The Psychology of Baseball by Mike Stadler

One reason I was a poor baseball player (aside from an obvious lack of talent and nonexistent athletic ability), was my inability to cope with failure. Though I was a decent hitter in high school (which was a small school in a small school athletic conference), I could not tolerate striking out. In fact, I absolutely hated it. I used to go berserk. I could not understand how, after countless hours of practice, would miss three times during a single at-bat. Luckily by my senior season, I found some Zen. I no longer screamed my lungs out after striking out. My teammates (and equipment) no longer had to fear my explosions.

The Psychology of Baseball by Mike Stadler is a book about baseball written by a psychologist. When I picked this book up I was hoping to learn more about the players handle or mishandle the game of baseball.

Though there are some interesting bits here and there, this book was a swing and miss for me. The first chapter is about the audacity of hitting a baseball. Hitting a baseball is very hard, almost impossible. You can fail seven times out of ten and be considered a hall of fame hitter. In this first chapter, you learn a lot about the physics of pitching and hitting and the biology of a hitter’s reaction, however, you get very little psychology.

In fact, it seemed like the book didn’t dive into deep psychology until the middle of the book. Furthermore, baseball and psychology were disconnected at times. Baseball is simply used as a vehicle to discuss psychology. There would be multiple pages describing a Yankees/Red Sox game with useless statistics and unnecessary anecdotes.

This book was fine, it’s just a swing and a miss for me.