Life Lesson Initiative – #4 FOCUS / PONY


Ken RavizzA, the Godfather of Mental Baseball (who we lost in 2018) says this: “Take care of the next pitch. Can I bring what I have, right now, to this next pitch?”

How’s this funny phrase: Focus Bursts. Focus comes and goes in short waves. Five seconds of focus during a single pitch… and relax. Five seconds of focus during a single pitch… and relax.


Games are the easy part. Getting athletes to focus at practice takes true coaching skill! We need great practice plans, with athletes divided into small groups, short stations, and maximum involvement to demand focus. Truly, that’s entire idea behind Dugout Captain. How can we work together to run better, more engaging practices for our athletes? Outside of the topic of practice-planning, what are some tangible ways of improving athlete focus:

Focus Friend – Toss a baseball up and have players clap when you catch it. Or, have players finish your sentence: “When I say hard, you say work. Hard ___. Hard ___.” Try my personal favorite, “Eyes up, mouths shut.”

Pre-Pitch Mantra – Try “Baseball Ready!” and hold athletes accountable to lock in with their eyes, their focus, and their defensive baseball-ready position.

Make focus important this week. Build out a practice plan that creates focus.  Focus is a skill and a skill that can be improved!

Play hard, have fun!


Learning to compete with a healthy perspective can be difficult. And maintaining your team’s focus without yelling is tough. But that’s no reason to turn into Coach Testosterone!  I’ve found John, Reed, and the crew at CTGP to be great accountability partners in creating focus for my own athletes. And I’ve shared their material several times in our work together here at DC. Please use their tools and support their work. If you need an in-person event for your group or league, this is THE group to partner with.

Changing the Game Project is a movement dedicated to returning youth sports to the kids and putting some “play” back in “play ball!” We provide educational resources and live workshops for coaches, parents, schools, and youth sports organizations across the globe, and have partnered with MLB and Little League to provide resources to baseball families of all ages.

  • What do you FOCUS on before a pitch?
  • How do you use your FOCUS-power at school?
  • Offer a suggestion for our team’s pre-pitch mantra.

Get to the ready position before EVERY ground ball in practice and every pitch during games this week.

Choose a pre-pitch mantra to get your squad into the defensive ready-position (example: “Baseball ready!”).