In a few recent posts, I told people to not worry about your mechanics or anything else up on the mound. But this is much easier said then done. I myself am having this issue. Does anybody have any tips or advice to help clear my mind so I can focus? I sometimes do this thing were I step off the mound, close my eyes, and imagine a blank computer screen. that sometimes works but I was wondering if anybody else had something they do or would recommend?
Two words: Mariano Rivera.
Not too long ago I read an article about this greatest of closers, and what caught my attention was a description of something he does and has been doing for a long time. Before he even starts warming up in the pen he takes a couple of minutes to get himself into a mindset that he calls the “eye of the tiger”—a quiet but very intense focus in which nothing exists for him except what he has to do on the mound. Then he warms up, and he takes that focus out to the mound along with that murderous cut fastball. If you’ve ever seen him pitch—look at his face. You’ll see a calm, determined, nothing-will-stop-me expression. 8)
Well this can often be difficult, and i definitely struggle with this myself at times. One thing i do sometimes is talk to myself inside my head. Haha it sounds weird i know, but to clear your mind just keep telling yourself a phrase over and over; such as “just hit the target”, or “relax, you got this”. It may sound weird, but try it out. Stare at your target, slow your windup down, and let your mechanics take care of themselves. If you can do this then it’s really easy to “get in a groove”. Good luck!!
P.S.- Always remember to pitch at your own pace, not the hitters pace.
A tip that I’ve picked up along the way was described to me by one of my professional pitching coaches was “Focal Point Visualization.” Its just a fancy way of saying…pick one object in the ballpark, and look at it before every pitch. It could be as you get the ball back to the catcher or right before you toe the rubber. It could be a mark on the mound, or the drain cover behind the mound…anything easily seen…and you use that as a way to focus and mark the beginning of your next pitch. It helps to clear the mind from the pitch before and address each pitch as a new pitch to be focused on.
As a pitcher, I utilize this technique and simply slowing my breathing and making sure to do the exact same thing as a get the sign from the catcher and come set each time. I know it sounds obvious, but it helps to make sure I am able to repeat my delivery every time, and if something feels off, I can make adjustments occording to what they are supposed to feel like. The bottom line is to know your mechanics well so that if something is off…u can adjust.
A blank computer screen??
How about something positive like visualizing the pitch before it happens. See yourself making the pitch you want to make. Sports in general, are always mind over matter. Seeing is believing.
All you have yto do is say “Clear the mechanism”
What I do is when I get on the mound I always get ready to throw the pitch in the same way…left foot right foot glove out in front with the ball in it left hand gettin grip on the ball look up take sign from catcher. The point is just do the same thing everytime. If you are able to have a routine on the mound everything is easier. Also tell yourself that you are better than the hitter and you will have more confidence and will have no problem clearing your mind then. Know your ball will hit the glove exactly and just throw the ball. Also if all else fails listen to a song in the dugout and just sing it in your head lol. That helps me a lot too…bat country by avenged sevenfold or the general by dispatch for me lol
Here is a different take on this. I have done this for the past two seasons and Randy Johnson did it in his career. Controlled fury. I will actually get mad at the fact that the batter is challenging me and attack the glove, whenever it may be. In that way you don’t have to clear your head or try to visualize anything, just fire the pitch. I got this idea when I read an ESPN article that interviewed Johnson and his pitching methods. He said he actually pitches angry. I have had personal doubts of my abilities on the mound before and anger has an all-encompassing way of dispatching all other emotions. It may be something that works for certain people but it is worth a shot.
Memo to Michael Weber:
You might be too young to remember this, but I certainly do. Vic Raschi, when he was with the Yankees back in the late 40s to the mid-50s, was a guy one of his teammates described as being like a bear that had missed breakfast. On the day he was scheduled to start, nobody could get near him; he would sit at his locker and work himself up into an absolute fury, and when he went out to the mound to warm up he had just four words for Yogi Berra: “Just catch, I’ll pitch.” And pitch he did; he had an overpowering fast ball, an even more devastating slider, and a good changeup—no “Aunt Susie”, as they used to call a curve ball in those days, but he didn’t need one.
Raschi won 21 games three seasons running, and one time he led the American League in strikeouts. So it would seem that what you were talking about—getting really angry—might work for some people.
Sometimes, (idk if it’s just me or not) when I work faster as in firing off a pitch as often as possible instead of taking my time with it, I worry less and I am more mentally stable on the mound.
Work fast…throw strikes. That’s what Mark Buehrle, for one, does all the time, and it pays off.