In my last post, Pitching Principle #2: Momentum, I talked about the power of momentum and how you can use it to your advantage. And one of the great things about pitching is you get to create your own momentum. You’re the one with the ball, after all.
But to do this, you need to start by taking action. So as a follow-up, I wanted to give you some simple steps to help you get started.
5 Steps for Creating Your Own Momentum:
1. Train early weight shift:To create good momentum in your pitching delivery, you need to get your body moving towards home plate. Here’s a good drill for training early weight shift:
To start, find a net or wall to stand next to, and practice your motion with or without a ball. When done correctly, your throwing hand shouldn’t come close to hitting the net.
2. Incorporate long toss and step behinds into your throwing program:To really get the feel for throwing with good momentum, it can help to free yourself from the confines of the pitching delivery. When doing these, just focus on maintaining your driveline and getting your body moving towards your target.
3. Train & work with other motivated people:Even the most dedicated player is going to have days when he doesn’t feel like training. This is when having a group or team of equally motivated, dedicated players can make a big difference. You’ll pick each other up and give each other a good kick in the rear when you need to.
Then there’s the added benefit you get from friendly competition. Some days, you may think you’re working hard, but then seeing how hard the other guy’s getting after it, you’ll find a way to take it up a notch. The right training partners will help you keep moving, progressing, building momentum. I can’t understate how powerful this can be.
4. Remember that YOU are in control:It’s important to remember that, as a pitcher, you are the one in control. Nothing happens until you throw the ball. Your mindset, your mental approach, will dictate how you pitch. You want to project confidence on the mound, a sense of being in command, that you’re focused on attacking the strike zone.
Get ahead and work fast. When you attack the strike zone and work fast, you put the hitter back on his heels, on the defensive. Take a page out of Mark Buehrle’s playbook.
Take a step back and reset when things are going against you. When things start speeding up and you sense things slipping away, you need to stop and disrupt that negative momentum. Step off the mound, relax and get some perspective. Remember you are the one in control. Keep it simple and focus your attention where it needs to be: your next pitch.
5. Take action and be consistent:Set motivating goals and review them daily. Challenge yourself to do this over the next 30 days. Write down your goals and every day (preferably first thing in the morning and before you go to bed) review your goals. It can help to have them posted somewhere you’ll see them often (next to your bathroom mirror, for example). If you repeat this for 30 days, it will become a habit, something you just do as part of your normal routine.
Commit to taking the necessary steps to move towards your goals. Ask yourself what you can do today to make you a better pitcher. Maybe it’s time in the gym, maybe it’s your bullpen and developing command of your pitches, maybe it’s visualization practice. Whatever it is, make it clear, achievable and commit to taking action today.
Build on your successes. When you accomplish your short term goals, keep raising the bar higher, set your sights on the next steps you need to take near-term. Acknowledge and feel good about your accomplishment, but don’t rest and let yourself lose momentum.
Bonus Step:Whenever you feel yourself losing momentum, watch this video.
Say what you want about Ray Lewis, the man can motivate!