If you’ve ever read Jim Brosnan’s “The Long Season”, you may remember one chapter that begins with a bullpen session. Brosnan was with the St. Louis Cardinals at the time, and he was talking with pitching coach Clyde King about a problam he was having with his two fast balls, a two-seamer and a four-seamer, neither of which was working for him. King called in a catcher, and he had Brosnan do some throwing, using both pitches, for some ten or fifteen minutes. Then he advised Brosnan to drop the four-seamer and go with his two-seamer which was working much better for him.
The point is that those negative thoughts that are interfering with your “trying to throw a bullpen” are probably related to a problem you’re experiencing with some aspect of your pitching—maybe it’s a mechanical flaw of some kind, or you’re having trouble with a particular pitch, or you may not be sure about whether your arm slot is the right one for you… You should talk to your pitching coach about this, have him get a real live catcher, and do some throwing with your coach
watching—and then hear what he has to say. After all, isn’t that what a bullpen session is for?—to pinpoint a problem and work to resolve it? With regard to this, here’s another illustration.
Whitey Ford came up to the Yankees in 1950 and had one year with them before he had to go into military service. One day he started a game, and the opposition was eating him up, turning every pitch he threw into line-drive extra-base hits, and an additional distraction was someone constantly yelling behind him. Then, in the fifth inning, first baseman Tommy Henrich came running out to the mound and said to Ford, “Hey, Whitey, that first-base coach is calling every pitch you’re throwing!” That was the first inkling Ford had that he just might be telegraphing his pitches.
The next day pitching coach Jim Turner and fellow pitcher Ed Lopat, who doubled as an extra pitching coach, took Ford into the bullpen and had him throw from the stretch, because that was when the problem was occurring. Turner was perplexed and kept scratching his head, but Lopat, who had an eerie way of being able to zero in on a problem instantly, saw at once that Whitey was positioning his glove hand one way for the fast ball and another way for the curve. Because Ford was a southpaw, it was no trouble at all for the opposing first-base coach to pick up on this and relay the information to the hitter. Lopat then took Ford aside and told him what he was doing wrong, and the problem was corrected in that bullpen session. 8)