This study investigated the effect of two different preparation methods on hitting performance in a high&ndashfidelity; baseball batting simulation. Novice and expert players participated in one of three conditions: observation (viewing a video of the goal action), visualization (hearing a script of the goal action), or a no&ndashpreparation; control group. Each participant completed three different hitting tasks: pull hit, opposite&ndashfield; hit, and sacrifice fly. Experts had more successful hits, overall, than novices. The number of successful hits was significantly higher for both the observation and visualization conditions than for the control. In most cases, performance was best in the observation condition. Experts demonstrated greater effects from the mental preparation techniques compared to novices. However, these effects were mediated by task difficulty. The difference between experts and novices, as well as the difference between the observation and visualization conditions was greater for the more difficult hitting task (opposite&ndashfield; hitting) than for the easier hitting task (sacrifice fly). These effects of mental preparation were associated with significant changes in batting kinematics (e.g., changes in point of bat/ball contact and swing direction). The results indicate that mental preparation can improve directional hitting ability in baseball with the optimal preparation methods depending on skill&ndashlevel; and task difficulty.