Pregame Preparation For Pitching
Does your pitching go through frequent peaks and valleys?
Do you struggle to find consistency from game to game?
If so, the issue might have to do with your pregame preparation.
Many players go through the motions of practices and then seek to “turn it on” when on the mound.
Preparation is the key to confidence and consistency.
If you are thoroughly prepared and confident for a game, you are more likely to trust throwing your pitches no matter what the situation.
Thinking of studying for a test… if you are not prepared, you are anxious and perform poorly.
The same is true for pitching!
Let’s say you have just had a good outing and you believe you are on a roll…
Since you are on a hot streak, you pay a little less attention to the details in practice…
You don’t spend as much looking at scouting reports…
You take the mound on your next start and the first hitter drives the ball deep for a hit. You begin to have difficulty locating your pitches…
You become anxious… you give up a few runs and no longer trust your stuff.
Johnny Cueto is a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds who began his Major League career in 2008.
After an injury-riddled 2013 campaign, Cueto spent a great deal of time focusing on his preparation for the 2014 season.
The result of Cueto’s high level of preparation has been stellar production for the Reds this year. In Cueto’s first nine starts, he has averaged eight innings per game with a 1.25 ERA.
Cueto has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his first nine games with 76 strikeouts in 72 innings, three complete games and two shutouts.
Tips to improve your game-day preparation:
After the 2012 season, in which he won 19 games, pitched to a 1.48 ERA, Cueto worked to improve locating his cutter, “I’m the kind of person, I always like to try new things.”
Tip #1: Always seek new ways to improve your game (conditioning, technique, mental skills). Never settle for “good enough.”
Catcher Brayan Pena and Cueto take pride in their preparation for games:
Pena: “When he’s [Cueto] warming up, we do a lot. We’re not just getting loose. So we think about certain hitters. Now, so-and-so is hitting, so we know how we’re gonna attack the guy. And it makes a difference later, trying to be on the same page almost every time.”
Tip #2: Focus on the little things to improve your game in practice. Little improvements over time produce big results.
Manager Price credits Cueto’s preparation for his great start and believes Cueto to be one of the best pitches in the National League, “…And not because of me, or [pitching coach] Jeff Pico or any other guy who’s worked with him. But because he’s chasing the greatness.”
Tip #3: Practice with the mentality you want to play. If you want to be great in games, be great in practice.
Preparation gives you that extra edge that leads to improved confidence and more consistency.
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