I believe there are 3 critical aspects to the Mental Side of Pitching.
For some reason most pitching coaches don’t focus on the mental side of pitching. For years I thought it was one of my greatest strengths, but the reality was, when I got drafted by the Phillies I didn’t have a clue about what it mentally took to be a great pitcher.
So ever since then I have become obsessed with trying to figure out how as a pitching coach I can effectively teach the mental aspects of pitching and break it down in a way young pitchers can grasp it.
I think the mental side of pitching can be broke down into 3 distinct areas.
Knowledge: This encompasses everything that has to do with baseball and pitching itself.
- How and when to throw pitches
- Game Situations
- How to work hitters
- Locating pitches
- Changing Speeds
- Hit and Run Counts
- Base Stealing Counts
- Bunting Situations
There are more we will get into in future posts. This is a good starter list on being a student of the game
Thinking: This encompasses everything to do with your thought process and how you process information before the game and on the pitcher’s mound.
- Positive thoughts
- Negative thoughts
- Self Esteem
These are just a few, again I will break these and more down individually in future posts.
Emotional/Behavior: This encompasses everything about how you respond and react to different situations and events that unfold before, during and after the game.
- Work Ethic
- How you treat Teammates, Coaches, Parents, Teachers and Fans
- Respect for the Umpires
- Knowing What You Can Control
- Self Discipline
Again these are just a few. I will dig deeper in future posts.
Mental Toughness is developed in the heat of the battle. But the understanding of what needs to be developed is what pitching coaches should be teaching young pitchers at every level.
The truth is I am afraid that most pitching coaches today either don’t know how to teach the mental side of pitching or they don’t want to take the time to dedicate part of practice on it.
If pitching coaches don’t make it a priority then it will never be one to young pitchers.
I was recently asked If I thought you could teach competitiveness?
After deliberating on it a while I responded,
I don’t know if you can, But I am going to keep on trying.
There is more to the Mental Side of Pitching then trying to figure out how not to choke with the game on the line.
The Real Mental Side of Pitching is when you can take your mental strengths and your physical talent and execute great pitches in the biggest game of the year.
You know what, I think they call it Pitching!
What do you think?
(Thanks Coach Robo)