Battle Mode — Brandon Belt

When you play 162 games, plus games in the spring and postseason, you find yourself developing pre-game routines. For me, and I think for most guys, it’s not about superstition, like wearing the same socks during a winning streak. It’s about getting your brain into a battle mindset.

Having a routine saves you a lot of energy. You don’t have to figure out a new way every day to switch off normal-life mode and turn on focus-and-fight mode.

I’ll take you through my pre-game routine and mindset.

I start to feel the change on my way to the ballpark, whether I’m driving myself to AT&T or taking a taxi or the team bus to a ballpark on the road. My body and brain know a game will be happening in a few hours. It’s like the dogs in that experiment – what was that guy’s name? Pavlov?

So at that point I’m feeling some anxiousness. For a 7:15 game, I’ll get to the park around 2:30. When I step into the clubhouse, my demeanor gets more serious. I’m having fun with my teammates, but I’m not as goofy and loose as I am at home. I’m enjoying myself, but my body and brain know the clubhouse is my place of work.

As the game gets closer, I’m feeling more intensity. I just get going. I used to feel the intensity and restlessness way too much, and I had to learn how to calm myself down.

I did this in a few ways. I stopped – or at least I try really hard to stop – worrying about results. I can’t control them anyway. What I CAN control is how much I prepare. So I make sure I do everything possible to feel as prepared as possible mentally and physically. If  I know I’ve done everything I can do – take extra fielding or batting practice, get my sleep, eat well, go over the defensive charts — I’m going to feel confident and more relaxed.

After BP, I eat, stretch, open mail, etc.

As teammates start to pull on the game uniform, I wait. I stay in my practice uniform or in a T-shirt and shorts.

About 30 minutes before the game, I change into my game uniform. By then, everyone else is already dressed.

Putting on my game uniform is the final step in getting into full battle mode. It’s like putting on armor. For a few minutes, I sit quietly in front of my locker. I’m not having conversations. My mind is focused on what I need to do to help us win. I’m thinking about my approach at the plate: Keep it simple, stay within yourself, see the ball and hit the ball. I try to keep myself from getting too caught up in the opposing pitcher’s strategy. Don’t overthink it.

But soon I have to start moving. Once the uniform is on, my brain and body are on red-alert to play. I want to get going. I might expend a little energy taking some cuts in the batting cage behind the dugout. I might walk to the dining room and grab something to drink. I want to just get out there and play. It drives me nuts to just sit at that point.

I’ve been doing this same routine, more or less, since I was in the minors. It keeps me calm, gets me focused and energizes me for another game of a very long season.

Thanks for reading. . . And thanks for all the All-Star votes! It really means a lot to see and hear about the efforts to get the vote out. I feel really lucky to play for the best fans in baseball.

(Movie reviews soon.)

 

 

13 Comments

Thanks for posting. The results speak for themselves. You consistently improve and perform better and better. Keep it going!! Thanks again. Go Giants!!!

Love to hear about your routine. Miss the blogs when they stop for a bit. Good luck on your game today. We love you Brandons!!!

Thanks for sharing, I often wonder what baseball players do to get ready for games. What if there was a 1:00pm game, what time you have to be there by 8am, 9am?

That explains why you’re always the last one out to the field before a game. (Yes, I keep a careful watch on you!) Congrats on Splash Hit #69! So glad I was there to witness it firsthand! Here’s to many more!

BTW, can’t wait to try your Belt’s Monster Meat pizza. Looks delicious!

Thanks Brandon, This is a helpful guide to preparing for anything you feel is high stakes! Great as always to get your insights on the game and being a Giant. Hope your wife and son are doing well – can’t wait for the movie reviews!

Thanks for the post, Brandon. I like to watch the Brandon’s double plays! The best in the business in my opinion. Go Giants! Glad we won today.

Happy Birthday America. I can’t tell you Brandon Belt what a great player I think you are. In 2012 I posted that you were the best First baseman I had ever seen. Until recently it seemed like no one gave you the credit you duly deserved. I’m 65 and have watched thousands of games. Some of your hits and plays are the best I have ever seen. Did you ever think it is because you are coming from the “Room of Grace?” You’re a great man !

I just want to add that you deserve the All-Star team this year. Go Giants!!

I’ve made it my mission for the next 3 days to vote you in for the All-Star game. Who’s with me?!

Me, a #SFGiants Gamer Babe

Brandon, I’ve been having such a wonderful season so far watching you improve upon your improvements. Your approach at the plate have definitely made you a more dangerous batter and I just love that #69. See you in San Diego!!! I’ve been voting to the point that I can hear the mouse clicks in my sleep.

I had a dream of verification numbers and meeting the Brandons at the marina the other night, haha.

Brandon:

The Brandons.com promo you and Craw did is hilarious. Keep up the good work both on the field and in the studio. While there have been no Presidents named Brandon, the name Brandon features prominently in Game of Thrones. That’s kinda’ cool.

Anyway, keep being awesome, hope you make the All Star Team and have a great second half. Go Giants!!!

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