Using Composure To Be A Mentally Tough Pitcher
Have you ever recovered your pitching after giving up a slew of hits in a game?
Or do your negative emotions dictate your performance on the mound?
You know how it goes… You are on the mound and make a couple of bad pitches that end up as base hits…
You become frustrated that you are not throwing your best stuff…
The next thing you know, things snowball and you give up several runs.
This scenario is not unusual for many players that can’t control their emotions.
Even the best pitchers have bad innings or outings.
The key is to keep your head in the game and maintain composure.
It may not be easy but it is a learned skill.
Composure is a key characteristic for all mentally tough pitchers.
Wily Peralta is a 25 year-old starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. In 2013, Peralta was 11-15 with a 4.37 ERA.
Peralta had difficulty managing his emotions during games which would negatively affect his pitching performance.
Peralta would become frustrated when he wasn’t on top of his game, lose his composure and let games slip away.
In two games last year, Peralta gave up six earned runs and didn’t last past the fifth inning.
Through his first seven starts in 2014, Peralta had a 2.17 ERA.
The key has been Peralta’s ability to manage his emotions:
“That’s the thing that I’ve been working on ever since I’ve been in the minor leagues. I’ve just grown up as a professional… I’m able to control the situation and not let it get away for a big inning,” he said.
In his fourth start against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Peralta gave 11 hits but just two runs in six innings and maintained his composure.
Peralta would have imploded last year but he kept battling and kept the Brewers in the game.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has been impressed with Peralta’s composure this year.
ROENICKE: “I would say last year, especially early last year, if he would have been hit around there would have been a lot more runs scored… I think, of when he’s not on his game — and you can see he’s frustrated and emotional and he gets mad — after all those hits he still keeps them to two runs. That’s maturity.”
Peralta has strengthened his mental game by learning to maintain his composure when he doesn’t have his best stuff.
PERALTS: “Big confidence, man… It could have been worse [giving up 11 hits]. I was able to make pitches when I had to and battled all game.”
Try these tips to maintain your composure on the mound:
- Stay calm physically. Most major league pitchers take several deep breaths to relax prior to making a pitch. Control your breathing.
- Let go of the last pitch and refocus on the current pitch. Walk off the mound, repeat a phrase, such as “let it go” and reset before you ready yourself for the next pitch.
These tips will help you regain your composure and strengthen your mental game.
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