Control what you can control

A recent post inspired me to share some information that I have found useful. Many pitchers spend so much time focusing on the physical side that they are never prepared mentally. It’s the difference maker. How many times have you seen the guy with “stuff” but couldn’t get outs? Here is a good exercise.

Have your pitcher draw a circle on a piece of paper. Inside the circle have him list what he controls. Here are a few examples of what could be listed inside the circle.

  1. Attitude
  2. Breathing
  3. Visualization
  4. Tempo
  5. Body language

Some examples outside the circle

  1. Umpire
  2. Errors
  3. Hits
  4. Playing conditions

The key to pitching is controlling what you can control. Let’s face it, once the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand there is not much he can control outside of fielding his position and backing up. The pre-pitch routine can make or break a pitcher. The pitcher needs to sell out to the fact that he has to own his routine and repeat the his pre pitch routine. The pre-pitch routine should include

  1. Breathing
  2. Focal points
  3. Visualization

How many times is a pitcher going to have his “Best stuff”? Once every 3-4 starts, maybe? However, he can have bring his mental game to the park everyday. A pitcher needs to learn that the game is played one pitch at a time. I always ask my pitcher’s this question, "How many baseballs are you allowed to throw? The answer is One. Why not make it the most important pitch of your life? The goal is not to win the game or the at-bat, the goal should be to win this pitch. The game is made up of 100’s of pitches. A pitcher should break the game into pitches, win more pitches than you lose. Usually the team and pitcher that throw’s the fewest pitches win the game. The pitcher that throws the fewest pitches will pitch more often and have more success. A good friend of mine made a great analogy about pitching in the video game age. He said, how many times do you play video games, such as the home run derby’s? When you miss the first pitch what do you do? Most of us hit the reset button and start over. Why don’t pitchers look at the big reset button on the mound, (the rubber) and start over after every pitch? Great point. After every pitch hit the gian reset button and win the most important pitch of the game, THIS ONE.

Well said thinktank!

Also, recognize and accept the fact that there are more things outside the circle than inside. :wink:

Thinktank, you happen to read the book, “Heads Up Baseball: Playing the Game One Pitch At a Time”?

Roger,

No I haven’t read that one. I have spent some time around Brian Cane and heard Ken Ravizza a couple of times. My favorite book on the mental game is “Mind Gym”.

Thanks for sharing the book thinktank, will deffinately be looking for that one to read, I’ve never heard of it before.

Double post I apologize

Sorry, I was offline a couple days.

Your post has alot that aligns with the book I mentioned above. The book has some fluff to wade through but makes some good points. I suspect you’d like it.

As for Mind Gym, I think I have that but haven’t read it yet. I need to dig through my stack of books to read and find it.

[quote=“Roger”]Sorry, I was offline a couple days.

Your post has alot that aligns with the book I mentioned above. The book has some fluff to wade through but makes some good points. I suspect you’d like it.

As for Mind Gym, I think I have that but haven’t read it yet. I need to dig through my stack of books to read and find it.[/quote]

Yeah, its great. Fred Corral took the book a step further and actually put together an open book test for his pitchers. Great stuff.