A useful guide for coaches and advanced players.
Figone, a baseball player and professor of kinesiology (Humboldt State), believes his book can help players perform better and become more confident through daily practice and an awareness of their basic skill levels. The goal, Figone says, “is to design a mental skills program for baseball, specifically for each individual skill executed, learned, practiced, and repeatedly evaluated for improvement from its baseline measure.” When a player can calm his or her nerves and lets muscle memory take over, then their performance will improve. First published in 1991, the book’s latest version includes a discussion of how coaches and players can use computer technology to improve performance. Figone examines each aspect of offensive and defensive play, providing detailed breakdowns of proper form and training. Also included is an appendix that provides worksheets to evaluate players at all positions, including in the batter’s box. Figone breaks the game down into fine details, which can be somewhat overwhelming. For example, he provides three pages explaining nine different kinds of steals (ball trajectory steal, jump steal, on-your-own steal, must steal, etc.) and how a player should perform in each situation. Combined with the encyclopedic approach to playing baseball, the dry, often technical language shows that this book isn’t for young or even casual players; it’s aimed squarely at coaches, even professional managers, and novices might find their heads spinning with unfamiliar terms. Readers who don’t know a suicide squeeze from a force out should seek a more rudimentary title, but those looking for a detailed breakdown of our national pastime need look no further.
Valuable, comprehensive instructions for potential big leaguers.