Here’s a great example of how a pitcher can start spiraling out of control:
I pitched in a game last Sat. The mound was never maintained all season and had giant plant and landing holes. When I say giant, I mean about a square foot in size and about five or six inches deep. Well, I could’ve gone out, adapted well and executed my game plan. Instead, I let it get into my head. As soon as I walked out in the bottom of the first, I saw the mound and thought, “Ohhhh s***!” Things just went downhill from there. I gave up five runs in that inning and didn’t even make it through three. A funny thing also happened with my infield. They just picked up on the hard time I was having and gave up three errors behind me. One of which was the first baseman throwing the ball about three feet over my head after the play was over.
The mound was messed up and it really affected my timing sure, but I didn’t have any control over that and I let it affect what I did have control over: executing my pitches. This funk didn’t end with the game however. I’ve thrown three times since then including today. Well, let’s just say I finally got my mechanics, confidence and timing back on track today, five days later. Could’ve been a lot worse, I know. I just kept thinking about what happened to Chad Billingsley this past year. What happened was as I lost confidence, I started to question my mechanics which was a huge mistake. As long as I’m executing the way I know how, I have a quite good mechanical foundation. Finally, I just took a giant step back, tried to relax, realize that this happens to virtually every pitcher at one time or another and concentrated on getting back in the zone I was in before last Saturday’s game.
Luckily, this curtailed the problem and I was throwing very well today. Hitting my spots without thinking about every tiny little aspect of my mechanics. I’d hate to think what would’ve happened if I had started to nit pick every little part of my delivery. I just know it would’ve been bad.
I’d love to hear comments from you guys/gals about a similar experience or advice from the gurus here at LTP on how to keep this from happening again… I mean I was down and depressed! I knew the whole time that I was better than what was happening to me. It’s such a good feeling to feel as though I’m back on track!