Mental help

I’m a sophmore in college, but right now ive got the mental game of a high school freshman. I was at a d1 last year, and did real well, but it turned out to be a pretty crappy situation with the coach and money, so im at a juco this year. I came in here and Ive had about as bad of a fall as you can have. I had decent outings in the beginning, but it started to fall apart, and i lost the zone. All added up, it turned out to be 14 innings, with 24 BBs…which is disgusting.

Im pretty sure its all because im putting too much pressure on myself to go somewhere legit next year. Also, Ive noticed I dont have the badass attitude that I did last year…cuz my confidence is shot. What do i do to fix it before spring?

Any help would be greatly apreciated.

I would pitch to lesser skilled batters and mabey that will help you get your confidence back up. Try to work on hitting your spots. Mabey take a little off the pitch, mabey you are throwing too hard when tryin to hit your spots. I am ot sure, I have never had to deal with this. Just think positive about everything. Pitch the batter according to his spot in the line-up. Ex. Batter # 8 would get less curveballs than batter # 3 or 4. try and take notice where it is easiest to hit your spots and use that to your advantage. Find a good pitch sequence that works for you.

 As far as pitch sequence I throw a Knuckle Curve, 4SFB, 2SFB, and a Knuckleball. I usually throw junk  ahead or early in the count such as 0-0,0-1,0-2, even 1-2. I usually go 2-SeamFB 2-2 or 3-2. Unless I want to really suprise a batter and go Knuckleball 2-2 because he is probably expecting a fastball of somesort. I ofcourse mix my 4-SeamFB and Knuckle Curve in there. I alternate them with my Knuckleball. I usually pitch inside to the 3,4 and 5 batters. Try to think what they might want or expect. That way you can do your job and give them mabey a low and inside change-up when they are expecting or wanting a outside fastball. Think like a batter on the mound, to a extent. I pitch varsity for my highschool. I am 17 and in 11th grade. I throw with confidence, and if something happens and you did your best to confuse a batter, you have nothing to worry about. Once you throw your pitch it's up to the batter to take the pitch or make something happen. Just do your best to make it hard for him to do that. That's really all I can try and say to help you because I have never had this problem,so it's a first for me giving advice on this sort of thing. Hope I helped you. And goodluck. :)

Confidence comes from two things:
(1) Knowing that you are well-prepared
(2) Success

(1) simply demands that you do the preparation. You need to do all aspects of it: bullpens, pitcher fielding practice, strength and flexibility training, etc. And you need to do it well. If you take shortcuts, you will know it and that will affect your ability to build confidence.

(2) can be initiated by putting yourself in a position to succeed. This can be done like Whitesox101 said by pitching to lesser skilled batters but that is also somewhat contrived. It can also be done by changing how you measure success. Make sure your measures are based on things you truly have control over. For example, you have no control whether batters get hits because you can’t control the batter or his bat nor your fielders. But you do have control over whether or not you hit your spots.

You can also write down small goals and check them off as you achieve them. This also helps you getting the feeling of success. Make sure you strive for improvement - not perfection because you’ll never achieve perfection.

With enough small successes coupled with a strong feeling of being prepared, you will start to rebuild your confidence.

Just go back to square one. Are your mechanics sound? Is your breaking ball flat? FB straight? Look yourself over. No one knows you better than you!! Sometimes when guys start to lose their stuff it can be a really small thing like they are THROWING ACROSS THEIR BODY, are you doing that? That can destroy a pitchers motion, control and swagger. I think that is what you need to do the most. Don’t worry about who you are throwing to. A hitter is a hitter, every guy can hit a ball 600 ft. but will he? You throw to a catcher. If you can get your hands on a video of Roger Clemens or Andy Petite, watch their faces. Hat pulled down low, can’t see the hitter. They could give two $h!ts about who is in the box. That is the way that every pitcher has to be.

DO NOT PITCH AWAY FROM CONTACT! PITCH TO GET OUTS!! Some pitchers have problems because they pitch away from contact. Remember baseball is a game of failure. Hitters are successful if they fail 70% of the time. Don’t worry about who you are throwing to or what is going to happen. Throwing strikes changes all phases of the game 1) your defense isnt lulled to sleep as you throw ball after ball, which creates a greater chance for an error 2) Get your hitters off the field, you can’t score if you aren’t hitting and 3) Do not allow the opposing pitcher to get comfortable in the dugout.

I hope this helps. I have been in your shoes before as has 90% of pitchers. You control the game, the game cannot be played without you throwing the ball. ALWAYS REMEMBER, you are in the driver’s seat, what stop people get off at, is the one you let them off at. Everytime you throw you are your team’s number 1.

I agree a batter is a batter, but MLB pitchers care who is in the batters box. Trust me. Look at how the pitch David Ortiz and then let’s say uhh Melky Cabrera. Melky gets more pitches in the zone than you prototypical power hitter rather than your average contact hitter. You do make several good points, but I disagree with this one. And not every guy can hit 600+ft. Only Mickey Mantle. :slight_smile:

Ahh ok! you got me. The point that I was making is that the batter should not effect the way you throw. If you have a plan and execute it, your best will beat his best. There are the exceptions to the rule though, but there aren’t any Big Papi’s in college nor any Ryan Howards. Throw to the catcher and make it a point to get guys out of the box in 4 pitches or less (and no 4 pitch walks!)

I agree, I do kind of what you mentioned above just now, try to execute your plan no matter what, and to the best of your abilities. I throw a Knuckleball, and no matter the hitter, I try to work that in there to the best of my abilities. You make a good point. I play highschool ball and I am 17 in 11th grade and I max out at low 80’s 80-83mph. I have a routine. Usually K-Ball, 2SFB, K-Ball, Knuckle Curve. That is usually what I go with. I mix it up like you said there are acceptions to the rule, 3,4,5 hitters who have hit well that day, or you know there preferances, Ex: inside,outside,fastball,curveball,ect. So I’ll throw 4-Seamer and KN-Curves after throwing alot of K-Balls to. You seem to be pretty smart when it comes to the batter and that is a good thing.

Thanks guys you really helped out…i think alot of it really was that I was pitching away from contact, cuz ive got good stuff…upper 80’s touch low 90s once in a while and it moves, and my offspeed is really what i live on, but I just wanted to strike everone out when i got on campus to show that i belonged here as the number 1…and then when i lost the zone, it got into my head real bad.

I just wish I found this site before the fall was over, so I didnt waste the entire thing…

Im pretty sure its all because im putting too much pressure on myself to go somewhere legit next year. .[/quote]

That right there is a large part of your confidence issues. The minute you move your focus away from the task at hand, your performance drops drastically.

Get outside thoughts — such as performing for a “legit” opportunity — out of your mind and concentrate 100% on your next pitch, every pitch.

[quote=“bballboy24”]Thanks guys you really helped out…i think alot of it really was that I was pitching away from contact, cuz ive got good stuff…upper 80’s touch low 90s once in a while and it moves, and my offspeed is really what i live on, but I just wanted to strike everone out when i got on campus to show that i belonged here as the number 1…and then when i lost the zone, it got into my head real bad.

I just wish I found this site before the fall was over, so I didnt waste the entire thing…[/quote]

One thing I fall into is I give hitters too much credit. I’m continually amazed at how often the swing and miss at pitches that are rather unremarkable.

Here’s my first impression of what’s happening:

When I see that my pitchers have a high BB/Inning ratio, it tells me that they’re trying to be too fine and they’re trying to strike out the batters and not challenge them. My guess is that you were comfortable at your D1 school because you knew you had an amazing defense behind you. You didn’t have to be too fine - you just had to challenge the batters with fastballs over the plate, let them put it in play, and get your outs.

Is it possible that you don’t have the same confidence in your defense at your JuCo now?

When you get in trouble, always remember to always pitch with the percentages. Throwing a strike that gets hit will always yield more outs than hits. My advice is to go back to challenging batters with your fastball. Don’t try to be too fine. Make them put the ball in play and let your defense do the job. Remember, if they punt the ball, it’s on them - not you. Once you get your confidence back, then you can start nibbling and going for the K.

Let me know if this helps. Good luck to you!

Just make sure that when you miss that you don’t let the hitter know that you missed by saying something like “Oh Cr@p” or some other tell.

I learned playing slow pitch softball that some guys will often swing at a complete miss.

Thanks for all the help. Its not quite time for the season, but I think I’ve pretty much figured things out. First of all is confidence. Right now I’m executing pitches because I know that I can. Not just telling myself that I can, but legitimately beleiving that I have the ability to put the ball where I want to.

Second, I’m taking more time in between pitches to gather myself and clear myself. A little bit like in For Love of The Game when he clears the mechanism. Just taking a few more seconds to clear the mind, not think about the last pitch, and zone in.

Ive been reading The Mental ABC’s of Pitching by H.A. Dorfman, and I feel like it really has helped alot. Theres a couple of quotes that got me in it.

  1. “Exceptional is the goal, normal is the excuse.”
  2. “Pretend in the beginning to realize in the end.” Meaning that when your not as confident as you should be, tell yourself that you are, so that you can realize it in the end when your shovin out on the mound.

Along with preparation, I think that it’s important to have a “go-to” guy that you trust implicitly to tell you the truth. Having a past coach, a knowledgeable friend or family member that you can go to and discuss things and work with can help get you back in that comfort zone, and whip that attitude back into badass shape.

Another thing to remember is that it’s a team game, and it is the rare game that is won by a pitcher striking out 27 batters in a row (try never!), so don’t try to be and do everything. Trust your teammates and give them your respect and support, and they will do the same. This will help your confidence by winning games and having a support group that’s got your back even when you don’t have your best stuff.

Your problem is subconscious in nature and no conscious remedy will correct it. There is a website that markets a program for the mental side of pitching that deals with the problems facing pitchers on a subconscious level at Good luck!

Thanks for posting your site, solivan. Hope you’ll continue to contribute information to this section of the forums…