Chicago Cubs: Addison Russell showing improvement in second half
By Paul Steeno
Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Russell has changed his mental approach to his game as well, and this has made him more relaxed at the plate. The change in approach centered on shifting focus away from his own statistics and to stop trying to do too much at the plate. Cubs manager Joe Maddon assisted with this, even requiring Russell to read a Stephen King book to get his mind off of baseball when he wasn’t at the ballpark.
"Just to get him when he leaves the ballpark, he leaves the ballpark and gets caught up in a different part of his imagination or mind and not dwell on particularly bad or good. Have an escape and not just be this guy that just watches SportsCenter, reads about himself in the newspaper and never gets away from it. —-Quote obtained by CSN-Chicago reporter JJ Stankevitz"
Russell said that the adjustments to his mechanics along with the change to his approach has helped him become more comfortable at the plate.
"Trying to get my mind off numbers and stuff like that. I just go out there and do what’s comfortable. I’m seeing the ball well. Even my outs are aggressive. I’m not slapping the ball on the ground, I’m barreling the ball up and just missing it. It’s a good thing now. –Quote obtained by MLB.com writer Carrie Muskat"
Russell was hurting himself by thinking too much. The big thing that changed between the first and second half of the season is pretty simple. He reverted back to the basics, while making small adjustments in his swing mechanics that would help him hit more efficiently. Mental approach is half the battle to becoming a great hitter. Russell no longer worries himself with the statistics and just goes out there and hits. These simple adjustments have made all the difference.
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