Not many baseball players made more contact in there careers than San Diego Padres Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.
Here's some evidence:
If we take Yogi Berra's word for it a lot of success in baseball is mental and Gwynn undoubtedly employed multiple strategies to improve his mental approach to hitting. Noted in many of the recent tributes to Gwynn in the wake of his passing last month was his use of a simple mental strategy to promote focus and motivation.
Gwynn had the number 5.5 stitched into his cleats. The number represented the area between the shortstop and third base where the left handed Gwynn often sent the opposing pitcher's offering on his way to 3,141 career hits. Gwynn made contact with his goal each time he laced up his cleats. When a person gives their brain a target, it gives it something to attend to which when practiced can limit the impact of external influences. In Gwynn's case the number 5.5 served as a reminder that kept him tasked focused despite the complex environment a major league hitter finds himself in.
Athletes can learn to leverage Gwynn's strategy by recognizing meaningful task focused cues and finding creative ways to make contact with them. These moments of contact will help focus your next performance.