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: http://ballisticpitching.com/blueprint

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
  • How I PREPARED…

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.

Ah, back at it… another “Mental Side of Pitching” tip for you today…

This weekend I went back to school…

Well, not literally… I attended the annual World Baseball Coaches Convention (along with more than 1,000 other coaches from around the country).

Nothing like a couple days of deep immersion to get the wheels turning and recharge your mental coaching batteries.

Some great presentations… ideas were traded, coaching philosophies were exchanged and tested. Always a healthy thing.

Never stop questioning. Never stop learning.

And personally, I always walk away from these events with a nugget or two (OR TEN) that I can apply with my own coaching…

One thing that came up more than once and really stuck with me.

Because it often gets overlooked…

It’s a HABIT I thankfully developed (though too late) in my own career – I dropped my ERA two full points when I started doing this.

And when I got away from it, I always got into trouble.

It’s the idea of finding your own RESET button on the mound.

What does that mean?

I’ll often talk to guys about the 3 Step Cycle of pitch execution:

Mental Approach —>  Execution  —>  Result

(I first came across this in “The Mental ABCs of Pitching” – a must read for any pitcher, IMHO).

As a pitcher, the first two steps in the cycle are IN your control… The result? Not so much.

But… improve your approach and execution and better results will naturally follow.

The KEY is… not to let allow an “undesirable” result negatively affect your approach (and consequently your execution on the next pitch).

So how do you nip it in the bud?

Find your own personal RESET button.

Make a bad pitch? Hit RESET.

Or maybe a GOOD pitch but a BAD result? (Makes you want to rip your hair out)

Better put it behind you before you toe the rubber.

Just like you were playing a video game… Hit that RESET button. Start fresh.

For one D1 coach presenting, he liked to swipe across the pitching rubber with his foot, brushing imaginary dirt away.

A former big leaguer talked about grabbing his glove with his pitching hand.

For me, I liked to touch my finger to my thumb, put my glove up to my face and utter “Execute”.

rosin-bag-pitching

(For some, it might be going back and grabbing the rosin bag)

 

It doesn’t really matter what it is…

The key is, it’s something physical… LINKED with a thought.

It brings you back where you need to be.

Focused on what’s in front of you: The Task at Hand.

Being able to do that…

Maintaining that focus and keeping your head when things start going against you…

That’s often the difference between a GOOD outing and BAD outing.

And the sooner you find your reset button, the better you’ll get at it.

Then start making it a HABIT.

(And if you don’t already own “The Mental ABC’s of Pitching ” I would highly suggest you pick up a copy)

Okay, that’s all for now.

Until next time…

Committed to Your Pitching Success,

Coach Phil

PS – As a pitcher, your PHYSICAL skills and MENTAL approach go hand in hand.

It’s why all Ballistic Pitching Blueprint Blueprint members also get my Pitching Mindset Roadmap MP3’s FREE with the program. Here’s where to learn more: http://ballisticpitching.com/blueprint

 

 

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