|The Mental aspect of being an Outfielder
by IMG Baseball Academy
Outfield Tip: MAFA
The mental aspect of being an outfielder should not be overlooked. An easy way to keep your mind straight is to remember the acronym MAFA.
MAFA stands for:
Outfielders are the last line of defense and need to make plays on the ball with that mindset.
Many outfielders at the high school level also serve as pitchers. You must be prepared pitch to pitch at any point.
Keep your attention focused on every batter. Any lack of focus can be detrimental to the team’s overall defensive goals. Even if you go a few batters or innings, you must keep your attention sharp.
You must be able to adapt to changes to your outside environment as a player. Always keep in mind what the playing surface is like. Will the ball be wet? Will the wind carry the ball deep, knock it down short, or blow it to the left or right? Do I have to battle the sun? Is the outfield grass short or long, and how will that affect the speed of groundballs.
Each situation in a game presents different circumstances on which you need to focus. For example, what is the game situation? What is the score and the number of outs? What inning is it? How many runners are on base? Did they use a pinch hitter? Where did the batter hit the ball in previous at-bats? What is the hitter’s count? Outfielders should always be aware of their positioning, and that starts with knowing the game situation.
As a competitor, you should want to be involved in every play. This doesn’t always mean making the specific play. It could mean simply backing up an infielder on a play. You should know the role that you are assigned to play and always be ready.
Remember, outfielders can serve as the hero or goat of a game. Using the MAFA technique, it could help you make the game-saving play.
Jason Elias played four years of college baseball. He now serves as a coach, outfielder expert and baseball operations coordinator for the IMG Baseball Academy.