Do You Perform Freely in Games?
Are you able to perform freely and let your performance happen in games?
This is a common challenge among all baseball players, including pitchers. You may try to “fix” your pitching technique after a wild pitch. Some players become too mechanical and over think their pitching motion.
When you over think your pitching motion, your mind and body are at odds with one another. Your mind is sending verbal commands about “how to” pitch the ball.
Your body, on the other hand, wants to perform the motion as you have practiced. You are sending mixed signals to your body, which causes you to tighten up and become tentative.
Perfectionists are guilty of this expecting to perform perfectly.
Thursday night’s game with the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners can offer a mental lesson on trust. The Rays handed the Mariners an 8-0 loss for their sixth loss of the season. Mariners pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith and Rays pitcher Jeff Niemann commented on the importance of trust.
Ryan Rowland-Smith discussed his struggles of giving up six runs over 4-1/3 innings.
“It’s nothing mechanical, it’s all psychological. At this point of the year, it seems like the last nine years I’ve played professional baseball, I’ve gotten to this point. Where there are things you worry about that aren’t under your control. … I’ve just got to keep working at it, make the adjustments and I’ll be OK,” said Ryan Rowland-Smith.
Making adjustments is key to performing with trust.
You will not always have perfect technique or throw a perfect game. You’ll want to make adjustments and use what’s working. If your curve ball isn’t working for you, try throwing a different pitch.
The idea is to perform efficiently instead of perfectly.
Jeff Niemann, Rays pitcher, relies on his quiet mind to trust in his game.
“If you start thinking too much you start digging yourself a really deep hole. You try and address it the best way you can, but at the same time you still have to go out there and throw. It’s a fine line,” said Jeff Niemann.
You’ll want to shut off your analytical mind. Thinking too much can lead to throwing too tight.
You’ll want to keep it simple.
Think one thought before your pitch. Your thoughts shouldn’t be focused on technique (save those thoughts for practice). You might focus on feeling relaxed or hitting your target.
The bottom line: use your practice time to work on your technique.
In games, let your performance shine just like you’ve practiced. Quiet your analytical mind, keeping it simple and using what’s working for you.
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