What Do You Expect of Yourself?

There has been comments of all kinds relative to pitch counts, who-what-how come. And these remarks have centered around other people’s views and other people’s take on the subject and how-what-how come, the effects on someone other than themselves.

So let me ask you - how do you view yourself in this regard? In other words, what benchmarks do you see for yourself? Do you just “wing it” game after game? Do you figure a pitch count and batter’s faced, inning after inning as some kind of a grade for yourself? Do you figure any system or method of judging yourself as to how well - or not, you progressing during a game?

Or, do you leave this all up to someone else, like your coach, your dad, or even fate?

Consider this - in school you have marking periods that summarize how your doing up to that point. If you’re sailing pretty, usually the end of a marking period is no surprise, nice going - life goes on. If your not sailing pretty, usually there’s signs of trouble that crank out parent notices, teacher meetings, even elimination from sports and other activities.

So look, do yourself a big favor - if your serious about this sport and your rightful place on a club’s rotation, and start to have expectations of yourself as your work progresses. Start with a plan - inning per inning. Layout a fundamental base of “what’s you” and how you think you should perform. Be honest here and don’t overreach, or go in the other direction by being too conservative.

For example:
Your mainstay is fastballs, slider, change-up. You know you have a good sense of the strengths of a batting order - so you know how to pitch to the top, middle and bottom of the order. You also know that you’re prepared to enter a game because you plan on it - no surprises. You eat right, get enough sleep, and stay healthy. You also work on your pitch inventory, so your percentage of dependability with each pitch is high.

So you layout this as a foundation:
1st inning you’ll go through 4 batters, no more
1st inning your give yourself 16 pitches to get the job done, no more.
2n inning you’ll go through the next 4 batters, no more
2nd inning your give yourself another 16 pitches to get the job done, no more.

Let’s say you breeze through the 1st inning, facing only 3 batters, with a total pitch count of only 8 pitches.

You come into the dugout/bench and as you sit there you have a gage to measure your work in real time. You know your ahead of your expected norm by 1 batter, and your ahead of your expected pitch count by 8 pitches. Your feeling pretty good for yourself. In fact, you’re starting to reinforce your own expectations and how well you’re going to survive out there.

Second inning finds you doing the same thing, and so does the 3rd inning. To make a long story short, you’re coasting nicely.

Now here’s where knowing your expectations and keeping track of it comes in real handy:

  • as you go deeper into the game, you have an idea of the leeway that you have to work with. You know yourself pretty good and if and when you get into trouble - facing more batters that you should, more pitches per inning than you should, you know you have a cushion to fall back on, sort of. To be more precise, you’ve just taken a lot of pressure off yourself by know exactly how you stand – all based on what you expect of yourself.

So the next time your about to start, relieve, close a game or even face an inning for the first time, have some idea of where you’re going and how far. You’ll be amazed at how simple this can make life for you. Also, when things aren’t going so well, and you’re getting shellacked for whatever reason, the earlier you can spot YOU’RE shortcomings the better you are to start making adjustments and the decisions that follow.

Try it. Toy around with a few expectations of your work out there and see how good you are at knowing your worth. On the other hand - there’s no brain work necessary to figure out poor fielding laced with errors,

A final word here - this posting is NOT for the youngster that jumps into dad’s station wagon and heads off to a game, just for the heck of it. Nor is this posting designed to be the final word on how to gage yourself with this or any other “benchmark” method of tracking a pitcher’s performance. In fact, a lot of what I mentioned is done mentally as a youngster goes on, inning after inning. But, if you’re serious about going further in this sport to be a serious pitcher worth recruiting or even prospected - SOMEONE IS TAKING NOTES ON YOUR WORK - inning by inning and how you handle yourself. Your being tracked, gaged, and a certain amount of predictability is being stated to paper. You should know your work as you work. Others will.

Coach B.