Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pitching - Mental Aspect

By John DiNicola

Pitching is a very trying and challenging position as well as the most important part of the game. A game cannot be played without a pitcher and a play cannot happen without a pitcher for that matter. This brings a large spotlight to the position. At all times, all eyes will be on the pitcher. There is no way to hide. Thus when things go wrong, it will be the pitcher and the pitcher alone when standing on the mound. It can be a very lonely place. No matter the circumstances, the pitcher will either be the hero or the goat.

A major part in succeeding in such a demanding position is how the pitcher is made up mentally and how they handle the trials and tribulations that come with being front and center at all times. This brings about pressure. The good ones deal with the pressure but the great ones THRIVE on the pressure. The question is, how do you handle adversity on the mound? How do you handle success on the mound?

In every game things will go wrong. From bad calls by the umpire to not being able to throw strikes to the other team getting multiple hits off of the pitcher, there are ways to handle each situation. Your successful pitchers have ways of shaking it off and moving on as if nothing happened, you're not so successful pitchers will dwell on the negatives and succumb to the adversity.

However having success on the mound can present challenges in itself. A lot of pitchers will be cruising through a game or have a good start to the season and start to lose focus. They will deviate from their plan that made them successful in the first place and take a downward path. Believe it or not, success may be harder to deal with than adversity because it is not stressed enough.

Notice the great pitchers over time. What has been one key thing that has gone along with their greatness? Consistency, from their workout routines to their approaches on the mound to the way they react to adversity, they are always consistent in the way they go about their overall game.

To learn more on the mental make up of a pitcher, please visit

I coached high school baseball for 12 years and had success with teaching young pitchers the basic skills of throwing a baseball. I feel if a pitcher can have proper grip on a baseball and have proper throwing techniques this will take care of his velocity and control.

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