Simplifying Your Pitching Process
Do your thoughts interfere with your performance on the mound?
Do you focus on the countless thoughts that flow through your mind during a game?
Many pitchers complicate things and over-think their performance. They get too caught up in the technical part of pitching…
Can you recall a game where you thought way too much about some technical aspects of pitching?
Maybe you have been working hard in practice on your stride length, your lead foot strike and follow through…
You take the mound in your next game still in practice mode focusing on your technique…
Your velocity is affected and you get hit around…
Now the negative mental chatter kicks in:
“I’m a horrible pitcher… I should play a different position.”
The answer to this problem is simple… Keep your game simple!
By simplifying the process (thinking less about technique and just throwing the ball), your focus isn’t divided in a million directions.
Simplifying the process helps you focus on your strengths during games and enhances your trust in your abilities.
In sum, your confidence improves… and you perform better!
Don Cooper has been a pitching coach in the Chicago White Sox organization since 1988 and been coaching at the Major League level since 2002.
Cooper’s pitching philosophy is — keep it simple.
“Mechanics are important, but you have to watch it. You can’t over-coach. The stuff I focus on is the basics and mental stuff: What we are focusing on, and what’s our goal?” said Cooper.
Cooper has developed young pitchers and resurrected the careers of veteran players by developing their confidence and focusing on their strengths.
“All I look at is what a guy is doing and what a guy does well… We look at his strengths and what to accentuate. We are trying to fill out the pitcher’s arsenal to make him a better end product and help us win games,” said Cooper.
Pitcher Gavin Floyd never lived up to his first-round potential in Philadelphia.
Cooper taught Floyd to simplify the pitching process and focus on the right things.
In 2008, Floyd was able to overcome the negative mental chatter and win 17 games.
“I forgot how to use my eyes to focus. Coop was the guy that freed me from all the stuff cluttered in my mind with mechanics. He was able to simplify everything and just have small goals and we built on them,” said Floyd.
Try these tips to simplify the pitching process and improve your focus:
- Focus only on one or two technical aspects in practice sessions. Becoming proficient in one aspect of pitching will improve your game more than slightly improving 3 technical aspects.
- Simplify the process during games. Create a cue to remind yourself to “just throw” like tapping your glove to your thigh. When you notice your mind drifting, use your cue to remind yourself to keep it simple.
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Mental Game of Baseball Success Stories
“With your help, I have been able to deal with stress and pressure of the game of baseball more efficiently. I have learned what it means to focus on the process to help me keep my focus and disregard negative thoughts and energies. This process focus will keep me from getting my head in the way of my performance, from working against myself. Thanks for your help. I look forward to speaking with you again.”
~Keith Donnell, College Baseball Player.
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