My son is 11.Some of you helped us a great deal last spring.Thanks.I don’t have stats,but he has won every game he has started but one.He has done too well for himself.really,and now the pressure to repeat builds…I mean,people at high level tournaments know his name and who he played for,etc.So he’s been very successful,but sometimes he gets in a funk,I see it happen in his body language,and know he is bummin’.It usually happens when the other team gets a couple hits or when an ump is “squeezin” him.He starts thinking about his stride,release point,etc,and you can finish the story.I have tried to brainwash him to believe it’s his plate,his ball,his day,etc.—and when anything shatters his utopian pitching world to call it lucky hit,and go on.Any ideas on how to shake off hits / walks and do the job?
Nothing for it but maturity and a dad who supports him…a good coach will help…but at 11 he’s going to be a kid…let him, I do recommend that you calmly speak about it after the game and attempt to get him to understand that even the best have off days…Watch some mlb with him and talk about it when you see a good pitcher adjust after an inning he’d rather forget…Let him know how much his bummin can ruin his game…At his age the very best thing he can do is just keep throwing strikes and have fun…I’m sure you’ve likely done all of the above because you care, but really, theres not much more other than patience on your part and continuing to keep it fun…
My suggestion is to continually tell your son to relax. When there is stress in a pitcher’s body it will cause one or both hemispheres of his brain to “weaken” or “switch off” which inturn weakens the physical body. When the body is in this weakened state a pitcher will throw a wild pitch or walk three batters in a row. If he is focusing on the word relax it would be very difficult for a negative thought to enter his mind. Here are some suggestions:
Have your son learn tia chi. It is an asian discipline that switches on both hemispheres of the brain and will help him become more relaxed. When he is relaxed his brain will function at maximum capacity, and since the brain controls all activity in the body his pitching will manifest more continuity;
Have your son use his imagination when he practices. When you use your imagination you will access the same information from your subconscious mind as if you were actually doing it. For instance, have him imagine a stressful situation he has encountered on the mound and ask him to throw the pitch of his choice. If he hits his spot, chances are he will do it in a real situation. Have him keep imagining that stressful situation until he can hit his spot. Then have him imagine another stressfull situation and repeat the process. This exercise will train his body to deliver the goods no matter what is going on in the real game;
Hours prior to his start, have your son sit down and write down his goals for the game, i.e., to win the game; number of strikeouts; no walks; Etc. While he is on the mound, have him incessantly repeat to himself, relax, relax, relax!
Hope that helps.
Or you could listen to Mr. Soilvan, whom I can tell you I was honored to speak with this afternoon
I do think the keeping it fun aspect is appropriate, but I will tell you that my son will be participating in what he has developed. I don’t know that we will learn tia che necessarily, but it serves to remind me that my son was in fact involved with martial arts during that period and I advocated it as very beneficial, both discipline the mind…
As a contrast to my advice I find myself…well humbled before an obvious expert in his field…
It is ironic that I am such an advocate of goal setting, yet it escaped my consideration here.
Very interesting points.I guess there are enough variables that could be at work here that it would be difficult to help.To make it simple–There are days that he can’t throw a fastball.On the same day,he throws fastball heat just playing catch.The challenge here is–is it because he’s thinking too much about mechanics–he’s almost too relaxed.The quickness / explosion seems to not be there.He is in an extended rut here,and the longer he stays in it,the harder I’m afraid it will be to get out.When he’s pitching okay,you’d better not try to suggest anything,like finishing better,etc.,or he may fall completely apart.So I let him throw to get confidence.He is so hard on himself that if you tell him something,he’s crushed that all the work he’s done must have been wrong,since he’s repeating his wind-up again and again.Back to problem—why heat fielding,and not pitching?Is mental stress/anguish causing mechanical flaws?Could a different warm-up strategy fix this?