There’s a great scene in Bull Durham where Annie gives Nuke Laloosh (best baseball movie names ever?) some perplexing advice…

Annie: “I want you to breathe through your eyelids.”

Nuke: “My eyelids???”

Annie: “Like the lava lizards of the Galapagos Islands.”

She also has him start wearing a garter belt under his uniform… all in the interest of distracting his mind from the tension-inducing thoughts that swirl through his head on the mound.

The anxiety and strain of having to throw strikes (amid his own doubts and fears).

The solution… Take his mind off of it.

And in the process, free himself up to do what his body already knows how to do perfectly well.

Without the voice in his head gumming up the works.

And wouldn’t you know it, things start clicking.

Nuke starts pitching like a man possessed.

He only runs into trouble later when his eyelids get “jammed.”

But that’s okay… Because just as Nuke tells Annie in the end:

“You know something, Annie… You can’t breathe through your eyelids.”

Annie: “Of course you can’t breathe through your eyelids. Whoever told you such a ridiculous thing?”

But there IS something to the idea of tuning out that nasty voice in your head.

And replacing it with something else…

Here are three things that worked for me in my career (give ‘em a try):

1. Tapping Into Music:

One thing I liked to out on the mound, any time I found myself getting tight was just to hum one of my favorite songs. Always got me in a groove, kicked my right brain into gear and got me ready to go.

2. Having a Mantra:

To keep me focused on process (vs. being overwhelmed by circumstances and potential outcomes), I liked to utter the simple phrase, “Execute.” Worked great to keep me calm and locked in.

3. Using Super Powers:

This one’s a little whacky, I admit. But it has to do with your ability to VISUALIZE. You know how Superman could use his laser-beam heat vision to blow something up? Before I’d go into my motion, I’d try to see a red laser beam focused right on the catcher’s glove. Hey, worked for me… don’t knock it til you give a it a try!

So no, you’re not a lava lizard…

But you can take a clue from the idea to help you stay in the zone out there on the mound.

It starts with developing a powerful delivery your can TRUST when it matters most.

So when the lights are on and you’re between the lines you can just let loose and do your thing…

With Confidence and Power.

Click here to learn how:

Until next time…

Committed to Your Pitching Success,

Coach Phil

“The Natural” was easily my favorite baseball movie growing up.

And it was more than just being drawn to the mythical, bigger-than-life Roy Hobbs who could blow it by “the Whammer” on 3 straight pitches and hit a game-ending 500 foot moonshot into the stadium lights…

And a bat named Wonderboy he carved from a tree out back that got struck by lightning when he was a kid.

That was part of it.

The purity of it.

[h5]But it’s also a story of redemption.[/h5]

Of a guy who makes mistakes, gets derailed…

And comes back.

He’s surrounded on all sides by crooksters, gamblers, hustlers… forces trying to corrupt him and bring him down.

And every time he gets away from the PURITY of the game and what he LOVED about it when he was a kid, he gets off track and his performance suffers…

Until he reconnects with his high school sweetheart.

Reconnects with that kid he was and what he loved so much about the game in the first place.

There’s a great line in the movie that I puzzled over when I was a kid…

Roy Hobbs is laid up in bed (in a maternity ward of all places) recovering from an internal wound, still paying the price for an incident in his past.

And Iris (played by Glen Close) says:

“Now I believe we have two lives…”

Roy: “Hu-What do you mean?”

[h5]Iris: “…The life we learn with. And the life we LIVE with after that.”[/h5]

Today, with my playing days well behind me, I feel I know exactly what she meant.

I made all kinds of mistakes as a young ballplayer.

And there are plenty of things I’d do differently if I could do it again…

  • In terms of my APPROACH
  • How I took care of myself

You can even apply her statement to each and every game or practice…

“What did I learn today?”

“How can I USE that knowledge to help me get better tomorrow?”

My young self was clueless about those things.

But here’s what I wouldn’t trade for anything…

The lessons baseball taught me.

Because when you dedicate yourself to something like being the best pitcher you can be…

And stay TRUE to it… it can’t help but change you.

It’s not just about becoming a better pitcher (though that part is nice)…

It’s the person you become in the process.

And today, I’m blessed to be able to pass along some of those things I learned in my FIRST baseball life with the next generation of pitchers.

And it doesn’t get more rewarding than that.

Do YOU know what you’re going to do today to get better for tomorrow?

Or are you just winging it…

If you could use some hands-on guidance and structure to keep you moving forward towards your baseball dreams, I’ve got good news.

Today, I’m opening up TWO additional spots in my Remote Coaching Program.

Click Here to Get Started

Now this hands-on coaching isn’t for everyone.

Here’s how to know if you’re a good fit:

  • You’re dedicated and ready to see how good you can be
  • You’ve got long-term goals and you’re willing to put in the daily work to make them reality
  • You can find an extra 10-15 minutes a day to get it done
  • You understand your focus, attention and consistency will make the difference

Again, I’m only letting in TWO pitchers right now and these spots will be gone fast.

Click Here to Claim Your Spot before it’s gone.

Until next time…

Committed to Your Pitching Success,

Coach Phil

PS – Here’s another one of my favorite lines:

“You’ve got a gift, Roy… But it’s not enough. You’ve got to develop yourself. If you rely too much on your own gift, you’ll fail.”

Work Hard. Work Smart… Get Better.

AHhh… spring is in the air, the MLB season is officially underway, and I’ve got the soundtrack from “The Natural” pumping in the background…

Makes me wanna get outside and throw the ball around!

Alas, those days are over…

So instead, on this fine spring day, I’m gonna share a little tidbit for maximizing your throwing program I picked up from my JERK teammate (at least that’s what I thought of him at the time).

It’s my freshman year at Northwestern, and I’m coming off a fall and winter of rehab and limited throwing.

After a thorough introduction to the brutal cold of winter in Chicago, we’re finally getting outside as a staff to get our throwing in.

Coach Stodds takes us out onto the football turf while the position players are working on… whatever they do when us pitchers aren’t around.

I’m pumped to finally be able to air it, let it go… unleash my arm after being forced to keep it contained… and at the same time I’m a little nervous.

I got paired up with one of the seniors – he was built more like a bodybuilder than a pitcher, and let’s just say he wasn’t the friendliest of guys.

I could tell he wasn’t especially happy to be throwing with me, either… In his mind, I was just a DUMB freshman who was probably gonna steal innings from him.

And with the perspective you only get when removed by time and a thousand-plus games, I can look back now and realize he was pretty much spot on.

I had a LOT to learn…  (and he made sure I knew it)

Anyway, we work it back to about 120 feet, then 150… and I have ZERO feel for the ball.

Every throw from HIM hits me right in the chest.

Every throw I make forces him to reach up (or JUMP up) to keep it from flying over his head.

I can tell he’s getting annoyed.

Then I completely airmail one 10 feet high, sending him trotting after it. I hear him say to a fellow senior, “Are you KIDDING me with this guy?”

He fires it back at me on a line and hits me right in the chest…

My next throw?

15 feet over his head.

This time I can literally SEE the fire burning in his eyes…

He gets the ball, regroups, and in angry fit of rage proceeds to launch one 100 ft over my head…

I watch it sail over and CLANG against the metal bleachers halfway up the stadium steps.

“What a complete #&*%!”   I think to myself.

I turn to glare back at him, only to be met by a smile and look that says, “No, YOU’RE the #&%!”

“Go get the BALL!” he shouts.

I can hear some my teammates laughing, telling him to take it easy on me as I’m climbing the steps to retrieve the ball.

But I also realized (even though I didn’t appreciate his approach) he was right…

Here I was playing D1 baseball and I can’t even go through my throwing program without it turning into a circus. Something had to change.

I had to demand MORE of myself, hold myself to a higher standard…

I had to learn to make an ADJUSTMENT.

As I geared up for my next throw I was fuming…. But I was also determined NOT to overthrow it and give him more ammunition.

I purposely reset my sights LOW, made a good hard throw, and one-hopped it off the turf, hitting him right in the chest.

Gradually, my throws got more and more accurate… His anger subsided, I got in a groove, and all of sudden I was feeling pretty good.

And while I may not agree with (or condone) his approach, I will say this:

My teammate taught me a valuable lesson that day. 

It was the start of me turning into a PITCHER instead of a thrower…

And taking a new approach with my daily throwing program.

And today, it’s something I preach all the time with my pitchers…

Your daily throwing program is one of your most valuable training tools if you know how to use it.

Over the years I developed a system that worked for me. And I encourage my pitchers to try it out for themselves, while giving them the freedom to tweak things to fit their style.

And it starts right in your warmup.

They’re often amazed at first by how they can improve their command and velocity at the same time.

Every throw matters.

You can see this approach in action inside my Motion Mapping Method program (and discover a step by step process for getting IN-TUNE with your pitching delivery).

Until next time…

Committed to Your Pitching Success,

Coach Phil

PS – Dealing with “jerks” is an unfortunate fact of life… (another little tidbit – a lot of times, they’re really just mad at themselves).

Don’t let ’em get you down… Instead, look for what you can LEARN to help you get better (even if it’s from someone you think is a jerk at the time). Maybe someday you’ll even thank them for it.

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