Mental side of pitching

Some of the questions I’m often asked about the mental side of pitching are: “Why is the mental side of pitching so important?” “Does mental toughness really make that big of a difference in baseball?” “What does it mean to be mentally tough?” and “What can I do, right now, that will make me mentally tougher on the bump?”

What are some of your thoughts?

mental toughness has got to be one of the most important attributes a pitcher needs. I let nothing phase me while im on the mound. If i walk someone, ya i get mad at myself but you are going to walk people no matter what, You just can let it bring you down. Just focus right on the next batter and do your job.

If a person doesnt have mental toughness they will get no where in their carrer. Scouts dont like to see a pitcher pout because it shows lack of mental toughness.

Just remember that when pitching mistakes are going to happen, its just a matter of how you handle them

Mental toughness is just as important as velocity , accuracy and all the other attributes that make some one a pitcher. Without mental toughness all is going down hill fast. I know a guy who signed with the Blue Jays when he was seventeen for a seven year deal for huge money. He was tall (6’6") and was on the gun at 90-95 and was projected to be in the bigs by the time he resigned. He had it all…except for mental toughness. He could walk 4 or 5 in a row and stick guys whilst trying to throw a strike he literally was the “wild thing” 7 years later he still cant throw a strike. He has had professional coaching so its not mechanical its mental . Some kids are just head cases and it can never be taught however through diet and lifestyle choices such as choosing to take up exercises for the mind such as meditation and yoga definetely can help. :roll:

One thing I learned was to never judge a pitcher’s ability based on whether he threw strikes when it was just him pitching and you catching. Instead, I now judge all of my guys Both in choosing pitchers and deciding whether a pitcher is ready to pitch that day) based on whether they can throw strikes with a batter in the box (I have a kid stand in the box with a helmet on and pretending he is going to swing – I learned the hard way via a ball to the throat to don’t actually give the “batter” a bat).

Also, I am interested in the idea of using simulated innings (e.g. keeping track of at least balls, strikes, and walks) as a tool to both judge and teach pitchers. It seems like that would be a good place to learn how to catch up once you get behind a hitter. If you can’t do it in a simulated inning, it’s going to be much harder in an actual game.

What do you think?

For sure. I advocate “make practice just like a game so in a game you can say ‘just like practice.’”