Mind Games: Does Using a Mental Skills Coach Improve the Performance of Professional Baseball Players?
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CitationHayes, Christopher. 2019. Mind Games: Does Using a Mental Skills Coach Improve the Performance of Professional Baseball Players?. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThis study collected an unprecedented dataset from 194 current and former professional baseball players to investigate how professional baseball players who work with a Mental Skills coach differ from players who do not. Specifically, the study found players who worked with a Mental Skills coach played statistically significantly longer (2.3 years longer, on average) and reached statistically significantly higher levels of professional baseball (1.25 levels higher, on average) than players who did not work with a Mental Skills coach, even after correcting for selection biases. Additionally, players who worked with a Mental Skills coach self-reported statistically significantly more positive responses to statements like “I got everything out of my skillset” and showing significantly more positive responses to the question “How did your off-the-field life (relationships and/or habits/activities) affect your on-field performance?” While the hypotheses of improved statistical performance, as judged by Earned Run Average and Batting Average, as well as by the frequency and duration of slumps and hot streaks did not evidence statistical significance, a significant flaw in the data collection process caused very poor performance to be encoded as performance with a Mental Skills coach since poor performances often led to a player hiring a Mental Skills coach and this very poor performance often occur immediately before hiring the coach. Numerous trends in the data show optimism for a future study with improved data collection processes and improved research design to examine performance benefits of Mental Skills coaches.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42006727