Refocusing After Bad Pitches
Are you able to re-focus after a bad pitch, a bad inning or a bad game?
Do you ruminate about a bad pitch and slowly spiral out of control?
Over-thinking is the enemy of any pitcher. Analyzing your performance while playing is counter-productive.
Over-thinking interferes with your ability to focus on the current pitch leading you to question your ability to pitch effectively.
Every pitcher goes through it… You hang a couple of pitches that are driven for hits…
You counter by trying to paint the corners only to give up a few walks…
You start thinking you have control problems and feel like you have lost your rhythm…
Then, things begin to snowball and you go through a string of bad outings.
William Cuevas is a 23 year-old minor league pitcher in the Red Sox farm system.
In 2012, Cuevas compiled an 8-2 record with a 1.40 ERA. Last year, Cuevas was moved up to the Salem Red Sox (Class A) and had difficulty adjusting (8-9 record/ 5.05 ERA).
Since last year, Cuevas has been over-analyzing his pitching performances. At the beginning of this season, Cuevas hit a skid where he pitched 14.2 innings and gave up 18 earned runs.
Cuevas realized his over-thinking was ruining his pitching performances:
“Thinking too much about everything…What am I doing bad? What am I doing good? What do I have to keep doing? That’s the tough part of the game when you are doing bad.”
Cuevas decided he needed to try a different approach… “Get the ball, throw the ball.”
In other words, Cuevas’ plan was to speed up the pace of his game to prevent himself from over-thinking.
In his very next game, Cuevas averaged about 12 seconds between pitches and had a stellar outing giving up only one hit and no runs in six innings.
Cuevas’ aggressive approach and faster rhythm helped him to focus on pitching rather than analyzing his performance:
“We were working on it, being aggressive because that’s what I was not doing after the start of the season. That’s helping me, with velocity, the pace of the game.”
Pitching coach Kevin Walker wants Cuevas to focus less on his thoughts and more on ‘just pitching’:
“We were trying to just get the ball and go. Pick a spot and pick a pitch and throw it to that spot. Once you make that pitch, it’s time to make another one.”
If you are over-thinking while pitching, try these tips:
- You should learn to let go of the last pitch and focus on the current pitch. Create a cue (ex. hitting your glove to your thigh) to remind yourself that “this” pitch requires your full attention.
- You might try taking less time between pitches. It will help prevent you from over-thinking. The reason a pitcher takes a lot of time between pitches is that he/she is over thinking (the last pitch, the last time he faced this hitter, the best pitch to throw, etc.).
Work on the mental aspects of your game, trust “your stuff” and just pitch!
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