Red Sox

“I’m a firm believer that the harder you try, the deeper you get into them. It’s like quicksand.”

Justin Turner believes trying harder during a hitting slump is counterproductive. Michael Reaves/Getty Images

In Justin Turner’s eyes, attempting to quell a hitting slump mirrors attempting to escape from quicksand.

“The harder you try,” Turner said, “the deeper you get.”

The Red Sox infielder – a career .289 hitter who is as consistent as ever in Year 15 – recommends simplifying one’s approach as much as possible. Simplify the routine. Simplify the number of swings. Simplify the goals in the box.

It’s not about going up there and getting a hit to get out of the slump, Turner said. It’s about taking a good-at-bat and waiting for the right pitch. The more you think, the worse you’re likely to do, he insists.

He recommends trying to be a bit more passive, seeing pitches, and gathering information. That removes some of the anxiety that comes as a result of a dry spell and brings the hitter back to basics.

“You’re 0-for-4, 0-for-8, 0-for-10, now you’re scrambling, you’re trying all this stuff,” Turner told Boston.com. “You’re changing everything, you’re complicating things, you’re overthinking everything.”

He believes Keanu Reeves was onto something in the movie “The Replacements,” when he said frantically fighting back will only make battling quicksand worse.

Turner has no idea what his worst slump was. He acknowledged it’s human nature to try harder, but it’s crucial to fight that urge as much as possible. From his perspective, it’s counterproductive – at least in baseball.

He said he’s still learning that process, and it’s easier said than done.

“From afar, it’s easy to sit back and say you should be doing this, this, and this, and that’s going to help you,” Turner said. “It’s harder to recognize that in ourselves and take the same advice we give to other people.”

Turner typically stays in his lane, but as a veteran and clubhouse leader, he sometimes sarcastically drops in helpful comments to teammates in the cage that have an element of truth to them.

“Hey, why don’t you just not take any swings today?” he says. “You’re taking a thousand swings. It’s not working. Why don’t you just go up there raw and see if that works? Simplify it. Dumb it down.”

Turner also tries not to take baseball home with him or let it affect his daily life outside of work.

When he gets home, he and his wife, Kourtney, typically exchange three questions and three answers. Questions like “Why did you guys decide to do this and not this?” “Explain that play to me” and “Why is this one a forkball and this one a splitter?” are answered.

That’s it. Then it’s time to watch TV, hang with the dogs, and clear his mind for the next day.