JUCO Pitcher - Struggling with Mental Game


#1

Hey All,
First a little about myself, I am a 5’11" 165 lb RHP at the JUCO level. Currently, I am a freshman that elected to red shirt this season in order to get bigger and stronger to better prepare myself for the next two years. I am new to this forum, and I’m looking for any advice that I can get. My struggles with the mental aspect of the game began last spring (my senior year of high school). I was bitten by the velo bug and it turned me from a pitcher that locates and gets outs to a guy who just wanted to throw hard, which didn’t work because I maybe topped at 83-84. It continued into my first collegiate fall season, and was disastrous. I was throwing maybe 45% strikes and quickly worked myself to pretty low on the totem pole. After a much needed winter things got better, but I was still spotty. So, my question is tough to phrase but here goes:

  1. When I’m throwing live to hitters (usually 30-40 pitches twice a week), I can never get everything to click on one day. One day everything will be good but my curve, or one outing my fastball command will suck and I feel like I’m always stitching together an outing instead of being comfortable and throwing well. I like to be very competitive, but then sometimes I amp myself up too much and then start missing. So I turn my brain off and let my body take over, which I don’t mind doing, but then if I give up a hit or walk the snowball affect begins and I give up more and more. What can I do mentally before an outing to get things to click? Everything will feel great all week until I step on the mound, then something always feels off.
    Thank you so much for any advice!

#2

Hey SFCC_RS_127,

I have coached baseball pitchers who have run into the same issue as you, mental focus. This focus is the ability to relax and perform at the highest level. It is directly related to the athlete’s mental approach to the game, inning, batter, and pitch. Mental focus is the key to success at all stages.

Alan Jaeger wrote in my opinion a great book called Getting Focused Staying Focused. The book is all about how your brain works and how to get mentally focused and stay mentally focused on the mound. The book consists of
Identifying the Problem where he discuses Eastern and Western mind set differences
The Unconscious discusses the role of the brain and how and why your conscious brain clutters up your thinking
Mastering Yourself discusses eliminating distractions and tapping into the unconscious brain
How to Meditate discusses clearing of the mind and breathing
Discipline discusses making black and white decisions without all of the clutter
Mental Training discusses and practices the 7 training sessions for mental focus. These are weekly sessions in the book
Game Management discusses what to do on game day
Life Management discusses philosophy off the field

You can find the book online

Hope this helps
Steve


#3

Sounds like a confidence issue. When you said you were bit by the velo bug, leads me to believe you may have sacrificed some of your mechanics, or practice on repetition of mechanics, for seeking more velo. Once you get your “rhythm” out of sync, you will have a hard time repeating your mechanics on every pitch. A mechanics change for more velo is not a bad thing, but your body has to relearn your new mechanics. That relearning process can take a while, and requires a ton of reps. Once you can repeat your new mechanics on every pitch, your confidence will return. Keep the faith and continue working hard.