HERE’S YOUR GAME PLAN
Performing on the mound is like anything else in life. It takes planning and preparation. So give yourself a break and plan for this, among other things, before it (they) happen.
Let’s look at this situation:
On this day, at this time, there’s a pitch that’s just not working and no matter how hard you try. Add insult to injury the bench is sending in signal after signal that calls for this killer. In short, you’re coming up zilch.
Now let’s do something ahead of time that’ll avoid this pickle.
(1) Tell your coach during the preseason what pitches are in your inventory and at what percentage of success you feel they have. For example - fastball lower right corner 80%, fastball upper right corner 85%, slider down-n-away RH batter 70%, curve ball tight-n 80%, curve ball sweeping-n 90%, and so forth. Remember, this is preseason advice based on your workouts so far.
(2) During the preseason scrimmages, you’ll test these percentage baselines and either reinforce or deduct your confidence with each percentage. The final baseline percentages will be a starting point prior to every game you enter during the regular season.
(3) During the regular season, you’ll do your bullpen duty and actually “ink” in what guns your taking out there with you. I strongly suggest a patch sheet - like the one below, that’ll spell out the best to worse that day. When both you and your bench are on the same page, little is left to chance. Also, when your backstop comes in after an inning, he’s going to reinforce your bench’s expectations of you by advising your bench coach of what is, and, what is not working - based on the pitch plan prior to your starting every inning.
Now here’s where the lines of communication comes in- if there’s a pitch in your inventory that just isn’t cut it that day, then and there is a flash message back to the bench. Usually, a catcher and his/her bench coach can work out casual signal that says … don’t use that one, it’s not working. Know, you’re not alone out there getting hammered with stuff that won’t work.
Another approach is the get an understanding up front, at the very beginning of the season, that if you feel that the “called” pitch is not something that you should, or can’t pitch, you have permission to “shake it off”. However, I must warn you that the “shaking off” approach is the approach oft last resort. I would strongly suggest using the steps above, (1), (2) and (3) etc., before trying anything else. Why? When you shake off a pitch and your bench coach has no clue of why, you’re going to putting your bench coach on the spot before your entire club. On the other hand, if you can work out some sort of an agreement combining (1),(2),(3) and then shaking off a call from the bench, that seems to go down a lot easier.
So, there you have it. The long and the short of it. You know what you’ve got, your catcher knows what you’ve got, your bench knows what you’ve got. Simple, yes?
On the other hand, if you have a coach that lives and breaths … “it’s my way or the highway”, there’s little room, either way, to do anything else but survive the best you can.
PITCH SHEET TO DETERMINE PRE-GAME WORTH