Major-League Minds

Reports on the role of a baseball player's mind on his performance. Study by University of Washington psychologist Ronald Smith who measured the psychological abilities of 104 minor-leaguers.

By Peter Doskoch, published on September 1, 1996 - last reviewed on June 19, 2012

Baseball cards always list a player's height and weight, but maybe they oughtto add some stats on confidence and concentration. According to University of Washington psychologist Ronald Smith, Ph.D., a balling arm and his speed around the bases.

Smith, who moonlights for the Houston Astros, measured the psychological abilities of 104 minor-leagues and checked in three years later to see how they were doing. It turned out that such traits as the ability to thrive under pressure predict as much about a hitter's chances for success as his physical skills do. And mind matters are even more crucial for pitchers--they're a better yardstick of a pitcher's future performance than IQ is for a college student's grades.