Understanding The Pressures of Pitching
Being a pitcher is a demanding, challenging position on a baseball team.
Pitchers have a lot of pressure on them to win. In fact, many people judge a pitcher by their record…How many wins have they earned and how many losses they have incurred.
No other player on a baseball team is measured by wins and losses other than the pitcher. To be more specific, the pitcher is the only member of a team that has a statistical column for wins and for losses on their stat sheet.
When a team loses, the “losing pitcher” often receives the lion’s share of the blame. When a game is over, you hear commentators immediately identify the “losing” pitcher.
As you can see, there is tremendous pressure on pitchers and just one mistake on the mound could decide the game.
A player from our Softball and Baseball Mental Toughness Survey asked for some mental strategies to help overcoming mistakes on the mound:
“I want to be able to overcome mistakes, stay focused while pitching, not give up and stay positive. How can I keep focused and stay in the game mentally?”
Your question contains four key terms: “overcome mistakes,” “stay focused,” “stay positive” and “stay in the game mentally.” A common denominator associated with these terms are SELF-TALK and mental toughness.
When negative self-talk infiltrates your mind, problems arise.
For example, you stand on the mound with the ball in your hand and all eyes are on you…
Players in the field, teammates in the dugout, the opposing team, coaches, umpires and fans. As the game goes on, you feel the pressure mounting. It’s the seventh inning and you worked yourself in a jam by walking the bases loaded.
Even though your team has a two-run lead, you are anxious. Your mind is running wild with negative thoughts: “None of my pitches are working. I can’t get the ball over the plate. I’m facing the best hitter on the team. I can’t let him get a base hit. I’m going to lose this game for us.”
You feel you need to make the perfect pitch every time. Your hands are sweaty and you grip the ball harder. You are breathing heavy and the hitter drives the ball into the gap for a double.
It’s your negative self-talk that makes it difficult to let go of a bad pitch, an earned run, a hit in a critical part of the game, a walk with the bases loaded or sudden loss of control.
Negative self-talk will cause the game to get away from you. The only way to regain control of your pitches is to regain control of your thoughts.
The only way to overcome mistakes is to stop reminding yourself of those mistakes or dwelling on mistakes.
The only way to stay focused and positive when pitching is to stay in the game mentally, clear your mind of mental clutter and immerse yourself only in throwing the next pitch.
A pitcher’s best day on the mound is when he can focus inning by inning, batter by batter and pitch by pitch…and it all starts with your self-talk.
Staying Focused While Pitching
How can you stop dwelling on the negative thoughts or harsh self-criticism?
One strategy for letting go and focusing on the next pitch is to be focused on a pre-pitch routine. Your routine should be something scripted ahead of time and performed before every pitch and in every game, even simulated games.
For example, take 2 deep breaths, adjust glove, move dirt away from the pitching rubber, set up on the pitching rubber, get the signal from catcher, visualize the pitch, commit, and trust your action.
The goal is to be immersed in a routine–for the current pitch, so you are not thinking negatively about past pitches.
Get The Mental Edge For Baseball and Softball Players!
Do you (or your athletes) lack full confidence in your skills when you step on the field as if your game disappears at game time?
Do you lose composure easily after you make your first error of time game?
Do you feel embarrassed after striking out and carry this with you for longer than one inning?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, check out The Mental Edge For Baseball And Softball Players!
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What are baseball mental game customers saying?
“Dr. Cohn, I’ve been tearing it up lately!!! Every single thing you taught me works perfectly in every situation I’ve been in. I’ve been so into every game and focusing on the process and not the outcomes and everything falls right into place . In the playoffs I’m 5-7 with 2 run home runs and 5 RBIs. I feel great at the plate and focusing is a breeze now. I just wanted to thank you for everything and keep you posted with how everything was going.”
~Jalen Phillips, College Baseball Player
“With your help, I have been able to deal with stress and pressure of the game of baseball more efficiently. I have learned 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
“Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with our team. It was greatly appreciated and really helped a lot. I found myself implementing your teachings in our first practice right after you left. I really enjoyed the way you implemented already known ideas, but gave us a different way of viewing it. Thank you.”
~Amber Prosser, Clark College Softball
Boost Your Self-Confidence And Focus With Expert Mental Game Coaching!
Master mental game coach Dr. Patrick Cohn can help you overcome your mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our mental coaching students saying?
“As a college softball coach I experience great pleasure in helping youth league coaches develop their young players. As reversal of that process, I, as the student, look to experts like yourself to give me the “mechanics” of sports psychology so that I may better impart my knowledge to the players and coaches. Your contribution spreads like wildfire and helps hundreds of youngsters as well as us “oldies.” Thanks for your contribution–it means a lot.”
~Tom Moore, College Softball Coach
“A quick note to let you know how effective your programs worked for my son who is 17 and plays varsity baseball in VA. In late 2009, I ordered the Relaxed Athlete program for my son because I saw he was pressing too hard at the plate and had disappointing results for the 2009 season. Thanks to your programs, my son now has a completely new approach to the game of baseball (and school) and it’s more fun for him now. He made all-district player at his position and hit .443 this season. A complete 180 degree turn around from last year.”
~Mark M., sports parent
“Dr. Cohn has put together a program that has enabled myself and our players to approach the mental game in a systematic way that is easy to use and apply. Our awareness level has greatly increased.”
~Marty Hunter, Head Baseball Coach George Fox University
*Testimonials found on this site are examples of what we have done for other clients, and what some of our clients have said about us. However, we cannot guarantee the results in any case. Your results may vary and every situation is different. No compensation was provided for these testimonials.
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