Glenn Moore stated emotions smudge an athlete’s mental picture, clouding their thoughts, as well their ability to visually focus on the right things.
Whether it is the coach yelling, “Will you please throw strikes,” or just a good case of “fear of failure,” most pitchers allow emotion to take over and loose site of what it means to hit spots.
“Gulp,” is a typical emotional expression by a pitcher when a 6’4”/240 pound batter steps up to the plate. Emotionally losing sight instead of determining where to pitch. He sees size versus the batter’s weaknesses and convinced himself a particular outcome is inevitable.
- “He’s a monster, regardless of what pitch I throw he will hit it 500 feet!”
- “He’s leading the county, the state, the country in hitting, therefore he never makes an out!”
With these thoughts it should be no surprise they are likely to serve it up, he will hit a bomb, and followed by complete justification, “the kid is a stud!”
Even though baseball has evolved into a hitting/pitching game, which refers to techniques and mechanics, emotions cause pitchers to lose sight of this and focus more on who the hitter is.
When a pitcher focuses on the wrong things, he has the tendency to make his job more complicated. He attempts to “paint the black,” versus throwing the ball on outer third of the plate; He starts aiming versus pitching.
What is scary, getting a hitter in a 0-2 count can create this same negative thought patterns. The fear of failure echoes the coach’s voice, “Never give them something to hit in a 0-2 count.” Instead of throwing a pitch either to difficult to hit, or slightly out of the strike zone [let him chase if he wants to] we make the coach happy. Throwing it a foot off the plate, next thing you know the count is 2-2. Ah, again success is a relative term.
STOP! Recognize and take ownership of your thoughts, your emotions, and yes, your hiccups. Your job is to hit your spots and get outs! The sooner a pitcher realizes “Strikes are an OUTCOME of Good Mechanics,” the sooner he will realize his job is to spot the ball to create outs [grounder, fly, strikeout]. Work on being able to spot your fastball, where you want it and be able to do it as often as you can.
You show me a pitcher who can spot his fastball and I will show you a pitcher who views a hitter as a potential out instead of someone who is huge or can hit.
Until next Blog,