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