MLB News: Rangers Focusing On Mental Skills Development

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Ernesto Cova

Mental health training is becoming a big thing in major sports. Sports psychology went from being taboo to a vital part of sports training, as emotions can take a big toll on performance.

With that in mind, the Texas Rangers are looking to make great strides in that direction. They made several big moves in the front office, including putting together a department of leadership, organizational development, and mental performance.

There, under Ben Baroody's direction, sports psychologist Hannah Huesman is trying to make a difference.

Baseball Is Making Strides In Mental Health

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Huesman, a former softball player at the collegiate level, had already helped the Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies in that regard. Now, she's trying to carry the torch in the Lone Star state:

“The sport that was really embracing mental performance the most was baseball," Huesman said. "The best opportunities were there, even though there's not very many, but it was a no-brainer. It was cool that it was the sport that I love and I've been around my whole life.”

Your Mind Can Be Your Biggest Ally

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Simply put, Huesman is there to help the players be the best version of themselves, not only physically but also having mental strength by their side:

“It’s helping people's minds work for them instead of against them," Huesman explained. "It's really about helping you become the best version of you.”

Mental Health Affects Performance

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Experts and studies have proven that anxiety and mental blocks have a negative impact on athletic performance. That's why Huesman's role will be vital in the players' development going forward:

“It comes down to identity and knowing who you are and then knowing how situations that you are put in affects your performance,” Huesman said. “It’s knowing, 'How can I be the best version of myself in the moment that I need to be at the absolute heat of the moment at the end of the game?’”

Players Need To Work On That

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Huesman adds that players will need to work on those skills off the field as much as they hit the weight room:

“It's my job to be out there and remind them and observe them and see things that they can work on and be better with and also acknowledge when they're doing something really well,” Huesman concluded.

It's great to see MLB teams go past the stigma and focus on mental health as much as they do on physical training. It's been too long already.