SI Daily Cover: Mental-Skill Coaches More Prominent In MLB - Sports Illustrated

Daily Cover: In a Time of Uncertainty for MLB, Mental-Skill Coaches Take Center Stage

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As Major League Baseball continues to assess potential ways to return to the field, a lot remains uncertain. Mental-Skills Coaches have become more prominent in baseball recently, elevating the importance of approaching the game from more than a physical standpoint. These coaches have been vital in uncertain times as players attempt to get their bodies and minds ready with no set timetable. 

In Today’s Daily Cover, Emma Baccilieri examines the question: how do you prepare players when you don’t know when or how they’ll be playing again?

Read the full transcript below: 

Madelyn Burke: As Major League Baseball continues to assess potential ways to return to the field, a lot remains uncertain and in today's Daily Cover, Emma Baccellieri examines the question, "how do you prepare players when you don't know when or how they'll be playing again?" Emma, you point out how mental-skills coaches have become so much more prominent in baseball and recently, and how would you describe the role of a mental-skills coach?

Boston Red Sox mental skills coach Bob Tewksbury, left, greets starting pitcher Robbie Ross Jr.

Boston Red Sox mental skills coach Bob Tewksbury, left, greets starting pitcher Robbie Ross Jr.

Emma Baccellieri: So, we've seen a lot of teams add mental-skills coaches in the last five or 10 years and really their job is to do everything that a strength and conditioning coach or physical trainer would do for a player's body to take the same kind of work and apply it to his mind, mental skills and his emotional approach to the game. So anything like focus, confidence, meditation, things that help a player stay centered and be able to have his mind in the best place needed to be able to execute what he wants to do between the lines. They take care of all of that.

Madelyn Burke: And having a resource like that must be hugely important at a time like this when so much remains uncertain.

Bob Tewksbury giving a talk about his new book, 'Ninety Percent Mental' at the offices of Preti Flaherty

Bob Tewksbury giving a talk about his new book, 'Ninety Percent Mental' at the offices of Preti Flaherty

Emma Baccellieri: Yeah, absolutely. A lot of mental-skills coaches right now say that it's really kind of showing how that the skills that they would normally be teaching them, they can work just as well for life as they do for baseball. So things like setting routines, meditating, being mindful, being really in touch with your emotions, and how you're feeling and processing uncertainty. All of that, that's the stuff that they've been taught in the context of baseball but right now, it's really for just about anyone. It's really powerful as a tool to kind of navigate the uncertainty that everyone's going through right now.

Madelyn Burke: Absolutely. SI MLB writer Emma Baccellieri, thank you so much for the time. 

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