Mental part of pitching


#1

any suggestions on what to say to a college player (will be a junior this year) on how to handle his head and pitching coach when he has a good game but all they tell him is what he did wrong. He seems to lose confidence when this happens. He pitched 8 shutout innings last year but threw a high change-up (HR) and lost 1-0. The coaches were all over him saying it was a “terrible pitch” nothing about the first 8 innings. Anyway, it’s just ashame that coaches do this …


#2

I don’t know the coaches or the school.
If it were the ones I’m familiar with, they don’t tend to be fluffy about things. The main inference being that you have to be an extraordinary player to get to that level in the first place, if you are insecure and need to be stroked, likely you won’t be there. Getting results mean that you have to look at the bad and make it not happen…honestly, without buffering…The reality is that beyond this level, one bad pitch and you are looking for another vocation.
I don’t mean to be so stark about it but they have no real time for niceities. It would as a parent, be something I would be frustrated by also…but this level of life has nothing to do with fairness or decency…I assure you that even his team mates…except for his close friends would cut his throat to get his slot.
I’d bet your boy knows he had a great outing and is ticked about the snarkey “Captain Obvious” comment but is ready to go show them what morons they really are.
Did he lose his turn in the rotation? If not he’s fine and certainly with that sort of talent be back out there giving his best and performing at a high level.
I think I’d say something like…“Tell your coach if he had been a better hitting coach that one pitch wouldn’t have mattered…I had one bad pitch coach the hitting you teach had 27 chances…who had a better day???” :wink:


#3

JD’s right. Many coaches fail to see the good and only comment on the bad. It’s unfortunate but it comes with the territory. However, in the scenario you described, the coaches sucked at the mental game of coaching. That’s not an effective way to help your pitcher improve.

Giving up 1 run over 8 innings is a good outing. Probably works out to an ERA of 1.something. Your son put his team in a position to win the game. A pitcher that gets a 1-0 loss doesn’t lose the game for the team. The team put itself in a position where one run made the difference so the team lost the game.

Where was the offense? If the coaches are more worried about giving up 1 run in 8 innings than they are about scoring 0 runs in 9, they really need to remove their heads from the smelly hole they’re in.

Remind your son that he has no control over most of what happens on the field. He also has no control over his coaches. He must remain focused on what he does have control over. Don’t let these distractions veer him off course. He had a great outing and he should be looking to build on that.

My apologies if I’ve misinterpretted what happened.


#4

JD and Roger, I had to smile at this exchange, because I was reminded of my late father, who was very much like that. He was a guy who would go to a symphony concert and sit there and count the mistakes, the clams, the errors the musicians made. No appreciation of a great performance, only the wrong notes. If one were to score a 96% on a key examination he would ask what happened to the other 4%. What an unappreciative old crab!
I know that a lot of coaches have no time for the niceties, but this is going too far. It’s a good thing the kid has the toughness to withstand all this negative criticism. 8)


#5

Over the course of my playing career, I’ve had many different types of coaches and pitching coaches. Some where like the ones you described above…others were encouraging and tough at the same time. To be a good athlete of any kind you HAVE to be able to take any and all criticism …sometimes with a grain of salt. Use the stuff that makes sense to you…and move on from the stuff that doesn’t.

The best piece of advice I ever received came from my manager of the Southbend Silverhaks in low A ball for the Dbacks. He said…

“Only try to control the things that YOU can control. You can’t control your teammates, you can’t control your coaches, you can’t control your opponents, but you can control how you carry yourself and what YOU do on and off the field.”

Its stuck with me from then all and I think would benefit someone dealing with a coach who may be a tough love kind of coach from time to time.


#6

Mickey Rivers, who played center field for the Yankees for several seasons, had this to say: “Ain’t no use worryin’ about things over which you have no control, because if you have no control over them ain’t no use worryin’. And ain’t no use worryin’ about things over which you have control, because if you have control over them ain’t no use worryin’.” Wise words from old Gozzlehead, as his teammates used to call him.
And I agree 100% about those coaches who seem to think that adverse criticism of one kind or another is the only way to motivate a pitcher. They probably never heard of the old saw that you can catch flies better with honey than with vinegar. In a previous post I mentioned my late father who bought into that way of thinking lock, stock and barrel—it was a wonder that he had any friends! And, thinking back, I was very fortunate to have a pitching coach who not only knew where I was coming from and worked with me to help me make the most of what I had and could do on the mound but also gave me more support, reassurance and reinforcement than I had ever imagined possible. His name was Ed Lopat, he was one of the Yankees’ Big Three rotation, and I will always remember him for how he helped me become a better pitcher than I had been before. Would that there were more like him! :slight_smile: 8)