Book Review: Ninety Percent Mental Provides Insights For Baseball And Beyond

In the age of big velocity and Statcast and spin rates, there is a tendency to overlook the fact that baseball is still a game played by humans, with nerves and anxieties and insecurities that affect performance and sink careers.

In their book “Ninety Percent Mental” former All-Star pitcher Bob Tewksbury and renowned baseball writer Scott Miller peel back the stat lines and take you inside the mind of a player, and a pitcher specifically, and how they battle the same inner demons we all do.

Tewksbury, who now serves as a mental skills coach for the Giants, effectively draws from his own experience to bring readers inside the mind of a pitcher, and just how fragile the line between success and failure can be with the wrong frame of mind. From how pitchers visualize their success, to their pregame routines, to the words they mutter to themselves on the mound, to their actual pitch quality, Tewksbury draws a straight line that is easy for all to understand and relevant beyond baseball.

With funny, charming and insightful anecdotes, Tewksbury and Miller keep readers interest whether they are a fan, player or just an avid reader without interest in baseball. They bring together an all-star cast of players, from Jon Lester to Anthony Rizzo to Andrew Miller, to talk about the same mental battles they go through and bring the reader further inside the clubhouse than they could otherwise go.

Where Ninety Percent Mental excels most is its versatility. Its messages about focus, positive thought and how to silence inner doubt are relevant beyond the baseball word. Whether you are an amateur pitcher, a business owner, a doctor or a stay-at-home parent, Tewksbury’s messages and anecdotes resonate.

With Miller’s deft reporting and Tewksbury’s insights, Ninety Percent Mental flows smoothly and maintains reader interest the entire way through. In the era of Big Data, the book is a refreshing look at the human side of the game and an important reminder of the challenges even major leaguers face in staying in the right frame of mind.

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